Cedar Point to hold hearing Thursday on government changes

Cedar Point commissioners will hold a public hearing Thursday night on a proposal to go to a manager form of government and add a fifth town commissioner. (Brad Rich photo)

CEDAR POINT — After discussing the ideas among themselves since September, Cedar Point town leaders Thursday night will get public input on changing to a manager form of government and adding a fifth commissioner to the board.

The commission’s monthly work session will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be conducted on Zoom. Those who want to watch or hear the meeting or make comments during the hearing can visit us02web.zoom.us/j/81946885959?pwd=YXNNVGEzSXVMYW1maFp0alRSN0pMdz09 or go to zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID 819 4688 5959 and password 104074.

To join by telephone, call 1-929-205-6099 and when prompted, enter meeting ID 819 4688 5959 followed by the password, 104074.

Commissioner John Nash brought up the idea of switching from a town administrator – the mayor-council form of government in state statute – to a town manager, the council-manager system, during the board’s September regular meeting. He also raised the idea of adding a fifth commissioner, effective in the November 2021 municipal election.

Commissioners discussed the issues during their October work session, then during the October regular meeting unanimously adopted a resolution of intent to make the changes and to schedule Thursday’s public hearing.

The board will not vote Thursday night, but could adopt the changes to the town charter during its regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m.

Mayor Scott Hatsell and commissioners Mr. Nash, Frankie Winberry, Pam Castellano and Gary Bray have said the manager system would be more efficient and get them out of the roles of heading departments. All employees would report directly to the manager, and all except the town attorney could be hired or fired by the manager.

Board members also have indicated they believe Administrator David Rief is qualified to be the town’s first manager. Before coming to Cedar Point as administrator in August 2019, he had been a municipal building and zoning inspector, a permit officer, a planner and an attorney for various towns in eastern North Carolina, including Cape Carteret.

As for adding a fifth commissioner, board members have said they believe it would give taxpayers an additional person to express their opinions and give input on issues.

Only two other towns in Carteret County, Bogue and Peletier, don’t have managers, and they don’t have administrators either, just part-time clerks. Their populations are under 1,000, while Cedar Point at last count had 1,279 residents.

Under state General Statute 160A-103, once the board adopts the ordinances to make the changes, residents who disagree can file a referendum petition to call a special election on the two questions.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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