overby

Steven Overby

PELETIER — Peletier Commissioner Steven Overby resigned his position Thursday, citing frustration that changes he sought to bring to the fast-growing western Carteret County have been stymied by those with whom he has served and by lack of involvement by a sufficient number of residents.

He said he notified Town Clerk Bea Cunningham and said the resignation was immediate. He said he also contacted the Carteret County Board of Elections.

“When I sought the commissioner seat in 2021, I ran on a platform of improving the quality of life for residents and being a good steward of taxpayer money. Growing up in Peletier, I enjoyed being just a few miles from the beach. But I always knew Peletier wouldn't always remain a hidden gem,” Overby said in a statement to the newspaper.

“I was a young boy when Peletier incorporated back in 1996. The only reason they incorporated was so they could remain a rural area and not be annexed by Cape Carteret, a growing town. Fast forward to present day and it's obvious developers have their sights set on Peletier. Development can be a great thing if you have the infrastructure to accommodate the growth.”

Overby said he believes Peletier should unincorporate.

“The (state annexation) law changed, and Cape Carteret couldn't forcibly annex Peletier,” he said. “The county already provides all the services Peletier receives. There's no need for anyone in Peletier to pay a town (property) tax (5.5 cents per $100 of assessed value). The town officials should realize the fact that they have failed the taxpayers. The least they can do is save the town some money and unincorporate.

“I challenge them to put it on the ballot as a referendum. Let the people decide where they want their tax dollars going.”

Overby said he hopes “people realize that I wanted to be a representative of the people. Our founding fathers didn't want politicians to think they were leaders and knew better than anyone else. Our republic was created so that politicians could fulfill the will of the people.

“It takes three board members to accomplish anything, and my voice hasn't been able to influence the majority to start being proactive. I'm sure the current board members will stay on their reactionary sinking ship, but I prefer action and results. There will be an election in November. I hope there's a referendum to unincorporate and candidates that actually want to address the issues.”

Among other things, Overby has tried to get the town to adopt its own land-use plan instead of relying on the county’s plan.

Commissioner Tim Quinn, who among board members worked most frequently with Overby, said Thursday he was surprised Overby has resigned.

“I thought we had done some good things and we were making progress on some things,” said Quinn, who like Overby was elected in November 2021.

The board of commissioners will need to pick a replacement to fill out Overby’s four-year term.

Quinn said he’d likely support Gary Burrows, whom he nominated last year to replace Walter Krause, who resigned for health reasons. Burrows lost in a 3-2 vote to former mayor and town founding father Walter Vinson.

Commissioner Dan Taylor declined to comment Thursday, as did Mayor Dale Sowers, who by mid-morning Friday hadn’t returned a call to his cellphone mid-afternoon Thursday. Overby during his service clashed most frequently with those two. Both have criticized Overby for not being a team player.

Overby said in his statement that, “(Carteret) County Commissioners recently discussed a property rezoning just outside Peletier's jurisdiction. Residents went to the meeting to express their concerns. A few county commissioners took aim at Peletier for not planning for development and not providing any services for the residents.

“The county commissioners said exactly what I've been saying over the past year,” he said. “It's illogical to collect money from hardworking citizens and not provide them with a service that improves their quality of life. It's a classic example of taxation without representation.”

The property, 156 acres off Highway 58, was rezoned by a 5-1 vote for an RV Camper resort opposed by many Peletier residents. It’s just outside the town limits, so Peletier had no formal say in the matter, although the town had requested extension of its extraterritorial jurisdiction, which would have allowed the town board to make the rezoning decision.

Overby, who is less than one month into his second year in office, said he had advocated for basic, cost-effective services from which the citizens could benefit. “A little over $100 a month could have provided us a membership with the N.C. League of Municipalities,” he said. “That fee would pay for itself with professional consulting services and a seat at the table when lawmakers in Raleigh are discussing legislation that affects local government," he said in the statement.

“This service could have helped Peletier get started on proactively addressing the implications from growth. Sadly, the majority of the board didn't see a need to prepare for development even though the town is already behind the 8-ball,” he said.

“Peletier is unfortunately still sponging off Cape Carteret for police service,” Overby said. “They (Cape Carteret) provide the (county) sheriff's office mutual aid.”

Peletier has no police department, and Overby pushed unsuccessfully to get the town to hire a full-time sheriff’s deputy, a system nearby Cedar Point has done for years.

“I was glad to see the sheriff's office receive two patrol deputies in their new budget,” Overby said. “Peletier's population will continue to grow, and they need to fund public safety if they remain an incorporated town.”

He said he was humbled in November 2021 to receive the most commission votes in Peletier’s electoral history, 112. Incumbent Dan Taylor was reelected with 49 votes and first-time candidate Tim Quinn was elected with 45.

“I ran for this position because I care about the future of this community,” he said in the statement. “I don't have a self-serving purpose." Overby has also pushed the town to move quickly to broadcasting town board meetings live on the town’s website so people who can’t attend them can keep up with issues.

The board this month began recording its meetings, but there is not yet a firm plan to broadcast them live.

Town resident Donna Bierly, who has been increasingly involved in Peletier issues in the past two years, said she was “shocked” to hear of Overby’s resignation and was disappointed.

“I wish he hadn’t resigned,” she said. “I know he was frustrated.” However, she said, “I understand.”

Overby, Bierly said, “had good suggestions” but “change doesn’t happen overnight. Enacting change may require a different approach and time to convince others to get on board.”

She added that she wishes Overby well and suspects he will continue to be involved with the town.

Overby said Friday that, “Going forward, I will be helping future state and county candidates that believe in conservative values get elected. The county services and school system have the greatest impact on our lives, along with our children, so that's where I will focus my efforts.”

He said he understands “if some supporters feel like I let them down.” However, he added, “It was discouraging that only a handful of citizens are engaged in town decisions and the majority seem apathetic to how their tax dollars are spent, and people need to hold their elected officials accountable going forward.”

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

(42) comments

boguebum

if i can't get my way i'll take my toys and go home

Steven Overby

Self serving politicians didn't leave any toys for me to take. Lol

the secret life of man

Trying to change morons into productive citizen in this part of N.C. is a fools errand.

4thePeople

Sad, but true. In 2009 I attended a government meeting on "Super-70," and asked referring to the Havelock bypass, "What effects to you see happening to the business community?" We don't anticipate any change was the gist of the reply.

Interstate 42 will contribute to the growth in our region, but unfortunately many of our leaders have failed to recognize the impacts of growth on communities. If you cannot look what NC's aggressive interstate building as affected since the 1960s, the secret life of man is right.

It's unfortunate Mr. Overby has stepped down because people with vision are needed now more than ever. If we can't govern with vision, then I'd hope to see him back in a decade in an attempt to fix our current local government shortfalls.

the secret life of man

Mr. Overby would you consider heading up Morehead City government?You would be a most welcome addition for our constituents.

Steven Overby

If I lived in Morehead City I would get involved and hopefully MHC residents will pay closer attention. At least they provide services though. Peletier is a lost cause.

drewski

...They are strong and brave and true;

But they're always tired of the things that are,

And they want the strange and new.

They say: "Could I find my proper groove,

What a deep mark I would make!"

So they chop and change, and each fresh move

Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs

With a brilliant, fitful pace,

It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones

Who win in the lifelong race.....

Robert W. Service ( excerpt from " the men that don't fit in")

Steven Overby

Salute...

saltydog

So, he spent a year fighting for what he believed was best for his community and then threw in the towel. Sounds like he was never serious about the fight to begin with.

Steven Overby

Should it take a year to get them to spend $100 a month for a service that would be beneficial? The fight isn't over, the fight is just bigger than Peletier.

Swasnboro_Native

Smart kid. He knows he can't afford to buy off the other commissioners or Farrington or Keith Byrd, so he walks. Sad but true how often this happens. Garbage is garbage and that never changes. RIP Peletier.

Coastal Observer

It is deeply disappointing and embarrassing when an elected official quits after only one year of a four year term, particularly when that official received the most votes in history.

This not only undermines the trust and confidence of the voters but also a waste of time and resources that went into the election campaign. It is a betrayal of the mandate given to them by the people and a disrespect to the democratic process.

Moreover, it sends a message to future candidates that winning an election is not a commitment to serve, but rather an opportunity to gain power and prestige. It also discourages voters from participating in the democratic process, as they may feel that their votes do not matter.

It is the responsibility of elected officials to serve the full term for which they were elected and to work tirelessly on behalf of their constituents. Quitting after only one year is a breach of that responsibility and a disservice to the public.

Instead of quitting, an elected official who is facing difficulties or challenges should work to address them and to find ways to better serve the public. This would be a true demonstration of leadership and commitment to the public good.

Steven Overby

You make valid points, but a lot of what you wish to see in elected officials isn't reality because there's no accountability by the people. A commitment to serve is a novel idea, but most people realize that even are local elected officials only care about power and prestige. If I cared about having an ounce of power, I wouldn't have stepped down. I appreciate the confidence the voters entrusted me with, but it was disappointing that the vast majority of Peletier taxpayers didn't attend meetings or demand the board members to proactively address the issues and make the best use of their tax dollars. Shouldn't we expect more from the people than showing up to vote? We need quality candidates willing to take action. I'm willing to bet the majority of the people would vote to dissolve the town charter if it was on the ballot for them to decide. They would save money and the county actually has staff and resources that could improve quality of life. Request Peletier's financial transactions and see where the money goes and ask questions. Demand accountability!

Coastal Observer

Furthermore, for this elected official to now demand accountability from the voters is the height of hypocrisy and audacity. They have not only abdicated their own responsibilities, but also have the nerve to blame the voters for their own shortcomings and failures. This is a clear indication of their lack of accountability and their unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions.

saltydog

Exactly….

Steven Overby

Coastal Observer, can you expound on what my failures or shortcomings are in the political realm? I was in office for one year, but the establishment in Peletier has been collecting tax dollars for 25 years and the taxpayers have received no benefit. I'm advocating for the town to unincorporate and let the county take over. The county already provides the services and the county has the resources to address the growth and future needs, we just need to make sure the county hears our concerns and if no action is taken then hopefully they'll have competition at the next election. It's not cost effective for Peletier to continue to take tax dollars from the residents and not spend those funds in ways that improve quality of life. That's the real failure. We could save Peletier residents some money. This opinion only triggers those who favor big government.

David Collins

Can understand his frustrations but by quitting it allows them to appoint a ringer to ensure smooth sailing . Would like to believe I would stay , be a continual thorn in their side and keep the public informed of who , what and why any further decisions are made .

Steven Overby

People have the misconception that you have to be in office to be effective. The Tea party proves that theory wrong. I'm not going away, Mr. Colllins.

dc

The communities surrounding Cape Carteret were left with no choice but to incorporate when CC started moving to annex areas of those communities. Does adding another layer of government on top of county government sound "conservative"? But when push comes to shove what can you do? Adding layers of government or being pulled into it and demanding services or being involuntarily required to participate is not free. It would have been ideal if those surrounding communities had been left alone. Could be wrong but believe when Rs finally got the majority in state government they produced legislation to prevent annexing of areas outlying a municipality unless something like 60% of those being annexed agrees/votes to be annexed. "Unincorporating" may or may not be in best interests of those inclined to ask for it. Could the law requiring those being annexed be rescinded/reversed in the future thereby returning to the old problem of being annexed by an adjacent incorporated town? Be careful what you ask for whether incorporating thereby adding another layer of government or unincorporating and not knowing the consequences of what the future holds. Politicians elected and otherwise do not always know what's best for the rest of us. Sometimes it's best to leave things alone. Sometimes "improvements" might just be in the eyes of the beholder(s) and not what the majority or at least what many desire.

Steven Overby

I don't believe politicians know best, which is why I suggested putting the issue on the ballot for people to decide. By unincorporating, we would actually be removing a " layer of government." The county government already exists and already provides all the services so nothing would change other than saving Peletier people a little money.

Steven Overby

The fact that this article has generated interest from readers is encouraging. The majority of people don't vote and those that do vote stop at voting. I will keep being involved beyond just votes and dream of a day when people take an active part in their local government decisions.

Doc Epoch

Thank you for your efforts and for being vocal on the issues many people are starting to recognize as important. Time will tell but the natives are becoming restless and we are done with the cronyism seen in the county. Accountability is the key, it cannot come soon enough.

Steven Overby

It's rich to use a pseudonym and be critical. I don't understand why people don't use their name and stand behind their words. Any solutions to Peletier's problems? Please run for office and prove me I'm wrong and Peletier can be a town that serves a purpose.

drewski

Wasn't it reported in this newspaper and implied that you had to move dwellings at short notice because of your words& positions in local gov't? Considering the political climate in this country, what seems to be a large group of "angertainment" folks, the unbalanced, those under the influence of drugs and or alcohol, and just loony zealots, It seems to me using a pseudonym is just common sense. I mean its not like there was not an angry mob at the US Capitol chanting " hang mike pence"

The veneer of civilization is after all, VERY THIN.

dc

Advocating "improvements" meaning services that must be funded by raising rate right? In addition to retaining identity wasn't that at least some of the reason Peletier and the others that incorporated didn't want to be part of CC? Cedar Pt started with the lowest rate, but what is it now? What are Peletier's assets and liabilties? What will happen to them if Peletier votes to unincorporated? Probably transferred to the county?

Steven Overby

DC,

Peletier has very few assets. In fact, they should be paying off town hall this year, but the bank still owns it currently. The identity of a community isn't defined by paying taxes and having elected officials that do nothing. There's no comparison between Peletier and Cedar Point. Cedar Point has a town manager and provides services, including a festival, water access, etc. Cedar Point also has a lot of businesses so their tax base is constantly growing. Peletier town limits is a small area and limited. Improving or providing services doesn't always mean a tax increase is needed. The upcoming property valuations will result in properties being more valuable so unless the county lowers the rate than it's a tax increase. Like I've said before, the County is already providing services to Peletier. The only thing that changes is the fact Peletier citizens will no longer pay .55 per hundred on their property. Peletier has no assets that are valuable. The county could make better use of town hall and the town owned church. Peletier gave the Mayor's construction company 30k to repair the church. 30k is consequently the magic number to avoid the public bidding process according to state statue. That's exactly what the town of Peletier would do. The county would at least put it out for public bid.

Steven Overby

DC,

Bettie, Davis, Cedar Island, Otway, Sea level, Harkers Island all have an identity without being an incorporated town.

mpjeep

I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I realize there are times you must take your toys and go home.

Nothing wrong with elected officials or the public demanding accountability and transparency. Of course, we will get neither.

I also applaud Mr. Overby for adding his name to this discussion. A feat most of us, including me, won’t/don’t do.

Steven Overby

The County could use the current Peletier town hall as s substation for Sheriff's Deputies. That's just one way to make better use of resources.

Coastal Observer

A review of property tax records revealed that you did not pay property taxes during your tenure and loudly criticized taxation without representation, calling for Peletier to unincorporate. This failure to contribute to the community and lack of accountability undermines trust in the political process and you may have done the community a favor by resigning. Due diligence by citizens is crucial in holding elected officials accountable.

drewski

Ppl who rent pay property tax as a portion of the rent, the idea that only landowners pay property tax is incorrect.

Steven Overby

Coastal Observer,

You contradicted yourself by saying that my resignation was a disservice to the community in one comment then in the next you say that may have done a citizens a favor by resignation. Be consistent!

Just to clarify, "Coastal Observer" is correct that I don't own real property. But, I do own personal property. I pay property taxes on a vehicle. I also rent a house in Peletier. People that rent homes may not get a property tax bill in their name, but you better believe that property taxes are included in a person's rent. Real estate investors need people to rent and renters like me also pay sales tax, income tax, social security, etc. You're welcome for contributing.

Coastal Observer, do you believe people that rent shouldn't have a voice in the political process? If not, that's an elitist mindset and goes against the principles of our Republic.

David Collins

Have to agree . Posters that use a stage name when giving an opinion just can’t pass the smell test . Remember I was warned/advised when I came out and as then , bring it on ! For all that is worth ?

dc

So, your "quality of life" would be better if you lived in CC?

dc

No govt entity operates without expenses. What did the town hall cost? Is it paid for? What other expenses does the town have? How much is in the bank for a "rainy day" fund? Quit beating around the bush. Tell us how $ has been spent or is being spent that you have a problem with. Guess unincorporating will improve quality of life in that the residents will have a few more dollars to help out with inflation. Just need to be careful that all the influx of folks from off that may be use to taxes a lot higher than anything around here don't one day demand to be annexed by what Peletier and other surrounding communities were trying to avoid when they incorporated.

dc

No real info except town hall will be paid off this year. Good to know the old church is being given a much needed face-lift. Donations and volunteers' hard work should be greatly appreciated by the community and especially families of those buried there. Doubt the county needs more than the Western Office. If so, they probably would already have it. But it's really nice of you to offer up the town hall that Peletier taxpayers paid for.

Steven Overby

DC,

It's interesting you are asking for information then you provide information. It appears you might have some inside information. How many donations did the town receive and how does that compare to taxpayer money that's being used to give the church a "face-lift"? Volunteers are hard to come by. There was probably one or two Volunteers that were unpaid. If you doubt the county needs more to accommodate the growing population you don't know the facts. Fire Chief Hunter said back in 2010 they were servicing 7,000 people. Fast forward to 2020 and they are servicing 12,000. What's that number going to be in 5-10 years? Peletier taxpayers paid for the town hall and the county Sheriff's Office serves Peletier because Peletier is unwilling to provide their own protection. I am missing your point.

Donna B.

As a resident and property owner in Peletier, I will continue to support my town, especially with focus on safety and health issues. I will never advocate for unincorporating Peletier. In our small town, it is incumbent on the Commissioners to present ideas and follow thru. It is the responsibility of the Commissioners who want to enact change to be proactive, present their case, to persuade, to convince. There is no time limit on this.

As a resident of Peletier, I am not apathetic and I am not uninvolved. From working on petitions changing speed limits, calling DOT to fix our roads and address issues, conferring with state officials and writing a very detailed ordinance to protect our town, helping repair a church donated to residents of Peletier and the Town of Peletier (not the county) by Ms Adelia Jenkins, —to listening and learning about the issues and being a voice when appropriate, I worked on this. Does that paint a picture of Apathy?

It is naive to believe the county will serve us better. Residents are involved. Change and improvements have occurred. Not all residents can prioritize town issues and get involved, but isn’t that why we elect someone to represent us, to be our voice? Cape Carteret pays almost 4x as much, Cedar Point almost 3x as much in taxes by the way. We are Unique, a very small town that was predominately farmland, and now we are growing. I see financial standing improving especially when town hall is paid off. I see others listening, I see progress, I see improvements. But, I also see the need to never give up, yet be realistic.

If belonging solely to the County is sufficient, why are people showing up at our Peletier Town meetings who don’t even reside in Peletier. They have no say in our elections, They are not residents of Peletier. They do not contribute paying taxes to Peletier. Yet, they show up. Could they be frustrated not having a voice in the county? Could it be the county’s own words that the priority is tourism? Would the county support the Yard Waste site ordinance, our issues? Would the county help repair our roads, fight for reduced speed, enforce our ordinances? Why throw the baby out with the bath water?

We do have a part-time code enforcement officer. Sure, I would like more police presence but I do pay county tax for “Public Safety”.

Belonging to a town is like belonging to a family. It’s support, a sense of unity. You can’t put a price on that.

Steven Overby

Donna,

People from outside of Peletier town limits come to Peletier meetings because even though they don't live within town limits they are still affected by town decisions. People go to county meetings and speak daring public comment all the time. Most people I spoke to during the campaign voiced frustration with Peletier's inaction.

If it's naive to believe the county will serve us better then tell everyone how Peletier is serving the people? People has a code enforcement officer. He's a great guy and he's done his job, but the town hasn't given him any direction on how to proceed on the abatement/fining process. The town just fined the race track, but will they follow through and actually collect the money? I have my doubts. Also, the reduced speed limit and waste ordinance can be proactive measures if they enforced, but who is going to enforce them? Peletier can't even make homeowners get their properties in compliance so I don't see the code enforcement officer taking on more responsibilities while only working part-time.

The change and improvements you think have occurred are only impactful if they are enforced. The town once had a hired town planner. When that position was phased out, that was the first clue the Peletier establishment didn't want to improve Peletier or address development. Peletier has no strategic plan for the future.

I may not agree with all county decisions, but they update their land use plan often and they have a transportation committee. If people are unsatisfied with county decisions, we have elections. Getting involved in county decisions is more impactful and will bring more cost effective improvements going forward.

dc

The only info I have is articles and what you've provided like the town hall that you believe is not a town asset of any real value but you stated will be paid off this year. Didn't an article state someone appeared at a board meeting and offered a donation to help fix up the church? May be wrong but thought an article stated there had been other donations. Since you were a board member don't you know? If the town were to vote to unincorporate doesn't that mean the town assets that include the town hall and the church which you seem to believe have no value will be transferred to the county? The church obviously had value to the town when it was used for meetings. You have plans for the town hall. What's your plans for the church? Do you know if the county owns any churches? Not sure county taxpayers from other parts of county would like the idea of maintaining a church that has little to no value to anyone other than locals. The point is what is done is done. Believe you stated that Peletier is limited in how it can grow like CP, or words to that effect unless I misundestood you. The town did not plan for density for sure but the planning has been decided by others and that's past tense. Is there a crime problem such that the town needs either its own police force or assigned deputy in addition to what is already provided? Things have been quiet up to now but maybe the coming influx will change the status quo. Haven't heard of any noise in Bogue other than the "Sound of Freedom". Must be nice. Good luck with the unincorporation drive. Just hope where the Peletier town limits signs are now in the future aren't replaced with "Welcome to CC or CP".

Steven Overby

The Peletier planning board asked Donna to do the research and work related to the yard waste ordinance. Donna is one of the few Peletier residents that's involved and It will be good to see her work come into fruition, but it makes me wonder why Peletier even has a planning board. It's volunteerism but each planning board members gets paid $23 for showing up even when there's no business to discuss. They are supposed to do their due diligence and make a recommendation to pass along to the board of Commissioners. The due diligence was Donna by a private citizen that was once denied an opportunity to serve on the planning board when she showed interest. You can't make this stuff up. Shame...

Steven Overby

Donna has proven to be one of the few in Peletier with a proactive approach. I still don't see the purpose of Peletier being an incorporated town. No one has articulated a factual argument in favor of taxation with no services or how they will address implications from a growing population. Maybe I will be proved wrong, but history is on my side. Donna needs to be appointed as the next Commissioner of Peletier. Many people will be watching and waiting to see if the ship will sink.

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