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 In the News, June 3, 2010 

GENERAL

Editorial: Carolina Beach’s endless appetite for spending. This will be a shocker, since not much has been said about the Wilmington Beach paving and drainage project in recent months, but it warrants consideration. The Town of Carolina Beach had no problem spending $200,000 dollars on property at 1710 Carolina Beach Avenue North they knew was practically uses less [sic]. Even their Town Manager advised them not to purchase the land.  They also obligated themselves to pay the debt on a $4.3 million land purchase to provide a home for a future, yet still uncommitted, North Carolina Aquarium Pier near the Town's Marina on Canal Drive and Carolina Beach Avenue North.  They had no problem tacking on $4.3 million plus $200,000 in debt service that will cause all taxpayers to pay increased property taxes and utility fees.  Yet they want the property owners in the annexed Wilmington Beach area to pay upwards of $7,000 per lot in assessment in order to get their streets paved and improve drainage in the area. Some people own two, three or more lots with only one house on those properties.

Economist predicts state’s economy is rebounding. An economics professor at UNC Charlotte said North Carolina’s economy is rebounding. Economist John Connaughton said nine of the state’s economic sectors are expected to grow in 2010.  He said the service sector will see the most growth. He also expects the agriculture, finance, government, wholesale trade, retail trade, mining, transportation and construction sectors to expand. Government and transportation were the only sectors to grow during 2009.

 

STATE BUDGET

Local legislators adamant: no new taxes. The North Carolina House of Representatives budget does not include the Senate version’s $24.5 million in new taxes, and fees and local representatives are adamant they stay out of the negotiated final version. Rep. William Wainwright and Rep. Alice Underhill, at home for the holiday weekend and attending Memorial Day ceremonies at New Bern National Cemetery on Monday, said they are returning to Raleigh clear in their position that the state’s 2010-2011 state budget can not include new taxes or fees. “The House has sent a clear message that there cannot be any new fees or taxes in this budget,” Wainwright said. “We can’t get a consensus. Nobody is going to vote for more taxes.”

 

BROADBAND

Senate wants study on broadband. North Carolina lawmakers want to study the impact of allowing cities to offer low-cost Internet service before letting more municipalities get in the business. The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill Wednesday to impose a freeze on cities and towns that want to sell cheaper, faster Internet service than companies offer while a legislative panel researches the issue. The freeze ends either when legislators adopt new rules governing municipal broadband operations or lawmakers go home next year without a decision. Cities offering cable and Internet service — Morganton, Wilson, Mooresville and Davidson — could continue and Salisbury would be allowed to continue building its system.

Bill would put local internet on hold for a year. Cities and counties would have to stay out of the broadband Internet business for the next year while lawmakers come up with rules to govern when it’s appropriate for local governments to own such systems, under a proposal that cleared the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. Five North Carolina municipalities have or are building their own Internet systems and would be allowed to continue those efforts. But senators said other local governments should wait until lawmakers can lay down guidelines on questions such as when is it appropriate for cities to issue debt to pay for such systems.

Opinion: N.C.’s municipal broadband battle demonstrates the need for clearer national policy. The latest skirmish in a long-running conflict over municipal broadband in North Carolina shows just how badly community Internet advocates need policy reinforcement at statehouses across the country. … The short summer session of the North Carolina General Assembly is supposed to be a time for getting the budget done and going home, but it's proving to be yet another season for a conflict that has been marked by robocalls, push-polls, and tweets from the legislative committee hearings. The bill's sponsor, N.C. Sen. David Hoyle (R-Gastonia) argues that public investment in technological infrastructure is unwise, especially when it means government will compete against private industry 

 

ANNEXATION

Opinion: Take action on annexation. NC Senator Larry Shaw, who introduced a TRUE annexation reform bill in the last session of the General Assembly, has been speaking with Senator Martin Nesbitt (District 49) about his (Shaw’s) desire to move ahead with genuine annexation reform this session. Senator Nesbitt will be speaking with Senator Marc Basnight about this issue. Just so you know, we are talking about the people who currently hold the power — Sen. Nesbitt is the majority leader of the Senate and Sen. Basnight is the president of the Senate — they are major deal-makers and deal-breakers.