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 In the News, June 15, 2010 

GENERAL

Editorial: Open the process. Sunshine's a great thing. In the garden, it helps tomatoes and green beans grow. In government, it engenders trust between the electorate and those chosen to serve them as elected officials. With last week's decision to change town managers, the Wendell Board of Commissioners has an opportunity to spread some sunshine of their own.  Commissioners will begin next week deciding how they want to go about hiring a new town manager. More than likely, they will work with the N.C. League of Municipalities to seek and screen candidates.  Once that pool has been reduced to a short list of finalists, commissioners should let the public know who's on the list. Give the public a chance to meet the candidates and offer to commissioners their input into who they think would serve Wendell best in the future.

 

BROADBAND

Senator: MI-Connection ‘mess’ deserves butt-kicking. Whoever convinced Mooresville and Davidson to go into the Internet business “should have their butts kicked,” N.C. Sen. David Hoyle says. And the powerful Gaston County Democrat, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, expects to push through some sort of legislation this year that will put limits on other municipalities tempted to do the same thing. Hoyle has a strong ally in N.C. Rep. Thom Tillis, the Cornelius Republican who serves as minority whip in the House. If the Senate approves restrictions on municipalities going into the broadband business, Tillis said he would push the legislation in the House.

N.C. taxpayers face bailout of muni broadband service. City leaders in the North Carolina cities of Davidson and Mooresville recently informed residents that the $92.5 million cable TV and broadband system the towns own jointly will require an additional $6.4 million subsidy from taxpayers next year. The need for additional funding, announced in May, follows a recent $576,000 cash call on the towns from the municipal network called M-I Connection (pronounced “My Connection”) to keep the system operating for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Local officials and their consultants pitched the system to taxpayers as a nearly risk-free investment in 2007.

 

ANNEXATION

Opinion: Citizens rally to end forced annexation. Citizens who want to reform North Carolina’s annexations laws not only have to contend with state law that favors forced annexation by municipalities, they also have to counter the influence of legislative lobbyists funded by taxpayer money. StopNCAnnexation and other reform groups hold an annual rally in Raleigh to coincide with the North Carolina League of Municipalities “Town Hall” event. This year, they rally will be June 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Halifax Mall. “This is a critical year for the future of achieving real reform of the annexation laws and to put an end to forced annexation,” said Cathy Heath, StopNCAnnexation chair.