Editorial: Surprise, Surprise, Surprise....

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 19 August 2015 04:00

 ( Title quote ~ Gomer Pyle )

Managing Editor

Local Government 101: Don't surprise your bosses.
At least two members of the Carolina Beach Town Council were recently surprised to find out Town staff had been negotiating to purchase property at 719 Canal Drive and seeking a grant from the State of North Carolina to fund 50% of the purchase. (See report on page 1-A).
Town Manager Michael Cramer told Mayor Dan Wilcox the item had been listed in weekly updates sent via email since April of this year. It's true several of those updates included brief lines about water access grants along with pages of other info covering various topics.
One update in April indicated Town staff were researching grant opportunities. Another update in May said the Harbor Commission made a recommendation on two Canal Drive lots and they were researching grants that might be available.
Another update in July explained "Preparing CAMA Grant Final Application for acquisition of lot on Canal Dr. for sound access, parking and other amenities. Application due in October. Award announcements expected in January 2016. Researching other projects."
None of those updates said anything about negotiating the price of a specific property.
Now the manager and staff are confronted with the Mayor's desire to know why the item was not brought to the Council first for discussion and
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth saying Tuesday that he does not support the idea for various reasons.
Traditionally, Council's like a little more information when it comes to buying land, the intended use and have the opportunity to be actively included in the entire process especially when there are real estate negotiations taking place.
And the idea seems wonderful. Get the state to pay half of the price to buy land for a positive public purpose.
But perhaps not everyone agrees it's a necessity or in the right place.
Perhaps that could have been learned earlier in the process. Don't surprise your bosses.


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