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Watauga Democrat: Town vs. county dispute incites openness issues

From the Watauga Democrat (5/2/13): The Boone Town Council met in closed session for the fifth time Wednesday to discuss the county's threatened lawsuit, part of an ongoing saga that has raised concerns for many residents about the transparency and openness of local elected officials.

According to the town, the council called five closed session meetings to receive legal advice about the threat of a lawsuit from the county after the council enacted multi-family housing changes some commissioners said threatened the old Watauga High School sale.

The council also proposed that representatives from the two governmental bodies meet in a private mediation to settle the matter -- which the N.C. Court of Appeals has held to be legal -- but county commission Chairman Nathan Miller refused to meet in private.

Council members in turn criticized Miller for unilaterally negotiating a sales tax distribution change with other towns that would cost Boone an estimated $2 million in lost revenue but result in a net gain for the county.

Colin Donohue,
5/6/2013 8:20 AM