PELLETIER- A group of Peletier and area residents met Thursday night at City Hall and engaged in discussions with city officials about their concerns and ideas for future services.
Mayor Dale Sowers and commissioners Dan Taylor, Steven Overby, Tim Quinn, Walter Krause and David Bragg attended the informal session without action, as did a few members of the planning board.
Topics covered included police, fire and emergency medical services; collection of garden debris and garbage; ways to generate additional revenue for the city without increasing the property tax rate; stormwater runoff and other environmental issues; and ways to increase public input and involvement in city issues.
Lauren Daniels, who lives just out of town, created a poll last week on the “Community of Peletier, NC” Facebook page and said she was thrilled that as of Thursday afternoon, 63 people took it. fulfilled, identifying key service desires and often providing narrative commentary about the city.
“That’s quite a large number in a matter of days, considering the population is 800 to 1,000,” she said. The most frequently identified needs were for fire, EMS and law enforcement, primarily public safety, Daniels said.
The environment, traffic and flooding were also frequently identified as issues that need to be addressed, Ms Daniels said.
“People are really concerned about growth and don’t want the city caught in the act,” she added. “They also fear that sometimes the (Board of Commissioners) will listen to them. We have to do something to help citizens feel part of the process.
Peletier has been a hotbed of residential development over the past two years, with a number of subdivisions under construction and more underway, including many along West Fire Tower Road.
Mr. Quinn recently filed a successful motion to ask Carteret County to expand the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction around its boundaries, giving Peletier zoning and planning power instead of the county.
Mayor Sowers said Thursday he believes if the county agrees to the expansion, the city would have more control over development because city zoning would apply and commissioners could review and approve developers’ plans.
Mr. Overby said two of his top priorities are getting a Carteret County sheriff’s deputy assigned to the city full-time on contract, as Cedar Point already does, and renewing the effort to get the county to increase the shares of Carteret towns in the west of the mainland. sales tax revenue.
Peletier, along with Cedar Point, Bogue, and Cape Carteret in recent years have pushed the county to change the distribution system from one based on ad valorem tax levy to one based on population, or a hybrid of the two methods of distribution. The county did not agree, favoring high-value beach towns with the ad valorem method.
On Thursday, Mayor Sowers said that issue appeared to be on the back burner, in part because of impending county commission and state assembly elections.
But Mr. Overby said he thinks the city should renew the push to pressure candidates to support small western towns.
Mr. Quinn agreed. “I think we should press the issue,” he said.
Without additional funds, the city has little revenue to provide the services residents say they want.
Mayor Sowers said he was working with the mayors of those three other towns to try to find a way to share the cost of yard waste collection, perhaps something that could eventually lead to a garbage service. in the city. Cape Carteret already has a yard waste collection van and Cedar Point is considering purchasing one.
“We’re getting to the point where we’re able to consider offering some services,” Mayor Sowers said. “We (the other mayors) want to work together.”
He also said he thinks a fire and EMS station is coming because Western Carteret Fire and EMS Department Chief Kevin Hunter wants to put one in the area.
Some residents complained about excessive speeding cars and traffic on Thursday — especially in light of recent county discussions about building an elementary school in the area — but Mayor Sowers said the problem is that the North Carolina Department of Transportation controls all major roads in the city, including Interstate 24, West Fire Tower Road, and Peletier Loop Road.
Finally, Ms. Daniels lobbied for the city to broadcast her meetings, possibly on Facebook.
Young people, she says, are often unwilling or unable to come to meetings because they are busy working and raising families.
Commissioners raised concerns that streaming meetings online could prevent even more people from coming, and face-to-face engagement is important.
“Engagement is engagement,” Ms. Daniels said, whether in person or online, and there are ways to get public input from people watching town meetings at home or in the office.
The city survey is still available at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd2ERNGZt5sKnD4C1r1txqcov8vDvo-2AF-2M1fpIljpdIaXw/viewform.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email [email protected]; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.