Commissioners weigh in on appointments, asked to help HART expansion

By Vicki Hyatt | Mar 18, 2014

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners dismissed several questions about board appointees at Monday’s meeting.

During the public comment session, Maggie Valley business owner Allen Alsbrooks asked the board to deny a request from the Maggie Valley governing board to replace Tourism Development Authority member Rob Edwards with Alderman Mike Eveland.

Alsbrooks said the commissioners needed two names to choose from, something the board later said was not the case.

Maggie Valley Mayor Ron DeSimone said the political dynamics changed with last year's election, and now town aldermen wanted a member from their own board on the tourism agency governing board. Edwards had earlier been named to the TDA board as Maggie Valley's representative.

“This is not a referendum on Mr. Edwards,” DeSimone said. “He has done a fine job. But he has not necessarily expressed the views of our board.”

In their motion appointing Alderman Mike Eveland to the TDA, the commissioners rescinded Edwards’ appointment.

On a separate board appointment issue, Denny King read correspondence from a UNC School of Government attorney who maintained the Haywood County Fairgrounds was a public body.

Last month, County Attorney Chip Killian, who also consulted the UNC School of Government, said the fairgrounds' nonprofit 501c3 status put it in a different category and a member who served on that governing board plus two others, would not be in violation of the law or the constitution.

King and others have questioned whether the reappointment of Mary Ann Enloe to the county board of equalization violated dual appointment provisions of state law and the state constitution. These provisions place limitations on how many boards or elective offices an individual can hold. At the time, Enloe served on the fairgrounds board, the community college governing board and the board of equalization and review.

When the dual appointment question was raised, Enloe immediately resigned from the fairgrounds board.

Killian reiterated his opinion that no violation occurred, and Commission Chairman Mark Swanger said the issue is now moot since Enloe is only on two boards.

Steven Lloyd, director of Haywood Arts Regional Theater, updated the commissioners on the progress of a $1 million project to add another theater. With a $2.4 million annual impact in the county, and at least half of the ticket sales to those outside the county, HART is an economic engine in the county, he said.

Because the plays are at night, it is likely many theater-goers come early for dinner, spend the night and eat breakfast the next day.

Another theater will allow productions to shift back and forth between stages, and will double the season — and economic impact, he predicted.

“Now, there’s a three-week shutdown between performances and we’re losing half of our potential revenue during the tourist season,” Lloyd said.

So far, $675,000 has been raised for the project and grants are being sought to reach the $1 million goal. Grant agencies look for a buy-in from the the county and towns, Lloyd said, so local participation will be key.

He requested the county contribute $25,000 this year, and another $25,000 next year toward the project.

The board members said they would consider the request along with others as the budget for the coming fiscal year is being prepared.