Flag activists won't use illegal means to make their point

Creative arts building nearly ready
By Vicki Hyatt | Dec 18, 2012
Photo by: Stina Sieg Confederate flag advocates, many from outside the county, have become a familiar sight at the historic Haywood County Courthouse.

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners heard more from those wanting to fly the Confederate flag on the courthouse lawn before handling other year-end business at their Monday meeting.

Kirk Lyons, a Black Mountain attorney with the Southern Legal Resource Center, said he has not threatened to sue the county over its policy on displaying the Confederate flag on the courthouse lawn. His previous statements to pursue the matter through “all legal means necessary” meant that he would use “legal” as opposed to “illegal” means, he explained.

Later, however, he said if the county keeps its policy, they will find out what the phrase means. Lyons further stated he has no interest in interfering with the governance or policies of Haywood County, and that he prefers to be called a neighbor as opposed to an outsider.

Previously, those who wanted to use the courthouse lawn or other county property needed to ask permission, and requests were considered on a case by case basis. The county is crafting an overall policy to follow, and several groups in the region, including the Raleigh-based Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Hendersonville-based WNC Flaggers and Lyons’ organization, want that policy to allow for the Confederate battle flag to be displayed.

 

Tourism

Lynn Collins, executive director of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, provided an update on the funds collected through a 4 percent occupancy tax on overnight accommodations in the county. This revenue has been used as an indicator of tourism activity, though it doesn’t account for day visitors or those who visit the area and stay with friends or relatives.

According to the occupancy tax receipts, slightly less was generated in 2011-2012 fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, than the previous period, $895,456 vs. $890,493.

Though the receipts were lower than TDA governing board had projected, a mid-year budget correction balanced the budget. Highlights of the year included launching a mibile site, VisitNCSmokies.com; distributing a new motorcycle brochure and postcards promoting Haywood County; completing the first year of having a Main Street Waynesville visitor center open; developing “tent cards” for use in local restaurants and accommodations and completing a vista clearing project with the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The following individuals were appointed or reappointed to the TDA governing board: James Carver, Lyndon Lowe, Beth Brown, Ben Glover and Rob Edwards.

 

Community college

Bill Dechant, the director of campus development at Haywood Community College, requested two change orders for the $8.3 million creative arts center that’s under construction. One change order was for $23,885 and another was for $45,226. These are part of a long list of changes that have been requested since the construction was approved in early 2011.

While the project is being paid for with a one-fourth cent optional sales tax approved by county voters and overseen by the college, funding flows through the county, so the commissioners need to sign off of the costs, as does the state construction office.

County leaders have not been pleased with the number and types of costs cropping up over and above what was agreed to contractually. A list of changes, as well as the reason the extra costs were needed, is being kept, and charges could be assessed back to the builder or the architect before the final payments are made.

In an interview following the meeting, Dechant said while it might seem like there have been numerous changes, in a project this size, things have been going well.

“If you look at it in terms of percentages, the number of change orders are only 3 to 4 percent,” he said. “If you can stay under 5 percent with a project like this, ou are doing extremely well.”

The college has been given “ beneficial occupancy” of the new building, though there are still punch-list items to fix.

Dechant compared that to a temporary occupancy permit, which means the building is sound and there are just a few small things that need to be completed.

Faculty have begun moving some supplies into the new building and will continue through the holidays. Much of the major relocation will happen Friday when a moving company will locate the larger items.

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners heard more from those wanting to fly the Confederate flag on the courthouse lawn before handling other year-end business at their Monday meeting.

Kirk Lyons, a Black Mountain attorney with the Southern Legal Resource Center, said he has not threatened to sue the county over its policy on displaying the Confederate flag on the courthouse lawn. His previous statements to pursue the matter through “all legal means necessary” meant that he would use “legal” as opposed to “illegal” means, he explained.

Later, however, he said if the county keeps its policy, they will find out what the phrase means. Lyons further stated he has no interest in interfering with the governance or policies of Haywood County, and that he prefers to be called a neighbor as opposed to an outsider.

Previously, those who wanted to use the courthouse lawn or other county property needed to ask permission, and requests were considered on a case by case basis. The county is crafting an overall policy to follow, and several groups in the region, including the Raleigh-based Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Hendersonville-based WNC Flaggers and Lyons’ organization, want that policy to allow for the Confederate battle flag to be displayed.

 

Tourism

Lynn Collins, executive director of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, provided an update on the funds collected through a 4 percent occupancy tax on overnight accommodations in the county. This revenue has been used as an indicator of tourism activity, though it doesn’t account for day visitors or those who visit the area and stay with friends or relatives.

According to the occupancy tax receipts, slightly less was generated in 2011-2012 fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, than the previous period, $895,456 vs. $890,493.

Though the receipts were lower than TDA governing board had projected, a mid-year budget correction balanced the budget. Highlights of the year included launching a mibile site, VisitNCSmokies.com; distributing a new motorcycle brochure and postcards promoting Haywood County; completing the first year of having a Main Street Waynesville visitor center open; developing “tent cards” for use in local restaurants and accommodations and completing a vista clearing project with the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The following individuals were appointed or reappointed to the TDA governing board: James Carver, Lyndon Lowe, Beth Brown, Ben Glover and Rob Edwards.

 

Community college

Bill Dechant, the director of campus development at Haywood Community College, requested two change orders for the $8.3 million creative arts center that’s under construction. One change order was for $23,885 and another was for $45,226. These are part of a long list of changes that have been requested since the construction was approved in early 2011.

While the project is being paid for with a one-fourth cent optional sales tax approved by county voters and overseen by the college, funding flows through the county, so the commissioners need to sign off of the costs, as does the state construction office.

County leaders have not been pleased with the number and types of costs cropping up over and above what was agreed to contractually. A list of changes, as well as the reason the extra costs were needed, is being kept, and charges could be assessed back to the builder or the architect before the final payments are made.

In an interview following the meeting, Dechant said while it might seem like there have been numerous changes, in a project this size, things have been going well.

“If you look at it in terms of percentages, the number of change orders are only 3 to 4 percent,” he said. “If you can stay under 5 percent with a project like this, ou are doing extremely well.”

The college has been given “ beneficial occupancy” of the new building, though there are still punch-list items to fix.

Dechant compared that to a temporary occupancy permit, which means the building is sound and there are just a few small things that need to be completed.

Faculty have begun moving some supplies into the new building and will continue through the holidays. Much of the major relocation will happen Friday when a moving company will locate the larger items.

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