Waynesville open to buskers

By Mary Ann Enloe | Jul 22, 2013

The Waynesville governing board didn't make many major decisions at its long meeting Tuesday night, but discussed everything from a busker's ordinance to the recreation park's restrooms.

So what is a busker? It's someone who performs in a public place, hoping to receive gratuities from passers-by. Buskers can be anything from balloon twisters to banjo players, and everything in between. There has been legislation governing buskers since early Roman times. Waynesville's current ordinance prohibits street performing unless the performer has a special permit issued by the town manager.

Recently Waynesville's Town Manager Marcy Onieal received four requests from musicians wanting to perform on Waynesville's streets, including one from a 92-year-old saxophone player who needs to make money for repairs on his house and has no other way to earn income. Onieal will present a busker's ordinance to the mayor and board of aldermen at a future meeting.

"I'm certainly willing to continue making the decisions on street performers, but there may be a better way to handle it," she said. "I don't want to be the one who decides what is good and what is bad."

High cost for relief

Bids for new restrooms to replace those that burned several years ago at the recreation park came in far above what the Town expected to pay, said Onieal.

"We're going to start all over and look at that space. We know they are needed, but it may be that they don't have to go on that specific footprint," she said.

When Onieal was hired last year, one of the goals the governing board set for her was to create a Comprehensive Information Technology Master Plan.

"There are all sorts of ways we can go about this," said Onieal. "It's sort of like digging a hole.We can use shovels or we can use the latest state-of-the- art back hoe."

Beware of the cloud

An IT specialist from the League of Municipalities in Raleigh spoke Tuesday night on the League's success with its new IT program, which stores all information "in the cloud," which uses an Internet rather than computer hard drive-based system.

Jon Feichter of New Meridian Technologies, located on Waynesville's Main Street, currently provides IT support for the town and was asked by the mayor to give his opinion on the League's presentation. Feichter suggested that the town be careful about "putting all its eggs in one basket" by having everything in the cloud. Assistant Town Manager Alison Melnikova is also working on this ongoing project.

Merger update

Mayor Gavin Brown gave an update on the Junaluska/Waynesville merger which is now off the table until at least next year, where it may be brought up again at the General Assembly's "short session" which begins in May.

"When Junaluska proposed the merger, I thought it was a good idea and I still do, but we felt it was in everybody's best interest to ask that the bill be pulled for this year. We just ran out of time," said Brown.

He went on to say that no one has leveled any criticism at Waynesville about the way the process was handled.

"We were completely open about this from the very beginning, and everybody is aware of that," he said.

Two official actions were taken at Tuesday night's meeting: The governing board approved an automatic mutual aid agreement with Maggie Valley Fire and Rescue, and approved the temporary street closing and staff assistance for Sarge's 8th Annual Downtown Dogwalk scheduled for Aug. 3.