Keep us, and your neighbors, in the know.
- News tips
- Community Events
- Become a blogger
- Submit a story
BELVILLE, NC (WECT) - Several concerned citizens spoke out against a plan to merge Belville with Leland at a special meeting Thursday night.
Tempers flared at the meeting as citizens and board members expressed frustration at the proposal, which was pushed by Mayor Jack Batson.
The board tried to prevent the mayor from running the meeting; however, that attempt was unsuccessful.
Commissioners and the public accused Batson of meeting in secret with Leland officials and as a result,
Commission Joe Breault said he was "blindsided" by the plan.
Batson admitted that he met behind closed doors with Leland leaders because he didn't want details of the plan to go public before it was finalized.
Most citizens said they are against the proposal because the potential tax increase.
Some say their taxes would double.
"As an average working man, I cannot afford to have my taxes double or triple," one citizen said.
Most of the anger was directed at Batson.
"I think anyone who goes out and represents Belville by themselves should be silenced by the board members from saying anything about Belville," one resident said while pointing his finger at Batson.
At the end of the meeting, the board unanimously voted to silence the mayor in a resolution that bars him from talking about merging with Leland.
The resolution also says the commissioners don't support the merger.
But when we talked to the mayor after the meeting - it seemed he didn't get the message.
"So, are you going to keep pushing this?" asked our Ashlea Kosikowski.
"Oh yeah," Batson replied. "It is the right thing to do."
Batson maintains there's a lot to gain from merging. Belville residents would get a police force from Leland, recycling services and public transportation.
Despite being banned from talking about the plan, Batson said a public meeting will be held on this issue next Thursday at Belville Elementary School.
Copyright 2012 WECT. All rights reserved.