Haywood County is a quiet little place off the beaten path in western North Carolina. But a lively group of grassroots activists is raising a ruckus that has the political establishment there absolutely rattled.
We heard previously about the county’s emergency management ordinance which gives the unelected county manager the power to declare a state of emergency and take complete control over all economic resources. We’ve also heard about a controversy surrounding valuations for county property taxes. Both matters were addressed by some county residents and some board members at the September 15th county commissioners meeting.
Property Taxes. Our previous coverage noted that some Haywood residents were questioning significant increases in the valuation of their property. They were told the valuations were done with the assistance of special maps. Where are the maps? They were on the county web site, but they’re gone now. County leaders suggested that the maps took up too much room on the web server, so they were removed. Anyone interested in hard copies, residents were told, could file a formal request with the county manager and pay hundreds of dollars per map.
Well, Haywood County GOP chairman Pat Carr addressed the commissioners on the 15th regarding this matter. (See the first fifteen minutes of the linked video.) She told commissioners that the party’s executive committee approved a resolution asking that the county put the maps back online, and that party leaders be given a digital copy of the maps. Carr even went as far as to supply county board chairman Mark Swanger with a 16 GB flash drive to store the digital copies of the maps.
Chairman Swanger, a Democrat, yielded to commissioner Kevin Ensley, the board’s lone Republican, to respond to Carr. Haywood County has a *neat* little policy written into its meeting agendas:
Citizens must sign up for public comment prior to 5:20 p.m. and are limitedto three (3) minutes. Audience members may not address the Board at any timeduring deliberations unless recognized by the Chairman.
“The purpose of a party is to recruit members and raise funds for candidates for election — NOT to be an activist group. If you want to be an activist group, go somewhere else. ”