Letter: Mayor responds to criticism

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 16:00 PM.

I am doing something that I rarely do. I am responding to a letter in last week’s edition of the Havelock News. The letter was from Mrs. Inga DeRoche. I am compelled to answer the numerous inaccuracies in her letter.

I fully understand that as one who has been a public servant for many years, I cannot satisfy everyone. I accept that. What I do not accept is statements about me and my actions that are plain and simply false. Mrs. DeRoche’s letter is an example of such false statements.

Mrs. DeRoche states that I opposed converting the local Forest Oaks Cemetery into a Veterans Cemetery. This is simply not true. I did insist that the cemetery continue to contain burial sites for those Havelock citizens who did not meet the requirements of a Veterans Cemetery. Mr. Marmarose, (Owner of Forest Oaks) graciously consented to leave rows A, B and C of Section One of the cemetery in perpetuity for the Havelock community. I believe this was the right thing to do and I thank Mr. Marmarose for his generosity. On Nov. 17, 2011, I signed a letter of endorsement for the Forest Oaks Cemetery to become a Veterans Cemetery and that Section One rows A, B, and C be reserved in perpetuity for the Havelock community. This letter is on file at the Havelock City Hall.

As for the relocation of the Trader Store, I support the move as does the Board of Commissioners. This is part of a multi-purpose park in the area of the Tourist and Event Center and Slocum Creek. This proposed development has been publicly discussed many times and has generally been well received by the Havelock citizens. I do not know anything about the $20,000 swamp campground that is referred to in Mrs. DeRoche’s letter. Therefore I cannot comment further.

I can address the proposed park located on Lewis Farm Road between Tucker Creek and Carolina Pines. The city has need for additional outdoor recreation areas. Again this has been discussed publicly many times and is supported by the Board of Commissioners. The land valued at over three-quarters of a million dollars was obtained by the city for about $75,000 from the Coastal Land Trust. This land was once scheduled for residential development and could have encroached Cherry Point. The city has subsequently applied for and tentatively been approved for a $500,000 grant from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). We should know for certain about the status of the grant on or about Aug. 19, 2013. If funded, the park will house additional outdoor recreation areas. There would be the need for one additional park employee. The annual cost to the city of $33,237 would consist of one full-time Park Maintenance Worker to oversee maintenance of this Lewis Farm Road Park, plus MacDonald Downs Playground, Waterfront Park and Arthur Edwards Playground. This information was presented to the Havelock Board of Commissioners on Jan. 14, 2013, at a public meeting. The cost of the new employee was estimated to be needed in fiscal year 2016-2017 if the park is constructed.

As for the statement that I said there would need to be two additional Havelock Police Officers to patrol this proposed park, that is simply false. I did not make those statements and I certainly do not believe they are accurate. The police department has not requested additional employees for this park, nor has the city manager. The current recreation center off of Fontana Boulevard, which will continue to be much larger than the proposed park, has historically rarely seen the need for police presence.

These are the facts. Dislike me if you must, but please keep your attacks to things I actually did.



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