It won’t be like the shootout at the O.K. Corral and it won’t be like singing "Kumbaya" around the bonfire, but what Craven County and Havelock officials hope to do next week is at least talk to each other.
"I hope that we can have some open dialogue," said Havelock Mayor Jimmy Sanders, who will attend the meeting. "A lot of times without the glare of the light you can sit and talk and be a little more candid with one another about what our expectations are and hopefully we can come together a little more than what we currently are."
Havelock City Manager Jim Freeman said the press and the public aren’t invited to the meeting Monday at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center. He said the city and county boards of commissioners would not have quorums, meaning the meeting is not subject to open meetings laws.
However, the meeting does have an agenda, which is wide-ranging and in many cases addresses who is going to pay for what.
Among the issues to be discussed is the congregate meals program that the county cut at the Havelock and Godette senior centers and new computers for the Havelock library, a plan for which calls for the purchase of a Linux computer system for all county libraries.
"I’m for doing the best I can for the senior meals and I’m also for providing money for new computers for the library," said Craven County Commissioner Theron McCabe, who is scheduled to attend the meeting. "It’s a good thing that the city and the county commissioners can get along to discuss some of these issues."
McCabe, who represents eastern Craven County and parts of Havelock on the Craven County Board of Commissioners, said he wasn’t optimistic about the meeting but thought a dialogue between Havelock and the county was a good thing.
Havelock officials are expected to address recreation costs, saying an estimated 40 percent of people using city-paid programs are actually Craven County residents, not Havelock residents.
Havelock officials are also concerned about funding for Havelock rescue and ambulances, which serve eastern Craven County to include the Adams Creek and Harlowe areas to Carolina Pines, Stately Pines and Catfish Lake Road outside the city limits.
Funding for school resource officers that are provided by the Havelock Police Department is also expected to be addressed.
Havelock officials plan to seek county funds for a one-time courtroom security measure that will be required in the construction of the new Havelock City Hall, where the meeting hall is used as a county courtroom twice per month.
Havelock officials also believe that they are not getting a fair share of Tourist Development Authority funding for the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.
Ownership of the defunct 34-acre Phoenix Recycling site will be discussed. The site is in the county, yet Havelock officials have spearheaded an effort to clean up the area, which is located near Tucker Creek Middle School. More than a decade’s worth of back taxes are owed on the property, yet the county has declined to foreclose for fear of being liable for cleanup costs, estimated to be as high as $7 million.
The two sets of officials will also be considering the transfer of between 50 and 200 county water customers over to the Havelock water system.
Sanders has asked that the county’s electronics recycling program policy be discussed. Currently, Havelock collects old televisions and computers, but the county has refused to accept them. The program costs the city about $16,900.