Roanoke Rapids City Council met to discuss the Brandy Creek taxation situation tonight, but are planning a careful approach.
Residents of Brandy Creek and Wallace Fork, areas annexed into the city of Roanoke Rapids by an act of the North Carolina General Assembly in 2005, sent a letter to City Attorney Gilbert Chichester three months ago asking for tax refunds. Annexation led to dramatic increases in property taxes for residents of those communities, and earlier this month, they appealed publicly to the Halifax County Board of Commissioners to refund the money.
The city de-annexed the area in March.
As city leaders work with county leaders to decide how to address the situation, city Mayor Emery Doughtie is hoping to have the issue resolved sooner rather than later.
"A decision needs to be made," Doughtie, who was a proponent of de-annexing the area, said. "We are in a position to make a decision that will affect those people."
Doughtie, however, is not anticipating any decisions will be made on the issue until the county commissioners have time to discuss it amongst themselves and council members have time as well.
"We don't really like to make decisions until we have had a chance to discuss it," Doughtie said.
Halifax County Attorney Glynn Rollins was present, along with Chichester, tonight when members of council discussed the issue in closed session.
Also at the meeting:
-Council members, at the request of Interim City Manager Ed Wyatt, changed the city's personnel policy to allow for the payment of time and a half wages or hour-for-hour compensatory time for city department heads who work during times of emergency. The move will allow the city to obtain reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for overtime wages for city workers, including management personnel, who worked during recovery from Hurricane Irene.
-Roanoke Avenue Business Alliance Main Street Director Lance Jenkins said 10 buildings in the district will be getting design plans from Lauren Malinoff, a designer with the state Main Street office. Jenkins is hoping these plans lead to greater revitalization of the Roanoke Avenue business district.
City Council is next scheduled to meet at 5:15 p.m. Feb. 7 for its monthly work session at City Hall.