Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Podcast Dec. 8 – Carolina Beach official gets rowdy on Facebook, Brunswick shakeups, New Hanover’s commissioners mix it up

We start with week with a look at Carolina Beach’s financial situation. With a dwindling savings account, and several ongoing capital projects, the town hasn’t raised taxes — this presents the issue of how, exactly, the town will stay financially solvent.

After Port City Daily reported that the town was in “dire financial straits,” several town officials protested, taking to Facebook to voice their discontent. Things got ugly, with the head of the planning and zoning commission resorting to profane ad-hominem attacks on a reporter.

Keith Bloemendaal, chairman of Carolina Beach's Planning and Zoning Commission, took to Facebook to air his grievances, in no uncertain terms, over a recent headline. (Port City Daily photo / Staff image)
Keith Bloemendaal, chairman of Carolina Beach’s Planning and Zoning Commission, took to Facebook to air his grievances, in no uncertain terms, over a recent headline. (Port City Daily photo / Staff image)

Then, things got stranger, when two members of the board claimed that were not, in fact, government officials but volunteers; this is not the case, as both Mayor Joe Benson and acting Town Manager Ed Parvin confirmed the board members are government officials.

In other beach-town news, we wrap up the recent battle of food trucks in Surf City.

Then, we look at a number of police department shake-ups in Brunswick County. Most notably, the top two law enforcement officers in Oak Island both recently resigned abruptly and without explanation — only to take serious pay-cuts; former Oak Island Police Chief Greg Jordan had his salary cut in half, and his rank dropped to patrolman.

While Oak Island’s attorney has stated this was not related to the child pornography investigation into Justin Brochure, son of Mayor Cin Brochure, there are still a number of unanswered questions about the resignations. (You can read more about the Oak Island issue here.)

Finally, a look at what the new Democratic-majority New Hanover County Board of Commissioners was up to in its first week. Jonathan  Barfield was unanimously voted in as the new chairman, but an unexpected move undercut his nomination of Rob Zapple as vice-chair. During the same meeting, an application for a self-storage project won over Barfield — who had voted it down in the past — by offering a fake facade, that would appear like office space, apparently soothing Barfield’s concerns over the project’s aesthetics.

If you missed any of these stories you can catch up below, then take a deeper dive with our weekly podcast. You can find all our Brews and Bites stories here.

Carolina Beach is in dire financial straits. Here’s how it got there

Mayor of Carolina Beach responds to concerns about town finances

Surf City will allow food trucks with restrictions, displeasing some residents on both sides of issue

Pay cuts, rank reductions, and new positions: Breaking down Brunswick County’s police shake-ups

County Commissioners approve mini-storage warehouse on North College, after voting against it in the past

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