Boykins mayor says headline was misleading

Published 9:30 am Saturday, July 14, 2012

To the Editor:

This letter is to reference the May 20, 2012, front-page headline, stating “Boykins mayor proposes killing land-use tax break on timberland.”

That headline was very misleading — my comments never indicated that the county should do away with the timberland-use program nor did any other mayor make that statement.

What I and the other five mayors suggested was that the Board of Supervisors look at modifying the timberland-use program with the stipulation that only citizens who reside in the county would be eligible to participate in the program and non-residents and out-of-state timber companies would not be eligible for the program.

We did not know if it would be legal to make the modification that would require residency status, but we wanted the Board of Supervisors to look into that possibility.

I also stated at the public hearing held at Southampton High School that there were other things the Board of Supervisors needed to look into, including modifying the timber land-use program to balance the budget.

The purpose of the interview with the editor was to let the public know about the special meeting that was called for all six mayors to discuss the $200 trash disposal fee. There was a unanimous agreement that all towns opposed the fee.

The reason for our opposition is that in 1984 and 1985 all of the incorporated towns in the county were asked by the Board of Supervisors to preempt a consumer utility tax so that the county could impose such a tax.

All six of the towns passed resolutions and presented them to the county as requested. The county stated that it would pay for the towns’ disposal of their trash.

I also spoke before Supervisors at their meeting on June 25, asking them to meet with all the mayors to discuss the resolution and possible solutions. The board agreed to meet with the mayors following the conclusion of the business on the agenda at the Board of Supervisors meeting on July 23.

That discussion will be open to all citizens.

Whatever the outcome of that meeting, the mayors of Southampton County have agreed they should meet monthly to discuss town issues and other topics that might affect our towns in an effort to help protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens.

Based on the responses that I and others have received from the incorrect headline, we feel it is important that the record be set straight and citizens be made aware that we did not propose killing the tax break on timberland for everyone.

R. Spier Edwards Jr.
Boykins Mayor