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‘If We Sold Tickets, We Could Have Paid for our Underground Utilities’ Blowing Rock Mayor Charlie Sellers States at City Council Meeting

By Kris Testori

Blowing Rock residents packed city council chambers, taking advantage of the public comments session to express their opinions on the Underground Utilities Project in Blowing Rock. The Town of Blowing Rock was considering burying the electrical and communication lines along Main Street in conjunction with the water and sewer line replacement.

The council voted 3-2 to reject the proposal. With votes against the resolution by Mayor Pro-Tem Doug Matheson, Councilman Albert Yount, and Councilwoman Melissa Pickett. Councilman David Harwood and Councilman Pete Gherini voted in favor of the proposal. 

The first person to speak during the public comments portion of the meeting was Mayor Charlie Sellers. Sellers concluded his comments asking those in attendance, “I am asking you, let’s get back to one Blowing Rock, okay? If we’d sold tickets, we could have paid for our underground utilities. 

Eleven residents took the stand to speak in favor of the project during the three-minute public comments session. Four spoke in opposition. Resident Janie Sellers, speaking in opposition, said, “I urge counsel not to be swayed by the once in a lifetime argument and to vote no on moving ahead now with the underground utilities.”

Resident Mike Quinto spoke in favor of the project. He addressed the crowd, stating, “I am going to give you all two numbers, this is real quick. Real easy. Two numbers. $225. Does anyone know what that is? That is the cost of a 3 cent tax increase, annually. $18,000. Does anyone know what that is or pay that bill? That is your annual cost of being a member of the country club. We’ve got millionaires and billionaires complaining about pennies. It’s ridiculous.”

The meeting ended with council members thanking City Manager Shane Fox for his service. Fox resigned in April.