Boone Says Its Closed-Session Mediation Request Was Rejected, County Ready To Meet in Open Session

Published Friday, April 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm

By Jesse Wood

April 12, 2013. It looks like a meeting between the Watauga County Board of Commissioners and the Boone Town Council won’t happen on Sunday, which was recently mentioned as a possibility between members of both entities to discuss the sale of the old Watauga High School and the potential sales-tax distribution switch, by the commissioners, from per capita to ad valorem, whereby the Town of Boone would lose more than $2 million in revenues. 

Mayor Loretta Clawson just released this statement on Friday afternoon: 

“The Town has received the unwelcome news that the County has rejected their invitation to participate in a mediation to try to resolve the County’s threat to sue the Town. We are very disappointed. Although the County says it is relying on the opinion of the County Attorney, we think it is ironic that mediation in parallel closed sessions was exactly the way the Town and County settled their differences over the landfill when Stacy Eggers, Jr. was County Attorney. The Town disagrees with the County’s legal analysis. We hope the County will reconsider and that the Commissioners will also reconsider their threat of legal action and the change in the sales tax.”

Minutes after this letter was released, County Manager Deron Geouque said that he just forwarded the letter to the Watauga County Board of Commissioners and provided this statement:

“The county stands ready to meet with the Town however, the board of commissioners has legal advice that says it would be inappropriate to meet in closed session for mediation. The Town Attorney has a different view of that. The county did say that we are willing to meet without mediation on Sunday.”

Geouque added that a mediator is more than likely to be present during the proposed Sunday meeting – “so long as the session stays open to the public.” 

See letter from County Attorney Four Eggers to Geouque describing his take on the legalities of the potential closed session meeting between both parties: Four Letter

Check back for more info on this development. 

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