Council agenda includes Turnage

Published 7:23 pm Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Turnage Theater, which closed Dec. 17, 2011, will be sold at public auction on the steps of the Beaufort County Courthouse on Nov. 5. The Washington City Council is considering options to possibly purchase the facility. (WDN File Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

Washington’s City Council on Monday is expected to discuss the possible purchase of the Turnage Theater property “for the potential use of the arts,” according to the council’s tentative agenda.
That discussion would be held in a closed session that is allowed under the state’s open-meetings law. The potential acquisition of property is one of the exemptions allowed under that law.
The council usually conducts closed sessions, if needed, at the end of its meetings.
The property is set for public auction on the Beaufort County Courthouse steps at 2 p.m. Nov. 5.
At a meeting late last month at which the fate of the Turnage Theater was discussed, Mayor Archie Jennings said the city does not yet have an official position on the sale of the Turnage Theater. At that meeting, representatives from the city, Beaufort County government, the Beaufort County Arts Council, Washington Harbor District Alliance, the Turnage Theaters Foundation and interested residents met at Brown Library to explore the most viable option to gain ownership of the property. The resulting discussion considered public ownership, private ownership or some public-private ownership of the Turnage Theater.
The Turnage Theater closed in December 2011 when its debt prevented further operations.
During a five-year period, the city gave the Turnage Theater $100,000 a year. That deal ended June 30, 2011. For the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the city provided the Turnage Theater with $30,000 — $22,000 in a direct contribution and the return of $8,000 in property taxes.
With that $30,000 allocation, the city also sent a message to the Turnage Theater — no more city money in subsequent fiscal years.
In other items expected to be taken up by the council Monday, there’s a proposed amendment to a capital project that would re-allocate $50,000 for a drainage-improvement project at Iron Creek subdivision.
During its Sept. 24 meeting, the council instructed City Manager Josh Kay and city staff to prepare a plan to “muck out” a ditch that’s part of the flooding problem and present a proposed budget for the project to the council at its Monday meeting.
“This amount ($50,000) should cover the expense related to mucking out the bottom of the ditch that runs parallel with Ore Court, crosses Ore Drive to a point approximately 325 feet west of Ore Drive towards Mitchell’s Branch. This is the limit of work that can be done without a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). We are in the
process of getting prices for this work and will award the work as soon as possible as long as it does not exceed the budgeted amount,” reads a memorandum from Public Works Director Allen Lewis to the council and Mayor Archie Jennings.
For about 10 years, Iron Creek residents have complained about flooding issues after heavy rains.
The Washington City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s website at, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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