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LUMINA NEWS YOUR COASTAL COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SINCE MAY 2002 April 10–16, 2014 Source: National Weather Service Two seeking reelection in sheriff race Volume 13 | Issue 15 | 25¢ Azalea Festival blooms Documentary honors, inspires Page B1 Page B2 By Kelly Corbett Staff Writer Staff photo by Allison Potter The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen spent the majority of the more than four hours of budget workshops on Monday, April 7 and Tuesday, April 8, asking department heads to clarify 2014-15 budget line items and costs to begin the budgeting process. The budget includes some loftier long-term items in the Capital Improvement Program list, like a new town hall facility that would cost $2.5 million throughout 125 years. Town manager Tim Owens said he has not attempted to balance the budget or cut expenses. Items were presented as outlined by department heads, but with a subsequent list of budget balancing options. Since the budget has not been balanced, there are currently more than $1 million estimated shortfalls in both the general fund and water and sewer fund, with total revenues at about $12.6 million compared to $15 million in expenditures. The board could choose to eliminate budget balancing options, like the $5,000 Carolina Beach dredging contribution, employee pay raises or the new town hall facility. One factor that could impact the budget significantly is if New Hanover County increases the solid waste tipping fee. Those contracted services at the current rate of $59 per ton for the county incinerator would cost the town an estimated $295,000. With a projected $350,000 increase in parking meter revenue and Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens leads a budget workshop with the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, April 8. n See BOA Page A5 Staff Writer n See SHERIFF Page A5 Page C1 BOA digs into department budget line items By Miriah Hamrick The race for New Hanover County’s next sheriff features not one but two candidates running for reelection. Sheriff Ed McMahon is running for reelection against his predecessor, Sid Causey, who endorsed McMahon as his replacement after retiring in 2009. “I love this county [and] I hate to see it in the shape it is in now. It’s poor, weak leadership in the sheriff’s office,” Causey said during an April 7 phone interview. One problem Causey observed was the elimination of a gang task force funded by a grant the county received one year before his retirement. “Doing research, I found out the unit had been disbanded and here we are. Gang this, gang that, gang shootings, gang murders,” Causey said. He said he would reinstate the program if elected. Causey said reports that most deputies had not received a raise since he left office also disturbed him, so he requested payroll from the last four and one-half years. “I found out that some of [McMahon’s] staff, particularly his friends, were getting large, large raises,” Causey said. Causey is worried that many deputies will leave the sheriff’s office. He said training replacements would cost the county millions of dollars. McMahon said it is hard to not take Causey’s decision to run against him personally. “He selected me to senior staff, to be the next sheriff. He stood beside me. … Then all of a sudden, I’m not the one and it was a big mistake,” McMahon said Zest for zero “We’re not addressing the capital with the revenue we’re generating.” New commercial lot creates controversy By Kelly Corbett Staff Writer The new commercial lot being constructed behind the Southern Regional Office of the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s building within the town municipal complex is sparking concerns from groups within town. Two neighboring properties, including the federation and the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, have expressed concerns about what the lot could mean for public safety, especially for the many children frequenting the area. The Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee members are questioning why town staff’s concerns Gun violence for the dog park proposed for the same location do not also apply to the new commercial lot. Many of those concerned were unsure of the details, including when the decision was finalized. The lot, which will feature slightly more than 40 spaces generating more than $10,000 in revenue, was approved Tuesday, March 25, during a continued Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen meeting along with a host of other parking changes. The neighboring properties were not officially notified, but the decision was made during a public meeting. Mayor Bill Blair said board members would revisit the lot’s n See LOT Page A5 Staff photo by Cole Dittmer Construction has begun on a new commercial parking lot behind the N.C. Coastal Federation’s Southern Regional Office. Coverage gap leaves thousands uninsured report released By Miriah Hamrick Staff Writer Staff photo by Allison Potter A group of North Carolinians still uninsured following the March 31 deadline for Affordable Care Act enrollment is part of a problem spurring health providers and state legislators to consider a Medicaid reform proposal. Tax subsidies enabled many uninsured individuals to afford Marketplace coverage during the enrollment period. In North Carolina, 91 percent of the 200,546 individuals who selected a plan by March 1 received financial assistance. Individuals with incomes too low to qualify for financial assistance and too high to qualify for Medicaid remained uninsured, Kevie Wilkins, outreach enrollment specialist with MedNorth Health Center, talks to Deborah Tracy about her position in the health insurance coverage gap. n See COVERAGE Page A5 By Cole Dittmer Staff Writer The results of seven community meetings focused on reducing youth gun violence in Wilmington were published by the City of Wilmington on April 1 in the format of a report offering recommendations. Held at various community centers from November 2013 to February 2014, the meetings were designed to start a discussion about the increasing youth gun violence levels in the city, said Linda Rawley, Wilmington Police Department public information officer. “We received such an influx of gang violence that we knew we needed to respond quickly and begin looking at this,” Rawley said during a Tuesday, April 8 phone interview. “The discussions helped us to realize the state of affairs of our young people and it also helped to shed light on some of the programs we have that are working and the need for additional programs.” Key observations from the discussions outlined in the report included the need for an effective pre-kindergarten through n See GUN Page A5 Police Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ­­For the record . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lifestyles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sports/Marine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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