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Editorial: Let the manager’s home stay in county

Mocksville town board members are considering annexing a residential lot about a half mile from the current town limits.

It’s a bad idea.

Sure, it’s the town manager’s home. But it’s an unnecessary move and it sets a bad precedent.

Towns have been stripped of the right to unwanted annexation, and it’s rare — really rare — for a single residential property owner to ask to be in a town. It’s even rarer for neighbors of that property to be pleased about the idea.

What does it mean? About the only change, if there’s a crime at that house it would fall under the jurisdiction of the Mocksville Police Department.

It’s understandable that town board members want their manager to be a resident of their town. If you’re the Mocksville town manager, you should live in Mocksville, right? But Mocksville hasn’t always required managers to live in town. Christine Bralley held the job for years, and lived farther from the city limits than current manager Matt Settlemyer. And if there’s an emergency that would require Settlemyer to be at the town hall, he could get there faster from his current non-city home than he could from some homes that are in the town limits.

When Settlemyer first took the job in Mocksville, he lived in a garage apartment, then in a hotel room, while he was looking for a permanent home he could enjoy with his family. He found that home on U.S. 64 West just beyond Madison Road.

Although Settlemyer says the decision to request an annexation is his, does he really want that house to be a part of the city limits? Do the town board members really want that house to be a part of the city limits? If it’s in his contract that he live in town, change the contract. It’s worth it to have a city manager you want on the job for years to come. He didn’t buy a house in Fork or Cooleemee or Bermuda Run, after all. He bought a house in Mocksville. Mocksville is his home now. He’s not even far enough out of town to be considered part of a different community, such as Center, which is the next one down the road. For the record, via zip code, Center is Mocksville, too.

It’s a far-fetched idea, but board members when making this decision should ask themselves: Would I approve annexation of this property if it was from someone else? If there answer is no, the annexation should be stopped right there. What if someone, for whatever reason in any direction out of town, asked to be annexed? You get the picture.

We’re not faulting Settlemyer here. He’s doing the best he can to house his family in a home they can afford and enjoy. He should be allowed to stay right where he is, without being annexed.

After all, if he stays here long enough, the city limits may eventually creep that way.

Mike Barnhardt is editor of the Davie County Enterprise-Record.

Respect Quote of the Week

“When you feel respected, you feel better about yourself. It makes you want to do better and makes other people feel better. I respect others by offering my assistance to people.”

— Hunter Poteat