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New Hanover County commissioners divided on Scalise's parking-deck fees and 'newcomer school' resolutions

At last night's meeting, New Hanover County Commissioner Dane Scalise brought back two resolutions he'd suggested last month: one to waive parking deck fees, and one to keep Mosley open and oppose newcomer schools.

Scalise’s rationale behind waiving fees at the county-owned parking deck was to support local businesses and attract visitors to downtown during the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge preservation work. Staff reported the cost would "not be material" to the county budget, about $70,000.

Board of Commissioners Chair Bill Rivenbark seconded the motion, but it was defeated in a 3-2 vote.

Related: Commissioner Dane Scalise asked county leaders to oppose a 'newcomer' school. Here's a little context

The potential closing of the career readiness program at Mosley was a hot-button issue for the community. However, the administration has since recanted its earlier decision and announced its intention to keep the program open for another year.

Scalise and other GOP members have described newcomer schools as “refugee facilities”, which would be supported by resident taxpayer dollars.

Commissioner Rob Zapple pushed back on this description, noting that he’d spoken to staff in other parts of the state who work with newcomer schools, and said that was a mischaracterization. Chairman Bill Rivenbark chimed in that regardless of what the school actually is, taxes will need to be raised.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield mentioned that in his many years, he’d seen no direct correlation between adding new school programs and forcing taxes to go up. Though Barfield clearly had concerns about his vote, technically his vote appeared to have counted towards a 4-1 vote, where the resolution passed with Zapple dissenting.

[Correction and disclosure notice: This article has been updated to clarify the vote on the issues at hand; additionally, Zapple is a member of WHQR's Board of Directors, which has no role in editorial decisions.]

Camille hails from Long Island, NY and graduated from Boston University with a BS in Journalism and double minors in Classical Civilizations and Philosophy. Her story focus revolves her deep care for children, young adults and mental health. You can reach her at cmojica@whqr.org.