Two-Part Resolution requires explanation

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EASTERN NC – Any attempt to regulate ‘navigable waters’ in this part of the state can be a sticky wicket. Four towns – New Bern, Bridgeton, Oriental, and Trent Woods – learned that the hard way this week!

Monday night, the Pamlico County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a two-part Resolution: A) The commission expressed disapproval of proposed state legislation (Senate Bill 279); while, B) endorsing another piece of proposed state legislation (House Bill 161).

Neither bill has yet to be approved by the General Assembly. 

The state Senate bill has a hyper-local focus, allowing the four towns – and only those four towns – more leeway to deal with “abandoned and derelict vessels” inside their town limits and in any extraterritorial jurisdiction, commonly known as an ETJ. 

No one disputes the problem of vessels stuck in waterways – a centuries-old headache. However, elected county officials are not big fans of ETJs –  funky legal creations (sort of a no-man’s land) where towns can flex their muscles, even though counties have jurisdiction. 

The state House bill seems to be a better bet. It applies to the entire state, creates a special fund to pay for vessel extractions, and would be administered by one or more state agencies –  thus eliminating all that county/town friction!