Taxpayer money used to convince planning board

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Brunswick County leaders are using taxpayer dollars to convince the county's Planning Board that a landfill expansion will be in harmony with its surrounding area.

Members of the Royal Oaks Concerned Citizens Association (ROCCA) are convinced that a construction and demolition landfill in their community will negatively affect their quality of life.

Six months and three quasi-judicial hearings later Brunswick County's Planning Board continues to listen to testimony from witnesses.

Some of those witnesses are out-of-state experts called by the county's legal counsel. The price of their statements is not as costly as that of the members of ROCCA.

An acoustics expert from Florida charges $195 per hour, which totaled nearly $2,000 for his appearance at the first hearing in October.

That money does not include the $3,000 he collected for travel expenses, like airfare and rental cars. Add in another $2,000 for the cost of the actual travel time to and from Orlando and one visit from this consultant for the cost of $7,000.

The county's legal team from Park Poe Adams and Bernstein is in charge of the consultants. Since June, the attorney's have billed the county for 330 hours of work at an average rate of $330 per hour, totaling $109,000.

These numbers include legal expenses through November. is waiting for receipts from December and January, when two more hearings were held.

County commissioners have approved up to $200,000 to be spent on legal counsel. As a capital investment project, the landfill expansion project is expected to recuperate any taxpayer money through a tipping fee.

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