My Turn: The idea of merging Belville and Leland - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: The idea of merging Belville and Leland

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So I go on vacation last week and someone steals my idea. I'm talking about merging the towns of Belville and Leland. It's something I've thought about for some time because I live in that area. I would have already presented my idea in this segment, but I just couldn't come up with a suitable name for the new city. Bel-le-ville just doesn't seem to work for me.

Looking at a map, the best I can tell, Belville is made up of five different parcels of land and it doesn't look like you can travel between any two of them without driving through part of Leland. That's reason enough for most rational people to merge them into one.

I was oh-so-close to sharing my idea with the world. But while I was away last week, the mayor of Belville, Jack Batson, beat me to it. He created quite a stir. Problem is, we learned Batson held private meetings with Leland town leaders to discuss merging the communities. And that has the Belville people in an uproar. Batson didn't do himself any favors shutting his commissioners out of those discussions. Now there's talk of censure and recall.

Well, I'm not too concerned about what happens to Batson. But I sure would hate for this idea to die just because he mishandled my brilliant idea.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, suggest a name for the merged city, or anything else, email me at


Emailed comments from viewers:

Your comments about the merger were right on the money.  As a Belville resident and former commissioner of the town, I never could quite understand the reason to have two towns so close to each other.  It is no surprise to me that the level of professionalism has declined.  During Mayor Batson's first term, his first order of business was to change the town charter so that the Town Manager could be fired.  That was the road to lowering taxes.  That decision provided the forum for the mayor to go unchecked with his behavior which included issuing a censure for his behavior with an employee.  The town also incurred costs to settle that case as well as another case mishandled in the town.  It could be debated how much savings the town actually received from the move to a mayor council form of government.

I find it additional interesting that the board who so diligently campaigned for Batson now feel that he should be recalled.  I served for two years being blindsided by the other board members on numerous issues.  They are just now beginning to reap what they have sowed.

I think it is a disservice to residents outside of Old Town that reside in Belville not to fully explore the merger.  Keeping taxes low and limiting services does not contribute to growth.

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