BELVILLE, NC (WWAY) — Controversy stirs up again in Belville. Town commissioners have called a special meeting Friday night to discuss censuring Mayor Jack Batson and a potential recall election.
Batson says it’s partially a personal attack.
“He told me he was going to get even with me so I guess this is part of his challenge to get even with me,” Batson said.
It’s become a war of words between Batson and Commissioner Joe Breault.
“I think he’s just blowing smoke, period,” Breault said. I don’t trust the man. He’s betrayed us totally. The United States had Benedict Arnold. Belville’s got Jack Batson.”
This isn’t a new battle between the mayor and board members. Last fall, commissioners unanimously censured Batson for an alleged relationship with a town employee. Earlier this year, Batson had Breault arrested for allegedly threatening the mayor in an email. The most recent battle sparked when the two were part of a heated meeting last Thursday, where commissioners and residents voiced strong opposition against Batson’s study of a merger with Leland.
Batson says he was simply trying to give the facts to the people.
“That’s all we really wanted to do was to give the presentation,” Batson said. It’s not a pro-merger or anti-merger. It’s just this is the tax rates part of it and these are some of the things that you get from it.”
But Breault said Batson was part of secret meetings where decisions were made without commissioners’ knowledge.
“Having secret meetings where you make decisions is against the law. You don’t have a fact finding meeting and come up with a 74-page presentation,” Breault said.
Batson says his efforts have been to look at the benefits of the merger, which he says could be cost-effective and give residents the services they want.
On the other side, Breault says there have been rumors of it being a deal for a land grab.
“What we’ve heard is there is some sort of a back-door deal going on between certain developers here in Leland.” Breault said.
Friday’s meeting starts at 7:00 pm at Belville Town Hall. The board will also look at revising the town’s business and personal policies.