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Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:36

Presnell pulls Maggie Valley de-annexation bill

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Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, has pulled a bill she introduced last month to de-annex a 3.5-acre property from the town of Maggie Valley following pushback from local leaders. 

“I went to each one of the people on the House Government Committee, including the two cosponsors of that bill, and brought them all the information,” said Maggie Valley Mayor Ron DeSimone. “No editorial, no comments about it, just the facts regarding the person and regarding the issue. I think all of them realized they didn’t know all the information, and in light of that information they were not willing to advance that.”

The bill in question would have de-annexed a property that is home to Joe Maniscalco, 77. On the grounds that his steep and narrow road prevented the town from providing the services his property taxes should pay for, Maniscalco has been trying to get his property removed from town limits ever since it was annexed in 2009, one of 130 homes occupying a total 166 acres to be absorbed. 

Last month, however, a lightning fire at Maniscalco’s home necessitated a response from the local fire department, which DeSimone said was accomplished without trouble. 

“The police cars and fire department had no trouble whatsoever getting up there,” DeSimone said. 

DeSimone also said that the town services Maniscalco is not currently receiving are not being given because he requested they be stopped. 

In 2012, the town board voted 3-2 to send a letter to Raleigh expressing support of de-annexation, but no such bill was introduced and the property remained in Maggie Valley. In the interim, a mostly new board was elected, four of whom do not support de-annexation. 

In the mix, too, is an assortment of charges leveled against Maniscalco in 2013, including five misdemeanors and three felonies for presenting falsified papers to support his case for de-annexation. Maniscalco eventually took a plea deal for one consolidated misdemeanor of the four common law uttering charges, a crime that involves knowingly presenting false documents. However, he maintains that he is innocent and took the deal only because mounting a defense would cost far more than the $100 fine he ended up paying. 

According to Presnell, the legal history is irrelevant and the de-annexation should happen. 

“The town has not stepped up to their end of the bargain,” Presnell said in a previous interview with the Smoky Mountain News. “When you annex someone, you have to provide services to them, and if you don’t that’s not fair.”

 Presnell did not return calls requesting comment after pulling the bill. 

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