While Dillsboro leaders claim the idea of merging Sylva is in its mere infancy, opinions on the issue are already swirling in the small town.
Several Dillsboro residents interviewed around town last week said they are opposed to the merger. A top concern is higher property taxes.
“I’d like to see the autonomy of Dillsboro remain,” said resident Robert Stevens. “Right now we determine our own taxes.”
Stevens doesn’t think Dillsboro wouldn’t benefit from a merger. One of the only tangible services is patrol by the Sylva police department. But Stevens said the town is already well-served by the county sheriff’s office, which can get to Dillsboro just as fast as the police department, said Stevens.
And Jill Cooper, owner of Haircuts By Jill in Dillsboro, also opposes the merger.
“I think I like Dillsboro the way it is because it has its own identity and uniqueness,” Cooper said. Cooper moved here from Eastern North Carolina, where she said people all over know about Dillsboro.
While Cooper has lived in Dillsboro only three years, she monitors the pulse of the town through her customers. Many of them are older residents opposed to the town being absorbed by Sylva.
Some interviewed around town though are indifferent to Dillsboro becoming a part of Sylva.
Sylva resident Ted Kay said it doesn’t matter to him either.
“It wouldn’t make any difference to me,” he said.
He said he supports whatever it takes to help Dillsboro survive, adding that Dillsboro probably has trouble generating enough revenue on its own.
However, Kay said it would probably be a burden for Sylva if Dillsboro became part of the city.
It may be a good idea if Dillsboro dissolved as a town and became part of the county, said Dillsboro resident John Clark. Clark said as a resident he isn’t getting anything in return for his taxes anyway, including no garbage pickup or police service, and it would drop the taxes if Dillsboro was part of the county.