The current district-based composition of the Watauga County Commission was passed in a public referendum on March 22, 1975, a vote which also increased the size of the commission from three to five members.
The resolution passed by the sitting commissioners at the time of that vote included this proviso:
...that the structure of the Board of County Commissioners be altered as follows: ... (4) that the county be divided into five districts with the members residing in and representing the districts according to the following appointment plan [5 commissioner districts divided by precincts]....The actual ballot referendum language that citizens voted “yes” or “no” on included this sentence: “Members of the board shall reside in and represent the districts according to the ... appointment plan....”
Stacy Eggers IV (“Four”) told the County Board of Elections, which he sits on as the Republican member, that the language of the statute applies only to the moment that the commissioner is elected. How Mr. Eggers, who also serves Chair Nathan Miller as county attorney, gets to that interpretation, from language that says explicitly “shall reside in,” may have something to do with both his partisan interests as well as his paycheck.
“Shall reside in.” Not “shall reside in at the time of his/her election.” Not “may reside in.” “Shall reside in.”
I don’t see any room for interpretation there. It’s what the voters voted for in March 1975. It’s not what the voters are getting, especially the residents of District 5.