Renée Castiglione


Previous Places You Called Home:

Kenilworth NJ; Tallahassee Florida; Hollywood, Boca Raton and Weston Florida; Beech Mountain


Schooling:

Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, Florida State University, 1981
While employed at NCCI, I began classes for an MBA, but due to family health issues I could not continue.


Previous Employment:

Various organizations for graphic design: National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), Boca Raton, Florida: Manager of Information Publishing 1986 - 2001
Fred’s General Mercantile—part-time 2001 – 2013 Holiday Beech Villas, Property Manager—2005 - present


Beech Mountain Affiliations (Club, Ski Patrol, Fire Department, etc.):

I was a member of the Beech Mountain Fire Department for several years. I received my Firefighter 2 and EMT Basic certifications. As a member of Council, I am a member of the High Country Council of Government which represents 7 counties in the High Country. I volunteer to be a Red Cross Volunteer and before joining the Council, I served on and was the first Chairperson of the Town’s Tree Committee. I also served on the Board of Adjustment.


Why do you live on Beech Mountain? What are your favorite places/aspects?

I live here because there is no better place to live. The weather for all seasons, the small-town sense of community, the people, and the wildlife.

I love Fred’s (but, who doesn’t)
I love being home surrounded by woods, singing birds, hooting owls, and all the other little critters.

I’m happy that the Rec Center is so close, and I work out there three times a week.


What is your vision for Beech Mountain?

No community can exist without growing and changing. Beech Mountain is attracting young families who are choosing to live and work here. That changes some of the dynamics of Beech. We’ve become an outdoor destination, and I think that is being embraced by many. We need to stay on that path to attract new folks to our home. These folks are the next generation that will become the keepers of Beech Mountain. With that said our quality of life must be protected to keep our community environmentally safe so that our piece of heaven remains the same.


Why should voters elect you to Town Council?

I have successfully represented Beech Mountain for 4 years. I represent Beech Mountain on the High County Council of Governments (COG). Through the COG I have developed a line of communication with local, state and federal elected officials and agencies. I listen to different views and then decide. I believe that compromise is very important. I attend and volunteer at community events and speak with residents and visitors alike. I’m always open for a discussion and have made myself available. I attend all committee meetings, so I know what’s happening and what’s being planned for Beech Mountain. When items are brought to the Council it is not the first time I’ve heard it. I do my research.


What top three significant issues do you see Beech Mountain facing and what is your solution to those issues?

Water: The emptying of Buckeye Lake during our 2018 water crisis taught us what it would be like if we have a drought. The proposed Water Intake project from the Watauga River is the best option, but it’s also the most expensive and the most political. I voted to dig three wells in locations that geologists have recommended. If we get a good water flow from these wells, that could possibly be the solution for our water supply. If not then we must take the Watauga River Water Intake project option, which involves going to the Boone Commissioners for approval. This is where the politics comes in. There are those outside our community that don’t want us to tap into the Watauga River and it will be a battle to get that approval. It may be our only option, but we must fight for that right, and I am willing to face that challenge. My professional working relationship with other legislatures will be a benefit.

Roads: Well-maintained roads is an important issue. Potholes and culverts are an example of problems affecting our roads. Potholes should be filled/paved in a timely manner.

Damaged culverts cause road erosion during heavy rains. These culverts whether Town or privately owned must be repaired. Privately owned culverts are those under driveways which have become crushed and clogged. Rainwater is diverted from the clogged culverts then flows onto roads and leads to erosion. We must make a concerted effort to have all these culverts repaired.

Part of the road initiative would be to get Buckeye Creek Road paved. In our budget we have set aside $500,000 for the paving of this road, and in each budget thereafter I would recommend setting aside an equal amount until we have the $2.7 million dollars to have it paved. 

Water/Sewer Line Replacement: We are replacing miles of our water and sewer lines. Our water leakage comes from the joints where pipes are attached. For years work has been done on replacing these pipes. In the last 4 years we’ve replace over 2 miles of transmission line and are scheduled to replace two and a half miles of water and sewer lines in the Charter Hills and the Overbrook Trail areas. Many of our fire hydrants are connected to 2-inch lines, which makes them inefficient. Included in this initiative is to add more working fire hydrants in the area by increasing the size of the water lines. It is very expensive and by state statute must be funded by the Water/Sewer Utilities and not by the property taxes. That is why we have seen an increase in our utility bills. This initiative must continue if we are to have a viable water/sewer infrastructure.

 


What thoughts do you have, if any, to improve the appearance of the Town (e.g. roads, clubhouse, public areas, entrance to Town, etc.)?

Currently, the Town employees cannot go on private property and remove trees or fallen branches. In conjunction with property owners, perhaps we can clean up this debris on a regular basis, so our road boundaries look clean and, most importantly, it reduces the fire hazard of having this brush on the ground.

The Streetscape plan is a great idea and that initiative should continue. It’s very expensive, but if we do it in phases, with grants from the Department of Transportation, it would be a wonderful addition to our commercial corridor, allowing folks to walk safely along our road.

The first impression coming into Beech Mountain is most important. The original Beech Mountain sign by the sledding hill—that has been refurbished—and all the flowers that Susie does, and now with new signs and painted buildings, I believe that it gives off a bright and happy image of our Town. I would love if we could eventually have all those beautiful flowers and creativity throughout our Town.


If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Since the Town has already allotted $500,000 toward the paving of Buckeye Road and will set aside $250,000 each year in the budget, I would apply that $1 million with the monies already allotted and get the balance from the working budget and pave Buckeye Creek Road.


How will you be responsive to citizens and to support and improve citizen involvement in city government?

I have already done this while on the Council. I am available at Fred’s on Sunday mornings; I answer all emails and phone calls in an extremely timely manner. I attend or volunteer at different events, so I get a chance to speak to different folks. I try to get new residents, whether full- or part-time, to volunteer on our different Committees so they may become involved in a Municipality process.


Additional comments or concerns:

A Council must be a functional body of Government. It is good to have differing opinions, discussions on those opinions and vote on the issues, all for what’s best for our community. Having five individuals, with differing ideas, a Council member must be willing to compromise, but move on once the decision is made. There are a lot of important issues facing this town, and one cannot linger on a decision that didn’t go one’s way. We must act as a cohesive group understanding we all have the best interest of our town in mind.