The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution Monday night to hire a new artistic director for the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre.
In a unanimous vote, the board accepted the JRT Board of Directors’ recommendation to bring Carmen Mandley on board as the theater’s new artistic director, replacing Jonathan McCarter, who left in July after his wife was accepted into law school in the Raleigh, N.C., area.
Mandley, who lives in Ohio, came with a high recommendation from the JRT board. She has spent a number of years in North Carolina, where she created and managed two theater companies, and has years of experience as an artistic director and an education director.
Before the vote, Mayor Kelly Wolfe and the aldermen described how important the theater is to the community of Jonesborough.
“We all want to see the theater thrive. We all want to see the theater succeed. I think that you have a lot of folks in town passionate about it, and I think simply because of that, it’s going to exist whether we’re involved with it or not, but I’m proud that we’re involved with it,” Wolfe said.
Mandley’s experience was something the board lauded during discussions.
“When I read the applicant’s paperwork, her level of experience, her resume, the comments made by people who were called to give their opinions ... were excellent,” alderwoman Mary Gearhart said.
The position of artistic director with the JRT is a contractual employee of the town of Jonesborough. The artistic director is paid $2,000 per month, plus 25 percent of the net profit revenue generated by productions up to a total compensation of $30,000 a year.
Among the board’s other business was the approval of a resolution to create a property tax relief program for elderly or disabled people.
The program was a response to the board’s vote earlier this month to raise the property tax rate by 10 cents, taking it from $1.18 to $1.28.
The tax relief program would benefit anyone age 65 and over who have a household income of less than $26,830 per year.
The state allows local governments to establish a tax relief program that matches the state program as long as the amount of the relief does not exceed the total tax liability. Currently, the amount of tax relief an eligible Jonesborough resident receives from the state is $80.06, based on the first $25,000 of the market value of the house.
The estimated cost of the tax relief program is about $6,400 per year, but since the number of applicants isn’t yet known, the board is expecting the cost to come in at about $8,000 per year.
In other business, the board:
n Approved the initiation of a water loss reduction project that would see both the construction and replacement of several city water lines.
n Approved the acceptance of a rural development grant/loan, which includes $3,270,000 of loan funds at a fixed rate of 3.25 percent over 38 years, as part of the improvements to the wastewater treatment plant. The board also approved the resolution not to exceed the $3,270,000 in loan funds.