Barth named Columbus town manager

Published 11:58 pm Monday, October 20, 2014

By Claire Sachse

Tim Barth, who has been serving as Columbus’ part-time interim town manager since June, was named permanent town manager at the Oct. 16 town council meeting. He will assume his full-time duties Nov. 1.

According to the employment agreement between the town and Barth, his annual salary will be $58,999.98. He will have six-month severance pay in case of termination of employment, and will be evaluated on a yearly basis.

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The town will pay for civic and professional memberships, the costs associated with attending professional development events, and a cell phone.

Currently, Barth resides in Waynesville, N.C. The town of Columbus will pay his relocation expenses up to $3,000. Additionally, Columbus will fund a $250 monthly vehicle allowance until he relocates to Polk County and the town provides him with a vehicle.

Water, sewer and business community issues are on Barth’s day-to-day agenda, but he said Thursday that he will learn early next year at the board’s work session about the council’s broad vision for the town.

The town’s water and sewer systems are “in good shape,” according to Barth.

“We have excess capacity for water, and sewer treating is not an issue. With the wastewater system improvements there should never be a time when it’s unable to treat the wastewater,” said Barth.

The town has applied for a technical assistance grant to study ways to improve well water storage capacity in the future. In the long term, Barth said the town will need additional water storage.

Barth said that the Tryon International Equestrian resort will have an impact on the town and the business community, and the town needs to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities the resort presents.

Barth said that he will start at the Chamber of Commerce and then go door-to-door to business owners to ask, “How can we help business succeed?”

He also sees opportunities arising for the town and Polk County to partner for the good of both, such as with a recent proposal from the county’s Appearance Commission for landscape beautification on Courthouse Street.

“Columbus has small town charm that is not captured by all towns. I also see potential for growth, but maintaining that small town charm is important for the community and will draw people here for years to come if it can be maintained,” said Barth.

Columbus has an annual budget of $2 million, and 17 employees, according to Barth.

Barth has a master of public administration degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to Columbus, he served as town manager in Burgaw for five years, Spindale for 11 years, and Maggie Valley for eight years.

“I have always thought that local government is where you can have the biggest impact on the quality of life in a community. That’s what led me to this field,” said Barth.

Barth, 54, and his wife Robin, have a son who is a N.C. State graduate and a daughter who attends UNC – Chapel Hill.

Barth was selected for the position from more than 40 applicants, and the council’s decision was unanimous, according to Mayor Eric McIntyre.