Welcome to the Town of Gamewell

The Town of Gamewell is located in Caldwell County and positioned midway between Lenoir and Morganton along NC Hwy 18.  Results of the 2022 census show the population to be 3,612 which is a slight decline from previous years.  The Town consists of 8.12 square miles mostly residential.   The area is a popular place for people to settle down and raise a family with an elementary, middle and high school all located just off the main road.  The Town has a beautiful park for all to enjoy.

Gamewell is a short drive 3.6 miles to Tuttle State Forest and for those seeking more adventure Shortoff Mountain is just 25.4 miles.   If you are looking for something to do while in town,  Caldwell (4.4 miles), Burke  (10 miles) and Catawba (32.3 miles) Counties all host festivals and events throughout the year open to the public.  The Broyhill Civic Center is less than 15 minutes away and offers concerts and events year-round as well.  If you are looking for dinner stop in to enjoy a plate of BBQ from JDs Smokehouse located in the middle of town or stop and pickup something from Ellie's Crossroad Market just down the street.

The Town owns and operates a sanitary sewer system serving many residents of the Town, commercial and residential.  The Town will continue to serve additional customers where feasible.  Also, the Town of Gamewell provides residential garbage pickup.  

We hope you love the Town as much as we do!

How North Carolina Municipalities Work

In North Carolina, cities, towns and villages are incorporated municipalities, which means that the North Carolina General Assembly has granted a charter authorizing the establishment of a municipal corporation and outlining the powers, authority and responsibilities of the municipal government.  Some of these are specified in the charter and some are authorized by state statues.

There are 552 municipalities in North Carolina and 100 counties.  There are many unincorporated areas or communities throughout the state, but these areas are not towns, cities or villages.

Function of Municipalities

North Carolina municipalities operate under charters granted by the General Assembly and have powers and authorities granted to them by state statues and the state constitution.  North Carolina state legislature must grant the powers and authority to municipalities and authorize them to perform certain functions.  Municipalites are created to protect the citizens and provide residents of a particular area with services often not available otherwise like water, sewer, land use planning, etc.

Specific Form of Government

The form of government is set forth in the municipal charter.  There are two major forms and one variation.  The first form is mayor-council, where there is not a manager.  In this form of government, the mayor and council act together and make decisions about services, revenues and expenditures.  Personnel come under the board with this particular form.  A variation of this form is the mayor-council with an administrator hired by the board.  The other form of government is the council-manager.  With this form, the mayor and council set policy and hire a manager to implement policies.  A manager has specified statutory authority.

Gamewell (History)

The community known today as Gamewell was once known as Sloughs Branch.  It is believed that the first settlers came to the area in the 1700s.  Later the community was named for the Reverend W. A. Gamewell and a Civil War soldier named Gamewell Tuttle. Early historical documents were destroyed in a fire at the Burke County Court House during the Civil War.  Gamewell was a part of Burke County until it became a part of Caldwell County in 1841.  Caldwell County was established and consisted of numerous communities from Burke County and Rowan County.   

Town of Gamewell Incorporation

The Town of Gamewell was officially incorporated in a special election on June 23, 1981.  The first meeting of the Gamewell Town Council was held on November 16, 1981.  The Mayor and Town Council were all sworn in at this meeting, held at the Gamewell Fire Department.  The first Mayor for the Town was Sonny Mikeal.  The five (5) Council Members were Jack Roberts, Carroll Clontz, Hunter "Pedro" Crump, Robert "Buck" Herman and Peggy Winkler.

How the Town of Gamewell Operates

The Town of Gamewell operates under the Mayor-Council with Administrator form of Government.  This structure is similar to that of any large business.  The registered voters of the Town elect the Town Council and the Council then chooses/hires an Administrator.  The duties of the Administrator are assigned by the Town Council and compare to those of a business corporation's General Manager. In the Town of Gamewell the Administrator is the only hired position.  Any other services provided for the town are under contract by outside vendors. The Town Attorney is appointed and held on retainer.  Mayoral elections are held every four years and the (5) five Council members are elected to four-year overlapping terms.  These elections are non-partisan and held in odd number years.  The Town Council meets on the second Monday of each month in the Council Chambers at the Town Hall.  It also meets in special sessions when necessary.

The primary functions of the Council are to: (1) adopt and amend town ordinances and resolutions; (2) determine Town policies and level of service; (3) determine how revenues and expenditures of the budget are used; (4) approved contracts and agreements; (5) appoint citizens to various Boards and Committees; and (6) represent the Municipality as its leadership in all areas

The Mayor

The Mayor is the chief elected official for the Town.  The Mayor cannot make or second a motion and only votes to break a tie vote of the Council.  The Mayor presides at all meetings of the Council.  The Mayor Pro tem is appointed by the Council and presides over meetings in the absence of the Mayor.

Types of Council Action

The Town Council acts in a number of ways to provide the policies by which the Town operates.  Adoption of ordinances is the most formal and binding type of Council legislation.  A vote of the Council is taken on any ordinance with three (3) affirmative votes necessary for passage.  Some ordinances require a public hearing to give citizens an opportunity to be heard and must be advertised in a newspaper.  After the public hearing, the Council may vote whether to table the ordinance, continue the public hearing, adopt or reject the ordinance, and the three (3) votes are necessary in any of the above actions.  If adopted, the ordinance then becomes effective on the date designated as the effective date.  

Resolutions are written legal actions passed by the Council by majority vote and are less formal than an ordinance.  Resolutions are commonly used to recognize individuals, to make requests of other agencies and to express the intent of future actions of the Council to mention a few.

Town Administrator & Town Clerk

The Administrator is hired by the Council based solely on executive and administrative qualifications.  The Administrator serves as the chief administrative officer of the Town and is responsible for carrying out the policies and laws adopted by the Council.  As Chief Administrative Officer of the Town, the Administrator is empowered to enforce the laws and ordinances of the Town, prepare the annual budget for Council approval, and conduct day-to-day business of the Town.  The Administrator attends all meetings of the Council with the right to take part in discussions, but without the right to vote, and is responsible for making recommendations to the Council as necessary.  The Clerk for the Town is an additional duty served by the Administrator which includes duties as the Council's recording secretary.  Those duties include keeping minutes of all its meetings, preparing the Council's meeting agenda, maintaining ordinances, resolutions and other official documents and records on file, receiving communication for Council consideration, preparation and distribution of information pertaining to Town Government and responsibility for legal advertisements.

Town Attorney

The Town Attorney is selected by the Town Council and advises the Council and various Town Boards/Committees and the Town Administrator on legal matters and procedures.  The Town Attorney prepares certain ordinances, resolutions, agreements, deeds, leases and other miscellaneous legal documents.

Citizen Participation

The public is invited and urged to attend Town meetings to ensure open communications.  The agenda is usually arranged so that public hearings on matters of general interest are held early in the meeting and the citizens' views, comments and inquiries can be heard.  All Council meetings have a public comment period and welcome your input.