08/17/05 — Fremont will join campaign for growth

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Fremont will join campaign for growth

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on August 17, 2005 1:49 PM

FREMONT -- Finding $1,500 for a cash-strapped town was not easy, but Tuesday night, the Fremont town board decided to pledge the money to join an economic development program.

The board agreed to pay the requested $1,500 donation for each of the next five years to the Impact Wayne County campaign.

The campaign's goals are to assure a top quality work force, that buildings and sites are available, to assist in the retention and expansion of existing businesses, to recruit companies and to promote and market the advantages of a Wayne County location.

The goals were stated in a letter from Jeff Daugherty, the campaign director, to the town.

"I think we need to be a part of it," Alderman Billy Harvey said. "...We can't do it if we don't participate."

But Alderman Leroy Ruffin was more cautious.

"ElectriCities said 15 years ago that if you give us money, we'll help you out," he said. Fremont is still paying money, and its power bills have gone up, he added.

The board was not sure when the first $1,500 would be due and considered not paying it until mid-2006.

Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said when the five years are up, the campaign might ask for another pledge.

Harvey's motion to commit to the campaign passed unanimously.

A request to rezone the Rhodes Funeral Home property at 604 Memorial Church from residential to general business was tabled until the Sept. 21 meeting so McDuffie could get more information.

The town Planning Board voted in its Aug. 9 meeting to deny the request. The landowner, Dr. Camelia R. Smith, the daughter of the funeral home owner, J.B. Rhodes of Goldsboro, had asked for the change so that the property could be used for a respiratory care facility. She said the change would create jobs.

No one spoke during a public hearing on the request.

In another zoning matter, McDuffie signed a zoning permit for a mobile home at 104 E. Branch St. The Planning Board had approved a conditional use permit, and the town board was to discuss the matter Tuesday. But McDuffie said mobile homes were allowed as a permitted use in the R-6 residential zone under a 2000 change in the zoning ordinance.

The board also tabled the appointment of an out-of-town member and an in-town alternate member to the Board of Adjustment.

In other business, the board:

*Approved a resolution honoring the Rev. Johnnie Carlton Sherrod, the pastor of Hooks Grove Missionary Baptist Church for 33 years.

*Approved a contract with Joel O'Neal to harvest timber on the old sewage spray field and town property on Edmundson Spring Roads.

*Met in closed session to discuss a personnel issue but took no action.

*Agreed that a tour of the town last weekend was beneficial.