12/27/05 — Commission chairman sets '06 priorities

View Archive

Commission chairman sets '06 priorities

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on December 27, 2005 1:52 PM

Building a new animal shelter. Finding a reasonable solution to the school board's facility plan. Continuing progress with the Highway 70 commission.

These are only a few of the many tasks facing the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. However, newly elected Chairman Atlas Price said they are priorities that need to be achieved.

"Times change, things change, and we have to work with change. We have to look at today's needs and look at the future," Price said.

One of the most pressing issues facing the commissioners is the school board's facilities plan because it will affect Wayne County students for many years to come, Price said.

"The school issue really concerns me. I want it resolved, and there is a way to solve it, if the public chooses to accept the schools' needs," he said.

If the school board and commissioners work together toward the same cause, Price said each group could find a reasonable compromise that benefits the county's students. However, it could mean that the school board would need to present a bond issue to local residents.

Allowing the public to vote on a bond issue for the schools is the only way the issue could be resolved since the county does not have the money to cover the proposed $130 million plan, Price said.

"I wouldn't want to put an issue on the public without their input," he said.

Bringing groups together to solve problems facing the whole has been Price's philosophy throughout his many years of public service, he said.

"We don't need so many organizations, but to come together as one. We should continue to work with the base, the city and the municipalities to improve the whole area. It really adds to what you can accomplish in this county," Price said.

His predecessor, outgoing Commissioner J.D. Evans, agreed that working together can solve many problems one person could not handle alone.

"I've gone through the full circle of life," Evans said. "Personal agendas are not in J.D.'s thinking. I think about what is best for Wayne County. I know I have to be responsive to the constituents in District 2, but I try to look at the big picture -- Wayne County."

As a former science teacher, Evans said he examines both sides of any situation. By making decisions based on all available information, he said he believes his decisions as a commissioner have benefited the county.

One such decision was to restructure the county's Emergency Medical Services. Now, EMS can adequately serve the entire county with a quicker response time, Evans said.

Also, Evans said the succession plan has been important for county operations. When a county employee retires, the plan provides another employee with the necessary college courses and knowledge to fill the vacant position.

During the next year, Evans said there are many priorities he would like to see accomplished. As long as the commissioners continue to work as a unit with the municipalities, Goldsboro, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and among themselves, Evans said the possibilities for improvement are endless.

"I want to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Wayne County," he said. "This is an excellent opportunity for us to let the dogs out and make progress."