06/07/06 — Aldridge to serve as temporary manager

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Aldridge to serve as temporary manager

By Turner Walston
Published in News on June 7, 2006 1:45 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County Planning Director Mike Aldridge has been named interim county manager by the county Board of Commissioners.

Aldridge's new job will become effective June 20.

Currently, former assistant County Manager Judy Brown is serving as interim manager. But she will retire June 19.

Ms. Brown has been filling in for Fred Eldridge, who resigned as county manager in May.

Aldridge is a candidate for the county manager jobs. Commissioners have been interviewing candidates for the job and had cut the number of applicants still being considered to five as of last week.

Aldridge is already serving as assistant to Ms. Brown.

"I'm ready. Ready to move forward. I think we need to get some stability in the county, get some decisions made and move on," Aldridge said after commissioners announced their decision Monday.

Brown, Aldridge and the county commissioners met with various county department managers this week to talk about budget needs. The commissioners have said they plan to increase the tax rate 3.5 cents, to 80.5 cents, in order to be able to approve a balanced budget by July.

They also plan to take $3.7 million from reserves to help balance the budget.

In other business, Robb Wells, executive director of the Duplin County Events Center, provided commissioners with a vision statement for the facility. He said the center should become a central location for entertainment and community events for Duplin County and the region. To date, Wells said, 11 shows have taken place at the center, with attendance averaging about 1,000 people per show.

Work has begun on installing a concrete floor at the facility. Wells said he is working on 20 possible events to be held at the center between mid-August and December, after the floor is completed.

Wells said it will cost $6,230 to fill the 27,000 square-foot floor with dirt 16 inches deep to provide a foundation for the concrete.

Magistrate Bill Bostic asked commissioners to allow the magistrates to move to the old probation office. Mike Aldridge said refitting the office would cost $6,000 to $7,000. The request was granted unanimously.

Commissioners also agreed with county Water Supervisor Stanley Miller, who recommended the commissioners make Pipeline Supply the sole provider of radio read meters to comply with the county's water meter software.

Following the regular meeting, Commissioner Arliss Albertson asked for a closed session. More than 90 minutes later, the meeting was re-opened, and Commissioner L.S. Guy made the motion to promote Aldridge. Commissioners voted unanimously in support of the motion.