10/13/06 — Government leaders share ideas for future

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Government leaders share ideas for future

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on October 13, 2006 1:51 PM

Officials from Wayne County and nearly all of its municipalities gathered Thursday night to discuss their progress and the possibility of working together to provide better service for residents.

The Wayne County Intergovernmental Committee, representing Goldsboro, Pikeville, Fremont, Mount Olive, Walnut Creek, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, the county Board of Education and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base met at the Goldsboro Country Club.

Wayne County Commissioner Atlas Price said the committee doesn't have a regularly scheduled meeting time. Instead, it meets when pressing issues or opportunities to work together need to be discussed.

On Thursday night, the main topic of conversation was the condition of water and sewer lines across the county and the possibility of interconnecting those lines to provide broader service for the entire community.

For about a year, Wayne County officials and residents have been working together on a comprehensive land use plan which would set policies and visions for the county for the next 20 years. Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said that plan would affect projects every municipality and the county commissioners are working on, from school facilities to utilities.

Smith said there are areas in which the municipalities and the county government could work together to improve water, sewer, utilities and other kinds of development. In the next few months, the commissioners will be developing a 10- to 20-year capital improvement plan, which will provide a blueprint for the future.

"We'll have to look at things that have a major impact on all of us," Smith said.

As more subdivisions are being built, more residents are demanding water and sewer services from their local municipalities, officials said. Some existing sewer lines are not large enough to support the amount of growth in some areas, they said. Smith said the municipalities and the county could work together to develop a mass infrastructure plan, which would prepare all areas for the continued growth of the future.

Fremont Mayor Devone Jones said he hopes the town will have its sewer problems fixed by next year. Fremont Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said the town is in the process of rebuilding underground lines and may replace fire hydrants soon. Some of the lines and hydrants have been in Fremont since 1903 and have become faulty, he added.

Most of Walnut Creek's problems with water and sewer have been corrected since connecting with the city of Goldsboro's lines, village officials said.

Pikeville Town Commissioner Al Greene said his town should have a sewer plant up and running within the next few months.

Goldsboro City Manager Joe Huffman said the city has an aggressive plan to improve its downtown, including a possible $10 million community center project and $5 million to rebuild the Paramount. City officials will also be working on developing a master plan which should help Goldsboro plan for the city's next 25 years, he said.

Mount Olive Mayor Ruff Higgins said he and the town's officials are working on a land use plan which will allow the town to handle its continuing growth in the future. The building of a new Wal-Mart there and west of Goldsboro is expected to spur development in both areas.

In other reports, Seymour Johnson official Stewart Cox said the base has mainly been preparing for the 50,000 to 60,000 people expected at the air base this weekend for the Wings Over Wayne Airshow. Also, most of the airmen deployed to Southeast Asia earlier this year have returned. Base officials and commanders said they don't expect to send another contingent to the region until the spring.