Goldsboro, Mount Olive officials share concerns
By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 29, 2008 1:46 PM
Members of the Goldsboro City Council and Mount Olive Town Board met for a round-table Monday night to discuss cooperation, a stronger working relationship, annexation and water.
This was the first time in recent history that the two boards have met. The gathering, which included dinner, was touted as a chance for the leaders from both communities to join forces to grow not only their respective cities, but to further their common goals as well.
The majority of the discussion focused on how Mount Olive could help Goldsboro with water and how the city could aid the town with annexation.
Although no decisions were made on issues, representatives from both groups said they felt the meeting was a first step toward creating a partnership that could benefit Mount Olive and Goldsboro in the long run.
As the two largest towns in Wayne County, the governing bodies want to form a sort of give-and-take system in which each board lends a hand when called upon by the other. The leaders said they believe they can help improve the entire county by doing so.
And both mayors are ready to get started.
They already share some common ground.
Goldsboro Mayor Al King grew up in Mount Olive, and Mount Olive Mayor Ray McDonald grew up in Goldsboro.
"He came to Mount Olive to make some culture, and I went to Goldsboro to get some culture," King said.
"We used to play in that depot you're redoing," McDonald said.
"We wondered why we found 'Ray McDonald was here' on the wall," Goldsboro City Manager Joe Huffman joked.
King said he is interested in his hometown, just as McDonald is interested in his.
"We all have the same problems. We have the same problems here as New York City has. It's just on a smaller scale," King said.
The two boards are aspiring to alleviate some of those concerns.
And for Goldsboro, the biggest one is water.
"Mount Olive came to us about water," Huffman said.
"They said that they could get it to us if we could get it to Goldsboro," King said. "And I'll tell you, that meant an awful lot to us."
McDonald said the towns have to be supportive of each other.
"We've got to step up and help sometimes," he said.
After Mount Olive's offer, King said he got to thinking about what Goldsboro could offer in return.
"There must be something in Goldsboro that we have an abundance of -- it's not money -- but we will help you with what you need," King said to the Mount Olive officials.
McDonald said the city could offer some assistance with the steps regarding annexation.
"If they restrict our growth, we might as well close the house, close the doors," he said.
Huffman said most municipalities are for annexation, and he sees a direct tie between the state's annexation laws and its good financial status.
"North Carolina is attracting people, visitors and residents," he said. "If annexation doesn't work for us, why is that happening?"
He added that there are "a few selfish people who are very vocal and got a lot of our legislators listening."
"If our legislators aren't smart, we're going to have a problem in North Carolina," King said.
Many around the table agreed, saying that those in possible annexed areas use parks and facilities and still expect the city or town's law enforcement to come to their aid in a hurry.
"Have you heard of 'cave' people?" King asked. "Citizens against virtually everything."
"We have some of those," McDonald said.
The councils decided to meet a few more times this year, but the meeting dates and times have not yet been determined.
Mount Olive Town Manager Charles Brown said the partnership should not end with Goldsboro's council.
"I think the message that we want to bring ... is that we want everybody in the county to work together," he said. "We better all figure out that we're in this together."
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