05/21/08 — Duplin unveils legislative agenda

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Duplin unveils legislative agenda

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 21, 2008 2:12 PM

KENANSVILLE -- State Sen. Charlie Albertson and Rep. Russell Tucker have been in the General Assembly "long enough to give us some seniority" when it comes to getting things done, Duplin County Commissioner Zettie Williams said Monday.

Ms. Williams' comments came during commissioners' Monday morning discussion about their legislative wish list for the 2008-09 legislative session.

"We need to push Russell and Charlie on this," she said.

In authorizing a resolution outlining the county's requests, commissioners instructed County Manager Mike Aldridge to put water and sewer needs on the top of the list.

Commissioners have indicated a desire to implement a countywide sewer system. They also are looking for ways to expand the county's water system and to encourage residents to tie into the system.

Also on the list are:

-- Authority to garnish wages for any fees the county has the authority to charge for. This a repeat from last year when lawmakers failed to approve it. As such it can only be considered during the 2009 long session. Aldridge has said that the county is losing tens of thousands of dollars annually in fees that it cannot collect.

-- Inclusion in the state health plan. The county has two options -- seek approval through legislative action or by the state health plan administrator. Aldridge said the county has submitted one of two parts of the application to the plan administrator, but there is no indication it will receive a favorable review. Wednesday is the deadline to submit a resolution to the legislative delegation to be considered for inclusion by the legislature during the upcoming short session.

-- Oppose passing any road responsibilities to the counties.

-- Continuing appropriations to support the operation of the Duplin County Events Center.

-- Revision to the Cable TV franchise legislation. Previously, the county's franchise required cable TV companies to respond to inquires from the public on the cost of making services available to locations not served by cable. Currently, state laws do not require the companies to respond to the public. Aldridge said that the county now lacks any leverage with the companies since the county is no longer the franchise authority.