01/26/14 — Funding available for some projects

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Funding available for some projects

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 26, 2014 1:50 AM

Anyone interested in borrowing a slice of the $576,923 in Wayne County's Eastern Region Trust Fund is going to have to provide Wayne County commissioners with specific project details.

People will have the opportunity to do so during a work session scheduled for Feb. 4 in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

Anyone interested in making a presentation should contact Marcia Wilson, clerk to the board, at 919-731-1435.

Commissioners will discuss the projects when they meet Feb. 18. They also will vote on which project, or projects, to select.

March 1 is the deadline, Commissioner Ray Mayo said during the board's Tuesday meeting.

The county can borrow the money for economic development uses only for a 1 percent ($5,769.23) fee and no interest for five years.

However, the county could decide to charge its own interest.

It also is possible the county could borrow money from other counties that do not plan to borrow from their own trust accounts, Mayo said.

In those cases, the counties could charge Wayne interest as well, he said.

If the money is not obligated by June 30, it will be turned over to the state.

Providing the specifics of a proposed project is required by the trust fund to be eligible for the money, Mayo said.

The town of Mount Olive has requested $200,000 to cover its $150,000 match for $1.5 million in state funding for making improvements to the older part of the runway at the town airport.

As part of the work, the runway lighting will require improvements as well.

Mayo said he has been approached by others interested in borrowing the money. He did not elaborate.

Applicants need to remember that the money has to be used for economic development projects such as water or sewer, he said.

In other business Tuesday, no one spoke at a public hearing on property rezoning.

The board approved the request by C4 Development LLC to rezone a 1.848-acre lot at the northeast intersection of U.S. 117 Alt. South and Outlaw Road at Dudley from Residential-Agriculture 20 to Community shopping.

The company is planning to build an 8,320-square-foot retail store.

The board also approved the final plat for the 17-lot Planters Ridge subdivision, Phase Three. The subdivision, owned and developed by Edmondson Construction Co., is located on Planters Drive about 1,000 feet from Wayne Memorial Drive.

Commissioners approved a six-month contract with radio station WGBR to provide coverage of their meetings at the current cost of $425 per meeting.

The cost is for air time only for the portion of the board's regular meeting between 9 a.m. and noon. The county provides the technology and manpower.

Commissioner Bill Pate suggested that important parts of the meeting should be handled during that three-hour time slot.

Barbara Arntsen, the county's public information officer, recommended to commissioners at their Jan. 7 meeting that the contract not be renewed.

Pate, Mayo and Commissioner Steve Keen renewed their support of the contract arguing that many people, particularly in the northern part of the county, depend on the radio coverage.

The issue had been tabled until the Tuesday meeting to allow time for Ms. Arntsen to negotiate with WGBR station manager Bill Johnston.

Johnston told commissioners that between 800 to 1,500 people were listening to the station at any given time, but that it was impossible to provide an exact number.

Chairman Wayne Aycock said the county needed to do its homework and find out who is listening.

Commissioners voted to allow the Sheriff's Office to apply for a state grant to create a Multi-Agency Driving While Impaired Task Force for the county. It would include three deputies, two Goldsboro police officers and one Mount Olive police officer.

A grant from the Governor's Highway Safety program would fund the project 100 percent during the first year, 85 percent the second year, 75 percent the third year and 50 percent the fourth year.

The fifth year would be funded entirely by the three agencies.

The board also agreed to support plans to add three deputies as roaming resource officers for middle and elementary schools in the county.

Chris Barnes, security coordinator for Wayne County Public Schools, told commissioners the school system had received a grant from the state Department of Public Instruction that would finance four officers -- three from the sheriff's office and one from the Goldsboro Police Department.

The grant will fund two-thirds ($163,587) of the annual cost of $245,380, and the schools will provide the remainder ($81,793).

While there is no guarantee, the grant is expected to continue for at least two years.

A decision would have to be made then whether or not to continue the funding with local revenues, he said.

Commissioners renewed concern that grants get programs started, but then leave them in the position of either having to fire people when the grant runs out or use more taxpayer money to keep the program going.

The board approved the purchase of an acre of land off Hood Swamp Road for a new tower for the county's planned improvements to its radio system.

The cost was $17,500.

The board recessed the seven-hour meeting until Jan. 29, when commissioners will meet with county auditors at 8 a.m. at the Goldsboro Country Club.