County Commissioners sign resolution approving 2M tax-exempt loan for new Rose Hill Volunteer Fire Department | Local

KENANSVILLE — After the approval of the consent agenda at the Board of County Commissioners meeting, the floor was open for public comment.

Angela B. Mainor, a former Duplin County employee, who currently serves as Duplin County Board of Elections Chair came forward to bring light to a recent discovery she wants to be addressed moving forward.

“I retired from this county in 2016, having worked for this county for 31 and a half years… never missed a day,” said Mainor. “About three months ago, the county manager found my plaque (that I never received) up on top of the cabinet.” She added that she declined the county manager’s offer to have an official presentation.

“After six years that would make the county look bad,” said Mainor further explaining that on April 18, another county employee found her Old North State Award from July 2016, an award she did not receive until just a few weeks ago.

“It is just the principal of the matter. Don’t know who did it,” said Mainor in an aggrieved tone, questioning who would do such a thing, not once, but twice. “I could have died and my children would’ve never known that I received this award.”

Dexter Edwards, Chairman of the Board offered Mainor an apology for the unfortunate incident.

“I have no clue how it happened and I’ll do my best to check into it with Davis and see what kind of procedures we can put in place to make sure that doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Edwards said.

Commissioner Wayne Branch said “I too would just like to apologize to you, Miss Mainor. We definitely need to make sure that there are things in place, as the chair stated, to prevent you or anyone to endure such a situation that you’ve faced. Anything that I can do to move it forward. I can assure you, I’ll be all hands on deck.”

Commissioner Jesse Dowe also offered apologies adding “I believe I know what happened, but I won’t say it. We cherish our employees and the dedication that the employees — especially career employees — put into our county and I assure you that things are in place, where it won’t happen again now that we talked about it. We’ll get it straight.”

Commissioner Elwood Garner thanked Mainor for bringing it to their attention.

“All I can do is offer you my apologies even though that does not correct the situation,” said Commissioner Garner. “I appreciate your continued service to this county sitting on the DSS Board of directors, also, the Board of Elections.”

“You know we will do our best to make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Edwards added. “It is a black eye, but I do appreciate you bringing it forward because if you hadn’t brought it forward I wouldn’t have known about it, so thank you.”

Roger Davis, Economic Development Commission Vice-Chairman, and Airport Board also attended for public comment.

“I appreciate your moving forward with the water issues that you’re dealing with now, both with the volume issues where we’re trying to get water to the 28 families up in the northwestern corner of the county, and also you’re addressing the pressure issues that are rapidly becoming a problem as it relates to economic development. I appreciate what y’all are doing in that regard,” said Davis.

“I’ve had the honor and opportunity for several years now to be a member of two boards in this county. The Airport Board and the Economic Development Board. It didn’t take very long for me to figure out those two boards are your primary driving elements of economic development. Anytime you have the opportunity to look at the total economic impact of this airport which Mr. Futrelle has had such a big part in developing over the years. It has a tremendous impact as well as being the very best private airport in North Carolina as far as we’re concerned,” he added.

“I noticed (while) being on the board that for the Airport Board budget very little money comes from the General Fund to support the airport. We are very close to being self-sufficient,” Davis added explaining “that is one department of the county that there’s more money coming in than there is going out.”

“On the Economic Development Board, especially in the last few years under the leadership of Carrie Shields, we’re beginning to see some things really happen out there. We appreciate you guys being involved,” Davis said.

“We’re in the process now of pursuing infrastructure… and when we get just a little further down the road, that’s going to be two primary driving forces of economic development in Duplin County,” he said referring to Airpark. “I look for nothing but good things to come out of that.”

Next was George Futrelle, Assistant County Manager, and Duplin County Airport director. Futrelle started by recognizing the Airport Commission members in attendance: Jack Alphin, Roger Davis, Scotty Kennedy Jerry Tysinger, and Commissioner Edwards, who serves as the county Commissioner appointee on the Airport Board.

“I’m so thankful for these men that serve, and all of us know it takes various boards in the county to help guide and direct us as staff to carry on the work that needs to be done in the county, and I for one I’m very thankful for an active board,” Futrelle said.

After a resolution to honor the late Ricky Lynn Kennedy was approved, Futrelle read it out loud and thanked the family for his contributions.

Next was Jason McGuirt, Juvenile Crime Prevention Council Chairman, who presented the FY 22-23 funding plan and recommendations for certification approval.

“Our available funds are $212,657,” said McGuirt. “We have allocated them based on meetings with the funding committee as well as the monitoring committee, and these are what we believe are appropriate based on the programs and what they’ve provided so far in the last few years.

I can tell you that we’ve met challenges with COVID and getting children into the programs, but that seems to be getting better. We believe that this is an appropriate funding plan for the programs and what they’re providing.”

The JCPC funding plan was unanimously approved. The second item McGuirt discussed was the certification standards for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. McGuirt stated that the only outstanding issue was that they have not filled all the positions.

“We try to get as many people participating as possible and we’ll continue to do that,” said McGuirt. “We’ve reached out to students. We’ve reached out to people in the community. Any help that we can get we would appreciate.” The motion for certification approval was carried out.

County Manager Davis Brinson, opened the floor to hear road concerns and later address them with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Commissioner Dowe reported he had a concern with an issue on NC 50 south of Kenansville.

“It’s a situation where somebody is discharging dishwater into the ditch instead of the septic tank and it’s causing issues. I’ve been down there to personally see it and it has a very bad odor and it’s unsanitary,” Commissioner Dowe said. Brinson stated he will contact the Environmental Health Division of the Health Department to address the situation.

“The ditch is clogged up, also it’s not a good drainage situation there,” Dowe added. Additionally, Commissioner Garner mentioned that low-hanging limbs south of the recycling center were blocking the visibility of tractor-trailers.

The next, item discussed was a request for a public hearing to address the fiscal year 2022-23 Duplin County budget and the fiscal year 2022-23 Economic Development Budget for Duplin County on June 6 at the Ed Emory Auditorium to allow residents to make comments. The motion was approved.

Brinson, standing in for Shields requested two public hearings to be scheduled for May 16 to receive public comments on Economic Development projects Heel and ACC and to discuss local incentives.

“This is an existing manufacturing company seeking to expand their operation in the county,” said Brinson referring to Project Heel, which would generate 150 jobs and a total investment of $60 million.

Project ACC “is a cabinet manufacturing company seeking to relocate to the Duplin County area,” Brinson added, explaining the company would generate 139 jobs, and a total investment of $13.3 million.

County Attorney Tim Wilson came forward to conduct a public hearing before the Board could consider a resolution that would approve a $2,000,000 tax-exempt loan between First Bank and Rose Hill Firemen Inc., for the construction of a new fire station for the Rose Hill Volunteer Fire Department.

“This is a private loan to a private entity. It does not involve county funds, and there’s no obligation for the county to sign on to this debt,” said Wilson. “This is merely First Bank attorneys’ interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code to require that you all acknowledge and consent to the proposed loan, and conduct a public hearing as part of the process before signing. So with that as a backdrop, I would ask that you open the floor for a public hearing.”

The floor was open to public comments. Nobody came forward for public comments. Wilson asked for a motion to adopt the resolution acknowledging and approving the private loan. The motion carried.

After a closed session, members of the Board moved to award the Animal Care, Control, and Adoption Facility construction contract to Quadrant Construction Incorporated subject to negotiations favorable to the county. The motion to approve carried unanimously.

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