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State targets money for Northampton

JACKSON – It was a beautiful day in Northampton County Saturday.

That was the message delivered by State House Representative Michael Wray (D-Northampton) when he appeared before the Northampton County Commissioners Monday.

Wray said the state budget passed and signed into law Saturday was a coup for the residents of the county.

&uot;Northampton did well,&uot; the District 27 Representative said. &uot;The budget is 364 pages long and is not going to make everybody happy.

&uot;I don’t agree with everything in it, but I supported the leadership and voted for it,&uot; Wray said.

Wray said the budget included $12,552,500 for District 27, which includes Northampton, Warren and Vance counties.

Some of the keys for the budget were a $7.5 million appropriation for the Advance Vehicle Research Center (AVRC) as well as $175,000 for the Hertford-Northampton Farmers Market and $5,000 for the Northampton Education Foundation. There is also a $20,000 appropriation for the Northampton County Wellness and Cultural Complex.

&uot;(Northampton Economic Development Director) Gary Brown did a great job,&uot; Wray said, referencing the $7.5 million for the AVRC.

The representative said neither the governor nor the state Senate included the appropriation in their budgets, but the local legislative delegation fought for it and got it in the final draft.

&uot;It’s something Northampton County can be proud of – to bring jobs home,&uot; Wray said.

The representative said his first term taught him a lot, including the fact you can’t make everyone happy.

Wray said he was disappointed Northampton County missed out on the jobs provided by the entertainment complex now slated for Roanoke Rapids, but was pleased the county’s citizens would be getting jobs there.

Commission Chairwoman Virginia D. Spruill said the Board was pleased to have Wray report such good news.

&uot;You are doing a fine job for Northampton County,&uot; Spruill said.

Commissioner James Boone said he was pleased with the help Wray provided for the county, but he did not want to see him pleased that the entertainment center located close by rather than within the county.

&uot;I don’t want you to be happy when we spend tax dollars outside the county,&uot; Boone said.

Wray said he wasn’t happy the county missed the complex, but felt Randy Parton had simply &uot;fell in love with the Roanoke Valley.&uot;

The representative said many people worked together and put in a solid proposal, but also said there was &uot;a lot of things involved people don’t know about.&uot;

Wray concluded by saying he was working hard for the county.

Commissioner Fannie Greene said she appreciated all the work Wray was doing.

&uot;I can take criticism,&uot; Wray said. &uot;No disrespect, Commissioner Boone, but I’m doing the best I can.&uot;

Boone responded, &uot;This is not personal, Representative Wray. I am just explaining what we need.&uot;

Wray said he was always available to meet with Boone and other commissioners to discuss any concerns.

Spruill thanked Wray for his comments and for his work.