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New senator pays visit

JACKSON – Newly appointed District 4 State Senator Ed Jones paid a visit to the Northampton County Board Commissioners on Monday.

Jones said he was looking forward to working with the commissioners and to “call upon” him when they needed help.

“I’m so glad to be here this morning and help you anyway I can,” he said.

“I know this area is a very poor area and we need a lot up here. I will continue the work the late senator (Robert Holloman) started.”

Jones added job titles often go an individual’s head and that the title of the person doesn’t matter, rather it’s what the individuals do with the title.

The senator addressed also the board about Medicaid fraud.

“Someone’s getting rich and it’s not the county,” Jones said. “We complain Medicaid is so high, but we don’t do anything about it.”

County Manager Wayne Jenkins mentioned to the senator a Medicaid proposal for the county, in which the state would be responsible for 100 percent of Medicaid and the county would return one percent of the costs.

“That would tremendously help our county,” said Jenkins.

“I will take those concerns back (to Raleigh) with me,” said Jones.

Jones was appointed on Jan. 28, twenty days after the death of Holloman.

In other business, the board approved a six percent room occupancy tax for those who rent a room at motels, bed and breakfast and lodges.

“The majority of the funds would come from I-95,” said Jenkins, noting tourists using the interstate.

Dick Collier and Jim Gossip of the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce requested the tax.

The majority of the tax money collected would go towards promotional activities like brochures and local tourism projects such as the Farm Festival.

The board also approved changes to the flood damage prevention ordinance.

Appeals and requests will be heard by the Northampton County Board of Adjustment instead of the Northampton County Planning Board.

The appeals and requests will be decided on “in accordance with procedures for variances from the Northampton County Zoning Ordinance.”

The commissioners approved the name change of J.T. Hall Road in Rich Square to Vaughan Road.

Commissioner Fannie Greene (D-5th) asked Jenkins if the petition held at least 80 percent of the affected landowners’ signatures, which is required to change a secondary road name.

“Yes,” said Jenkins, “both own 100 percent of the property (that is affected).”

The road name change request will be forwarded to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which will have the final decision.

An informational meeting requested by the citizens of Lake Gaston was approved by the board. The forum was set for Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Gaston Community Center on the corner of River Road and NC 46 outside in Gaston.