Commissioners lobby NCGA

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 19, 2007

RALEIGH – A group of Hertford County leaders joined others from across the state here May 2.

Hertford County Commission Vice Chairman Howard Hunter III led a group of four that included fellow Commissioners Johnnie R. Farmer and Dupont A. Davis and County Manager Loria D. Williams to County Assembly Day.

Those Hertford County officials and other county leaders throughout North Carolina spent several hours lobbying members of the North Carolina General Assembly on such issues as Medicaid relief and additional revenue options, including the land transfer tax.

“When we first arrived, we were part of a meeting that shared information about the day,” Hunter said. “It was good information for us to have when we went out to meet with legislators.”

Hunter said that in addition to meeting with local legislators, he lobbied Representative Dan Blue (D-33rd), Representative Bill Owens (D-1st) and Representative Mickey Michaux.

“I went straight to them to talk about Medicaid relief,” Hunter said. “That was where my effort was. We need Medicaid relief and I pushed hard for that.”

Farmer said he spoke personally with Senator Ed Jones (D-4th) and Representative Annie W. Mobley (D-5th) as well as Representative Michael H. Wray (D-27th).

“I talked to both of our representatives and then roamed around to talk to whomever we could,” Farmer said. “I also spent time talking to legislators from larger counties because I think they should know that our needs are much different than theirs.”

The County Assembly Day was organized by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.

“We appreciate the hard work this day and general dedication to making Hertford County a better place to live,” said NCACC Executive Director David F. Thompson. “We are hopeful that the hard work of county officials from around the state will benefit all counties by the end of the 2007 legislative session.”

Medicaid relief for counties has been and continues to be the number on legislative goal of the organization.

The group is also backing the land transfer tax, calling it “an important revenue option for counties.” The one percent land transfer tax would generate an estimated $329,084 for Hertford County each year.

Just days after the delegation left Raleigh, the North Carolina House of Representatives unanimously approved $100 million for one-time Medicaid relief for counties in 2007-2008. The state Senate now must vote on the same measure.