N’hampton leaders support ‘Connect NC’

Published 10:43 am Monday, February 8, 2016

JACKSON – The Northampton County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution in support of the state’s “Connect NC” bond for $2 billion in infrastructure improvements that will be on the March 15 ballot.

County Manager Kimberly Turner introduced the resolution that the state wants all county governments to support.

The state guarantees that the $2 billion bond will not raise taxes.

In a message to voters, Gov. Jim McCrory said, “It’s been 15 years since the last general obligation bond was authorized to upgrade our state’s infrastructure and since then North Carolina has added 2 million people in population.

“The $2 billion bond,” McCrory said, “will connect North Carolina to the 21st century through statewide investments in education, parks, safety, recreation, and water and sewer infrastructure.

“The Connect NC bond will allow us to pay for 50-year assets with 20-year financing,” the governor said. “No tax increases are necessary to finance the bond, given our strong revenue growth and ample debt service capacity. We will continue to balance the budget and uphold our position as one of only 10 states to have earned the coveted Triple A bond rating from all three major ratings agencies.”

The Connect NC bond will be used some needed infrastructure statewide upgrades, but will not meet all state needs.

The bond’s broad objectives for statewide spending are: $980 million for the UNC system; $350 million for community colleges; $312.5 for water/sewer loans and grants, and for local parks; $179 million for agriculture; $100 million for parks and zoos; and $78.5 million for the National Guard and public safety.

The only locally specified use of the funding is to improve Merchants Millpond State Park in Gates County; and for the two community colleges that serve Northampton County (Halifax CC in Weldon and Roanoke-Chowan CC in Ahoskie).

Chairwoman Fannie Greene said she has been in on discussions with other county commissions from other counties.

She said it sounds like a great opportunity for local municipalities and community colleges of the area.

“It’s a good opportunity for Northampton County,” said Greene.

Vice-Chairman Joseph Barrett said, “It’s a good idea.”

The county commissioners unanimously supported the resolution to support the Connect NC Bond Act and transmit it to the General Assembly and Gov. McCrory.