Northampton creates new strategic plan

Published 4:38 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

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JACKSON – The Northampton Board of Commissioners have adopted a new plan to guide them through the next four years.

They approved the new strategic plan at their regular meeting on March 20 following discussions about what should be included at previous meetings. The plan will cover years 2023 through 2027.

The document includes goals in a number of different areas including recreation, infrastructure, tax rate, education, human resources, finance, economic development, capital projects, and health and safety.

Board Chair Charles Tyner noted that the strategic plan will help provide direction for the future as the county moves forward over the next four years.

“Can we add to the plan if we need to,” asked Commissioner Melvetta Broadnax Taylor.

Tyner replied yes, explaining that it can be updated at any time to add or remove goals.

At their workshop meeting earlier in March, Commissioner Geneva Faulkner asked for input from the rest of the board to finalize any remaining gaps in the strategic plan. After making changes, she presented the final draft for consideration at Monday’s meeting.

For recreation, the goal is to expand the department’s reach into each community in Northampton County by 2027. Specifically mentioned projects include a second phase of the Cultural & Wellness Center (indoor gym and pool), replacement of old W.S. Creecy School main building, and completion of the Lake Gaston Project.

Infrastructure projects include focusing on water, sewer, road, and broadband.

Goals for 2024 infrastructure include seeking funding for water expansion projects and for a wastewater treatment plant to be located in Garysburg. They also plan to seek citizen requests for secondary road improvements not covered by the NCDOT as well as solicit plans for long-range broadband internet opportunities. These projects are intended to continue through 2025.

The county also plans to continue its half cent tax rate decrease annually and continue to aggressively seek delinquent taxes.

For education, the commissioners will develop a long-range funding plan for the district’s capital needs, and will seek an updated facility plan from the local school district.

The goal for the county’s human resources department is to have a competitive recruitment and retention plan. This will be achieved through fully implementing salary study recommendations and developing a succession plan to address retiring or advancing staff.

Transparency and responsibility are the main goals for Northampton County’s finances. The commissioners want to receive monthly financial statements as well as monthly status updates for the current year’s audit.

Economic development goals include reconvening the Economic Development Commission Board, developing an economic stimulus package, and increasing outreach and education for those seeking to do business in Northampton County.

The strategic plan also calls for prioritizing capital projects and securing funds and grants for such projects. One specific project listed on the plan is a new Northampton County animal shelter, with a goal of receiving quotes for its construction by 2024.

Lastly, the plan calls for improved access to affordable, high-quality medical and behavioral health care in Northampton County by 2027. To help accomplish that goal, they want to work with regional providers and also establish a 24-hour urgent care facility within the county.

The new plan covers many of the same areas as the previous four-year plan, which was unveiled in 2019. The biggest change is the inclusion of the health and safety goals, which were not focused on in the previous plan.

Commissioner Kelvin Edwards motioned to adopt the new strategic plan, and Commissioner Ed Martin seconded. The vote passed unanimously without any further discussion.