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Nash commissioners approve state lobbying wish list

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NASHVILLE — Nash County commissioners last week approved a 15-item list of the county’s legislative priorities for submission to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners as the statewide group prepares its priorities for future lobbying efforts.

Every two years, the NCACC gathers input from all 100 counties and pares them down to an agreed-upon list of legislative goals to promote in the General Assembly.

At its Sept. 8 regular monthly meeting, the board unanimously adopted a recommended list of 14 priorities and added an item — boosting state efforts to extend water into rural areas.

Chief among commissioners’ concerns were the expansion of broadband internet into underserved rural areas and providing a reliable water supply throughout the county, particularly in southern Nash County.

Commissioner Wayne Outlaw noted that with growth in Wake County expanding eastward, the county’s industrial park in Middlesex “would explode” if adequate utilities are available.

Most goals on the list are continued priorities, commissioners noted, but this year, they added support for additional water projects and a request for a “comprehensive outreach for rural mosquito control,” with funding.

Among the county’s other priorities are funding to extend telemedicine capabilities in local health departments, reinstatement of funding for drug treatment courts and promotion of opioid prevention initiatives, elimination of second primary elections and support for current public school funding with reinstatement of full lottery proceeds for school construction and support of a statewide education bond.

The board also supported federal and state efforts to address obesity and chronic disease, state funding for local industrial site development and more recurring funding for State Rural Grants programs. The board went on record opposing “unfunded mandates and shifts of state responsibilities to counties.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS

Commissioners approved applications for two $150,000 state grants for asset inventory assessments, one of the water system and another for the county’s rural wastewater system. The grants require a 10% county match, most of which would be in-kind services.

Jonathan Boone, director of public utilities and facilities, told commissioners the county had applied for the same grants last year but was narrowly unsuccessful. He said he’s optimistic the county would receive funding this time.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a resolution thanking Augustus “Gus” Tulloss of Rocky Mount for a lifetime of service to Nash County, particularly the last 12 years as a member of the North Carolina Board of Transportation where he “contributed significantly to the success of Nash County and eastern North Carolina by promoting and serving the transportation and economic development needs of the region.”

• Approved a request by Erader Mills of Spring Hope to rezone a 1.02-acre portion of a larger tract on Savage Road from GI general industrial to A1 agricultural to allow him to build a new single-family home.

• Appointed and swore in Doris Sumner as Nash County tax assessor. Sumner was already the county’s tax administrator, earning praise for her running of the tax department, but had to meet the state requirements for certification as a tax assessor, which she recently completed.

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