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Week of January 28, 2015


Pamlico Begins Work on Trimming $1.5 Million Deficit


Pamlico News Staff

 

BAYBORO - Following the initial round of county department budget requests for the coming year, the Pamlico County Commissioners began the annual job of analyzing its upcoming spending plan on Monday.

As has been the case in recent years, the requests for operational expenses, capital items and merit raises played a part in what is a $1.5 million deficit projection of 2015-16 revenues versus expenses.

The board met in a special workshop Monday morning for more than two hours, hearing reports from County Manager Tim Buck and staff.

The commissioners heard that the current budget year projections are pretty much on line, with revenues at 68.8 percent of budget, or about 11.2 million and tax collections at 78 percent at the midyear mark of the current year.

The board begins its budget planning early each year in advance of a July 1 deadline for a new budget and tax rate.

Buck said the figures include allocations in the current $16.5 million budget, and folded the addition initial requests into it.

He noted that the preliminary report is minus any additional requests from the public schools, community college or any outside agencies that receive county funds.

Among the 201516 requests are $670,000 in capital or building requests, $76,000 for merit raises, $181,500 for eight potential new positions and $168,600 in other requests from the sheriff and election offices.

The board also discussed a possible cost of living raise for employees, a measure that was reinstated this current fiscal year after several years without county workers getting a COLA.

An early percentage that was mentioned for county raises in the Monday meeting was 2 percent, which would cost the county $120,000.

The projected $18 million in overall expenditures produced the shortfall which the board, Buck and staff will work on in the coming months.

The board also heard an update on revenues from the rental of jail bed spaces, which in recent years has been around the $1 million mark, a figure above projections.

Another area of expense the board directed Buck to explore is that of county-paid health insurance for employees.

The eight new position requests the board will ponder included two from the sheriff’s department for telecommunications, a real property appraiser for the tax office, a senior services aid, an assistant Emergency Management Director/Fire Marshall, a public buildings maintenance worker and two ground technicians for the seasonal work in public buildings.

Some of the big ticket items in the capital requests to be considered included $200,000 for continued courthouse renovations (Phase II) and $100,000 for replacement of air conditioning systems in the Department of Social Services in Alliance and the Law Enforcement Center in Bayboro.

The requests included nine new vehicles, spread among animal control, the senior center, Social Services, the water department and sheriff’s office.

The board looked at 32 requests for merit raises or reclassification, totaling $76,000. It was the consensus of the commissioners that decisions on those would come later as the budget comes together and after a decision was made on cost of living raises. The increases ranged from less than 1 percent to 25 percent pay hikes.

The board also had $168,000 in “other significant expenditure requests,” which included $10,000 to digitize real estate books in the Register of Deeds office for the years 1872 to 1954.

The major item in that listing was $158,600 for training in the sheriff’s department. Buck explained that the new Sheriff Chris Davis was consolidating all training items previously spread through the budget into one request.

The commissioners were given information on requests, with explanation of requests as part of a packet of more than 200 pages to review.

The board will hold another workshop in February or March.

Pamlico Begins Work on Trimming $1.5 Million Deficit

Pamlico News Staff

 

BAYBORO - Following the initial round of county department budget requests for the coming year, the Pamlico County Commissioners began the annual job of analyzing its upcoming spending plan on Monday.

As has been the case in recent years, the requests for operational expenses, capital items and merit raises played a part in what is a $1.5 million deficit projection of 2015-16 revenues versus expenses.

The board met in a special workshop Monday morning for more than two hours, hearing reports from County Manager Tim Buck and staff.

The commissioners heard that the current budget year projections are pretty much on line, with revenues at 68.8 percent of budget, or about 11.2 million and tax collections at 78 percent at the midyear mark of the current year.

The board begins its budget planning early each year in advance of a July 1 deadline for a new budget and tax rate.

Buck said the figures include allocations in the current $16.5 million budget, and folded the addition initial requests into it.

He noted that the preliminary report is minus any additional requests from the public schools, community college or any outside agencies that receive county funds.

Among the 201516 requests are $670,000 in capital or building requests, $76,000 for merit raises, $181,500 for eight potential new positions and $168,600 in other requests from the sheriff and election offices.

The board also discussed a possible cost of living raise for employees, a measure that was reinstated this current fiscal year after several years without county workers getting a COLA.

An early percentage that was mentioned for county raises in the Monday meeting was 2 percent, which would cost the county $120,000.

The projected $18 million in overall expenditures produced the shortfall which the board, Buck and staff will work on in the coming months.

The board also heard an update on revenues from the rental of jail bed spaces, which in recent years has been around the $1 million mark, a figure above projections.

Another area of expense the board directed Buck to explore is that of county-paid health insurance for employees.

The eight new position requests the board will ponder included two from the sheriff’s department for telecommunications, a real property appraiser for the tax office, a senior services aid, an assistant Emergency Management Director/Fire Marshall, a public buildings maintenance worker and two ground technicians for the seasonal work in public buildings.

Some of the big ticket items in the capital requests to be considered included $200,000 for continued courthouse renovations (Phase II) and $100,000 for replacement of air conditioning systems in the Department of Social Services in Alliance and the Law Enforcement Center in Bayboro.

The requests included nine new vehicles, spread among animal control, the senior center, Social Services, the water department and sheriff’s office.

The board looked at 32 requests for merit raises or reclassification, totaling $76,000. It was the consensus of the commissioners that decisions on those would come later as the budget comes together and after a decision was made on cost of living raises. The increases ranged from less than 1 percent to 25 percent pay hikes.

The board also had $168,000 in “other significant expenditure requests,” which included $10,000 to digitize real estate books in the Register of Deeds office for the years 1872 to 1954.

The major item in that listing was $158,600 for training in the sheriff’s department. Buck explained that the new Sheriff Chris Davis was consolidating all training items previously spread through the budget into one request.

The commissioners were given information on requests, with explanation of requests as part of a packet of more than 200 pages to review.

The board will hold another workshop in February or March.

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Local Delta Waterfowl Chapter Supports “Patriot Hunt”


 

By Deborah Dickinson

Pamlico News Staff

 

Six “Warriors” headed to Pamlico County last week courtesy of the Coastal Carolina Delta Waterfowl for a duck hunting excursion they will not soon forget. 

The “Warriors,” our wounded servicemen, spent the week hunting in private impoundments and on the big water as part of Patriot Hunts. Patriot Hunts, founded in 2007, is dedicated to providing outdoor experiences for Wounded Warriors. According to Ken Bernard, Founder and CEO of Patriot Hunts, the Coastal Carolina Delta Waterfowl reached out to the organization two years ago and has been an advocate of providing these injured soldiers the chance to enjoy the sport of duck hunting. “Our primary mission is to provide an outdoor adventure for injured soldiers and for Gold Star Families (families that have lost a loved one), and I can’t say enough about this chapter of the Delta Waterfowl and their generosity,” said Bernard. “We as outdoorsman have so many resources available to us and we want to share some of those precious resources with these soldiers, to help them mentally and physically cope with their injuries,” he added.

The week-long event culminated with the Third Annual Coastal Waterfowl Banquet held at the Shiners’ Club in Grantsboro. With over two hundred and fifty in attendance, organizers deemed the event a huge success. Because of the generosity of over twenty-six sponsors and eighteen donors, attendees were treated to a full dinner, refreshments, a chance to bid on a variety of donated items through a silent auction and raffles.

Patriot Hunts was the vision of Bernard and his wife, Pam, both from military families. As an avid outdoorsman, Bernard began to see the need for getting injured servicemen involved in the outdoors. “I wanted to introduce every wounded soldier that was interested in the outdoors to have a chance to go out and experience it,” he said.  Bernard is an avid water fowler himself and a proud Life Sponsor for Ducks Unlimited here in North Carolina. According to Bernard, the need for events like this and the amount of therapy it provides in the recovery of these soldiers is immeasurable. He implores any chapter or individual who owns, leases or belongs to a hunt club, or someone that loves to duck hunt and is interested in hosting some of these brave soldiers to contact Patriot Hunts. He promises you that your chapter or hunting club will remember and enjoy hosting some of these wounded warriors for a long time. 

Chris Williams, Senior Regional Director of the Delta Waterfowl Foundation, thanked local organizers for their commitment to the event and continued service to the Delta Waterfowl. Local member and chairman of the Delta Waterfowl, Dustin Turnage, had the opportunity to experience first-hand the effect that this event had on those that have sacrificed so much. “We have teamed up with Patriot Hunts for the past two years and hand-picked veterans who have been hurt or injured in active duty and we are paying it back. This experience has been so rewarding. It is our duty to take the time to help give back to those soldiers who have sacrificed so much,” said Turnage. Delta Waterfowl Secretary and organizer, Chris Broughton did not realize the direction his involvement in Patriot Hunts would take him. “I have made friendships that will last a life time and giving back to those that have sacrificed so much is fulfilling both in my heart and my mind,” he said gratefully. For more information regarding Patriot Hunts please visit www.PatriotHunts.com.

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Arapahoe landmark, Still “All in the family” 


 

By Ben Casey

Special to The Pamlico News

 

A recent event at Belangia’s Supermarket in Arapahoe, when compared to the legendary Eugenia Duke, creates a stark contrast between the history of such a favorite on Southern “mater” sandwiches and the history of Pamlico County’s two remaining iconic grocery markets. 

In 1917, Eugenia Duke began selling sandwiches to soldiers from an army base near her home in Greenville, SC. It didn’t take long for the sandwiches to make history, not because of the sandwich filing, but because of her homemade mayonnaise. Soon she was bottling and selling mayonnaise. Her business grew to the point that she even purchased a delivery truck.

But just 12 years later, in 1929, Eugenia Duke chose a path quite different from the road traveled by Elmo Belangia in Arapahoe and Ruth Ireland in Oriental. Eugenia sold her homegrown mayonnaise operation to the CF Sauer company. No more Eugenia in every jar.

Reminds one of Cates Pickles, the cucumber giant just down the road from Mt. Olive in the little town of Faison, NC. Before I-40, travelers from Goldsboro to Wilmington on US 117 passed Mt. Olive just before finding scores of the Cates company trucks parked by the railroad tracks which were parallel to the highway. 

The Chicago Tribune reported in August of 1989 that Chicago Based Dean foods was absorbing the familiar, privately owned family pickle company for $29.8M. Chicago is not just 1404 km from Faison, it is a world away from Duplin and Wayne Counties. 

Elmo Belangia and his wife, Leah, opened his general store in Arapahoe in 1936, 79 years ago. There was a change in management for the grocery market recently, but not due to a take-over by an out-of state mega grocery empire. Craig Belangia, Elmo’s great grandson, took the helm from his grandfather, Winifred “Wimpie” Belangia. In true family form, Wimpie had operated the store with his wife Janice.

Though just about everyone from Arapahoe still refers to the store as Elmo’s, they can certainly still refer to it as Belangia’s and be not just politically correct, but totally correct.

The first store, a combination gas station, grocery store, meat market, and farm supply store, also sold hardware, paint, work clothes and tires. “Today we feel we can provide just about anything the large grocery stores sell. We purchase most of our inventory from a large grocery supplier out of Hickory, NC. They also supply the Lowe’s Food Stores, IGA stores, and Piggly Wiggly,” the new manager, Craig, noted.”

Looking back on the evolution of the business, he added, “My great grandfather, Elmo, was only 19 when he opened the store. He still worked here on a limited basis until he died in 2004. My grandfather stated here full time about 1964, not long after graduating from Pamlico County High School. He managed the store until recently when some health issues forced him to drastically cut back on the time he could spend here. 

“The store we have now, across the road from right near where we used to be, opened in 1974, but that was 6 years before I was born. In 1989 this store was enlarged to its present size. I started working here in 1998, 17 years ago.”

Craig observed that he was fortunate to have been working here while both his great-grandfather, Elmo, and his grandfather, Wimpie were working together. “My great grandfather always made a point of saying, “There is always something you could or should be doing to take care of business. And never forget, if it were not for your customers, you would not be here.”

Reflecting on the store’s place in the greater Arapahoe community, strategically located on NC 306 just four miles form the Minnesott Ferry and Camp Camp Seagull , also just three miles from Camp Sea Farer, Craig said, “It’s a good feeling to be able to do what we do, provide special and personal service to our customers. Our meat department still fills special orders with special cuts. We can also special order meats, something that many large stores can’t do.”

What made a young man want to manage a family grocery store in an environment characterized by the encroachment of the big box stores?

 

I want to be around for 

the 100th Anniversary. 

“I know what the challenge is before me. But it is such a good feeling to know that I have the chance to continue a family service to a community where my great grandfather was born almost a hundred years ago. Next year, the store will have been here 80 years. I want to be around for the 100th anniversary. That will happen if we can be partners with our customers like we have since Day One.”