$2B State Bill Gets Local Support
Governor Pat McCrory’s proposal to borrow about $2 billion to repair and expand the state’s infrastructure is getting positive feedback from local leaders and community colleges throughout the state including right here in Pamlico County.
"The Connect NC Bond Act affords the citizens of North Carolina the opportunity to vote on a bond referendum that if passed would provide much needed money to repair, renovate, and modernize facilities to educate North Carolinians well into the 21st century,” said Mark Pullium, VP of Administrative Services at Pamlico Community College. “These funds would allow Pamlico Community College to continue offering state of the art learning experiences for the work-force of today and tomorrow,"
This referendum, to appear on the March 15 ballot, marks the first statewide bond question on the ballot since 2000.
According to McCrory, almost two million more people call North Carolina home since then. The funds will be used to construct new government and university buildings, infrastructure upgrades, expansions and other projects.
McCrory held the signing at Lenoir Community College and explained to the audience of local leader and policiticians that $350 million of the $2 billion bond would be split among all 58 community colleges in the state. The General Assembly directs $1.3 billion of the proceeds to 14 specific University of North Carolina campus projects and for work on all 58 of community college campuses.
McCrory emphasized the importance of repairing, renovating, and maintaining public infrastructure at places like community colleges, universities, parks, and National Guard facilities and described the measure as a “strategic investment that would make the state more attractive to both businesses and residents.
"This is where we're going to focus our money on. It's very strategic to future economic development and jobs and where we're spending our education dollars,” stated McCrory.
The bond referendum will require no new taxes and voters will have the opportunity to vote for or against it on the March 15th ballot.
“So we have a choice in North Carolina: Do we continue to prepare for growth or do we react to growth?” the governor said. “I’m convinced that those who prepare win the competition for quality of life and economic development in the future. Those who stagnate and don’t continue to invest and prepare for that growth will suffer in quality of life, and economic development and jobs. This is not a state that stagnates.”
McCrory said a bond campaign team is forming and will spend the months between now and the election promoting the bonds across the state. “We’re going to be traveling throughout the state to educate people on the investment in the future of North Carolina,” he said.
According Pamlico County Commisssioner, Paul Delamar III, the bond issue was modified a couple of times as is went through legislation at at this point Pamlico County has not identified the specific projects that might qualify under its terms.
“As I understand it there are only certain types of infrastructure projects that can be funded. For instance, I believe community college capital projects can be covered. Our greatest needs at present are water related (the Reelsboro area needs significant work to improve pressure), and I don’t have confirmation that those are included. Also, the courthouse itself is badly in need of renovation—something we’ve already started working on--so I would hope we could access funds from the proposed bond for those repairs,” said Delamar.
At this point, the county staff is in the process of evaluating the County’s needs and determining if the most pressing ones can be funded out of bond proceeds if it passes when voted upon.