To the good people in Craven County east of the Neuse River utilizing the county library in Havelock, you may have noticed that approximately half of the computers work and that the other half are extremely slow. Unfortunately, this exemplifies a failure of the Craven County government’s ability to provide an acceptable level of service.
Last year Craven County reported pulling out of the regional library system. It is of opinion, this posturing actually related to personality and not performance issues county officials had with the head librarian. Once a decision was made for that person to retire, the county’s letter of intent was withdrawn. At the time, the county stated they could save money and run libraries more efficiently, a question for you to judge.
This year’s county library funding is approximately $65,000 more than last year. This may not seem like much, but consider Havelock, Vanceboro and Cove City combined only receive approximately $3,700 of that $65,000. Based upon such county allocation, this should make one angry and seriously question why all of the Havelock library’s computers are not working.
Funding requests were submitted to Chairman (Scott) Dacey, Commissioners (Lee) Allen and (Theron) McCabe for assistance and a follow-up phone call made with the county manager. The only elected officials who replied were Allen and McCabe, who indicated they would look into it. The county manager responded there would be no new computers, but he would look to see if the county had any surplus and if so, the decision would be up to the board to consider. As of this writing, there has not been a response nor are there any indications of available county funding to assist in purchasing these computers.
Please note that these computers are not used for fun, but to do research, college testing, job applications, research announcements from local governments, search the web, etc. These libraries as stated by the Board of County Commissioners belong to the county. A question all must ask, is why Havelock only receives roughly 6.6 percent ($89,263) of the budget when the city has the second highest population in the county and the main library is getting 81.1 percent ($1,082,341) of the budget? That is $1,333,707 for the county. The remaining 12.3 percent ($162,100) is divided between two other sites with a combined population of less than 1,500 people. Is this math considered equal treatment for all?
Granted, all this sounds like sour grapes, but consider that citizens are not equally getting what they deserve and pay taxes to support. Why should the good citizens of Havelock, who are also good Craven County residents, be expected to contribute $50,000 of city taxes to support the county library and no other community does? You are paying twice, both county and city taxes. Why?
George Liner, Havelock
Editor’s note: George Liner is a Havelock commissioner.