Havelock commissioners expressed extreme dissatisfaction with Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget, citing what was called a "goose egg" for support of the military.
Commissioner George Liner said McCrory’s budget cuts money to the Clean Water Trust Fund and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, both of which have been used recently by the city.
The Clean Water Trust Fund and recreation fund helped secure property near Carolina Pines for a new city recreation park, which will prevent development of property that could encroach upon Cherry Point. Civilian encroachment of military bases has been often cited as a concern during Base Realignment and Closure discussions.
"That’s going to be a big hit for us because the Clean Water Fund money helps us here for the grants for the property that we’re buying up around the air field to assist Cherry Point," Liner said.
He also said that the state budget proposal has no money to support any lobbying efforts in the face of a possible BRAC.
"If you look at that budget, there’s no military assistance money for the next two years for the upcoming BRAC," he said. "We’re the most military friendly state in the union, but we can’t get any help from the state to protect the bases. I understand that we’re tight on money. The state is hurting, but if we lose one or more or any of these bases within Eastern North Carolina, it’s going to be a lot more than $500,000 (in losses)."
Havelock Mayor Jimmy Sanders said failing to help protect the state’s second largest industry doesn’t make sense.
"You would think that they would put more than $2 million in there to ensure that they stay open," he said.
Commissioner Danny Walsh said the state officials seem more concerned with drawing new business to the state than protecting the military.
"The other point is, what would he (McCrory) do if somebody like Dell came to town and said ‘I’ll open up,’" Walsh said. "‘Well here’s 35 or 40 million dollars."
Sanders was among the city representatives who recently took a lobbying trip to Washington to visit with federal officials and legislative leaders.
"It’s almost inconceivable that in a time with what we’re experiencing in Washington D.C. that the state of North Carolina apparently would take our military presence for granted," Sanders said.
Sanders offered to write a letter to area state representatives to voice concerns about the issue but said a resolution passed by the full board would carry more weight. Commissioners decided to have a resolution drafted for potential approval in two weeks at the board’s April 8 meeting.
In other business Monday night, the board:
-- passed a motion to approve a interim contract with retiring city manager Jim Freeman for $56,322 for a 52-week period beginning May 3. Minus benefits, Freeman’s old salary was $111,808 for the year. Freeman is retiring at the end of the month but said he would return to help the city until a permanent replacement for him is found.
-- passed a new sewer allocation policy adding flexibility with available capacity in light of the pending project to relocate the sewer plant discharge pipe from Slocum Creek to the Neuse River. The project is designed to increase sewer capacity initially from 1.9 million gallons per day to 2.25 million gallons per day. Ground-breaking is expected in mid April on the $11.1 million project.