In This Article: Is there a dangerous budget crisis and money shortage looming for Carteret County Commissioners in NC as it relates to new infrastructure, expansion, and other services?
Published: February 17, 2020.
Readers are encouraged to share this article on Facebook and Twitter so that others can join the conversation and to start thinking about the future as we inch closer and closer to Interstate 42 being completed.
Additionally, we hope you will use the discussion form below to engage us and other readers on intellectual talks regarding budget money for things like schools, the jail, a new bridge, street and highway upgrades, and the possibility of having to build a new hospital just to name a few.
This section will be reserved for new developments on this topic that happen after publication.
Where Do We Get The Money?
In thinking about the upcoming elections in Carteret County, and more specifically about the commissioners and board of education candidates, I had an epiphany this past weekend. We potentially have a very dangerous looming budgeting crisis that could affect many services and residents.
If you remember, it was just last year that we were wrangling over keeping one local high school open ( MaST ), and this year it’s dealing with issues just at White Oak Elementary.
In my frustrations with the current state of education funding and teacher pay in our county, I was trying to resolve and flush out my feelings on which candidates could will lead us in to the future.
And, I must admit, in my reflections, I considered which current politicians, commissioners, and education board members got us in the predicament we now face.
But then I read today’s news about Sheriff Asa Buck needing $27 to $40 million dollars to either expand the current jail or build a new one, and I suddenly had a realization.
Is it possible that nobody locally in Carteret County is responsible for the budget and money problems we have experienced lately?
Consider the following:
In the past 2 years, as county residents and leaders, we wrestled with money issues related to Hurricane Florence and Dorian, MaST funding, and repairs to existing schools. Just these four issues caused quite a bit of consternation and deliberation, if not crisis.
Now, we are looking at the possibility of having the following on-board within the next 13 years to meet the demands of the new population and growth that IS COMING whether we like it or not.
- Building a new hospital and recruiting doctors and other medical staff.
- Funding a new jail or expanding the current one.
- Upgrades and renovations to existing schools, and likely building one or two new ones.
- A new bridge to Bogue Banks.
- Municipal street improvements and widening.
- Upgrading sewer and water systems.
- New technologies.
- Figuring out beach nourishment and environmental issues while supporting the possibility of a 40% increase in new year-around residents within our static boundaries.
- Local municipality building expansions and services.
- Health department upgrades.
In two years, we haven’t been able to deal with funding one school, or getting mold, mildew, and plumbing dealt with at another school.
But we are going to somehow magically get the above new infrastructure in place within the next 10 to 13 years?
So back to my realization.
The powers that be in Raleigh are likely the problem. While we can argue about the pros and cons of the new Carteret County, CLEARLY nobody in Raleigh considered the budget and funding issues related to dropping the new Gallants Channel Bridge on us, and soon dropping a new interstate on us.
Now to the crisis.
Those in Raleigh can’t even find money to pay teachers well.
How are they going to find the money to put all the new infrastructure we referenced earlier in place in a relatively short period of time?
Let’s cut our local commissioners and board members some slack, regardless of which political party they belong to. I now have a better idea of what is going on. Our local commissioners, education board members, and others are shell shocked in their deliberations on funding all of the above.
They have a tremendous challenge ahead of them and if we don’t unite behind them regardless of politics, we are all going to potentially face a major money crisis and a shortfall to basic services in the county.
Now it’s your turn to use the discussion form below to challenge me on the looming budget and money concerns in the county.
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