State of the County Address for 2016
I want to first thank my fellow Commissioners for the opportunity to serve as Chairman for another year. It is a privilege and honor to serve as Chairman for this Board. As you all know, this is also my last year serving on this Board and I want all of you to know that I will greatly miss serving as a County Commissioner. Serving the people of Johnston County as a County Commissioner has been a wonderful experience that will always be with me.
I think we can all agree that this Board generally deals with the present and future. As we work through the opportunities and issues in the County, we don’t tend to look back much; however, in my opinion, 2015 was a busy year with highlights worth reflecting on.
In my opinion, the most significant highlight of 2015 was the announcement of the Novo Nordisk expansion in Clayton. This historic announcement with an investment of approximately $1.8 billion and 700 new jobs at an average annual wage of $68,000 will be the largest bio-pharmaceutical project in the world to date. I would like to commend all our partners in Economic Development for working together to make this opportunity a reality in Johnston County. The benefits of this project will be felt in Johnston County for many years to come.
In another major economic development opportunity, the Board of Commissioners publicly supported the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project that is scheduled to cross our County in 5 years. The Board's support of the project was with the understanding that Johnston County citizens would be treated fairly and with respect during the land negotiations for the pipeline route and we will continue to voice that request.
In 2015, the Board held separate joint meetings with the Johnston County Board of Education and the Johnston Community College Board of Trustees regarding their capital needs planning. As always, we are very supportive of Johnston County Schools and Johnston Community College and we look forward to working together to meet some of their challenges in 2016.
Johnston County completed the disbursement of the recreation and open space funds to municipal and rural athletic associations to assist with their capital needs. I would like to see Johnston County consider placing the second-ever recreation bond referendum on the ballot by 2020 or earlier, as we recognize that recreational opportunities are very important for our citizens.
In terms of public safety, the County partnered with Johnston Health to start a new community paramedic program which is a proactive step in health care delivery. The Board also approved the construction of the new Princeton EMS building and our 911 Communications Center began accepting text messages for emergencies in 2015.
Early in 2015, several County officials met with our judicial and law enforcement partners to begin the process of a space needs study. That study was recently completed and presented to the Board and I have asked that this report be further discussed at our annual work session to be held on March 4, 2016.
In closing, 2015 was a great year. Johnston County is financially sound and living within its means. We stress two numbers in our financial planning: 78 cents tax rate and a minimum 15% fund balance. That is the template for everything we do financially. For 2016, I would ask that we continue to focus on economic development, our bond ratings, support for our local education partners, and public safety. If we can do that, everything else will fall into place and Johnston County will be better than ever in 2016.
I personally look forward to an exciting 2016!
|© 2016 Johnston County Government