Johnston County Board
of Commissioners


report from Sept. 7 sessions

All commissioners present: Chairman Chad Stewart, Tony Braswell,
Ted Godwin, Patrick Harris, Butch Lawter, Fred Smith,
Larry Wood

UPDATES ON RENT & MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE

County Finance Director Chad McLamb gave the board an update on two federally funded programs providing COVID-19 relief: one to help households meet monthly rent and utility bills, the other for homeowners needing help with mortgage payments.

He said 630 applications have been approved so far for $1,679,574 from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, with almost $12 million remaining in Johnston County's coffers for immediate aid, while $363,976 of about $900,000 available has been processed for 265 applicants for mortgage assistance.

Mr. McLamb said a campaign was launched this week to make Johnstonians aware of the larger rental program. Information on eligibility plus a link to making application is posted online>



COUNTY'S FIRE MARSHAL GETS N.C. RECOGNITION

The board recognized Johnston County Fire Marshal Adam Stanley, recently honored by the N.C. Society of Fire and Rescue Instructors as its 2021 "Instructor of the Year" (he's pictured on the right in a screenshot from live-streaming of Monday morning's session).

On a related matter, commissioners adopted a resolution proclaiming September 5-11 as Firefighters Week in Johnston County. This year's observance coincides with the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington,D.C. as well as the downing of a commercial airliner in rural Pennsylvania that was likely targeting the U.S. Capitol.


COUNTY OKs $1,337,446 FOR GAS TO FOUR OAKS

Commissioners approved an agreement with Piedmont Natural Gas that contributes $1,337,446 in county funds for construction of an 8-inch pipeline from an endpoint near Carolina Packers almost three miles to a new endpoint at Four Oaks Middle School. The board had previously budgeted aid for the project as a step toward extending natural-gas service closer to potential industrial sites along I-95 at Four Oaks. Total cost of the project is estimated at $2.7 million.


APPOINTMENTS MADE TO FOUR BOARDS

Commissioners approved the following appointments:
Johnston County Board of Adjustment --- Art Watkins reappointed.
Livestock Arena Management Board --- Connor Edwin Peacock newly appointed.
Voluntary Agricultural District Advisory Board --- Jeremy P. Smith reappointed.
Hospital Authority Board --- David Mills and Dr. Marilyn Pearson confirmed by Commissioners' Chairman Chad Stewart as reappointments following concurrence from the current members of the Johnston Memorial Hospital Authority Board, which is chaired by County Commissioner Ted Godwin.
• Seven vacant positions on the county's Nursing Home/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Board remain unfilled because of a lack of applicants.


PRINCETON SEEKS AID FOR WATER PROJECTS

Commissioners heard a request from the Town of Princeton for $1,115,000 to help pay for storm-water and water-line projects identified by engineers as immediate priorities in light of recent flooding coupled with the town's residential growth.

Mayor Don Rains said the money could come from the county's allocation of American Rescue Act funds from the Federal Government. "We need to address resilience to climate change and weather patterns we've not seen in my lifetime," the mayor insisted.

Commissioners voiced support for Princeton's request but postponed a decision till the board's next meeting September 20. One reason for the delay is to give county staff time to make sure Princeton's project qualifies for the federal aid cited by Mayor Rains.


COVID SICK LEAVE FOR EMPLOYEES REINSTATED

Following a recommendation from County Manager Rick Hester, the board unanimously agreed to reinstate sick-leave pay for county employees temporarily forced from their jobs because of COVID-related issues. Put in place last year, the COVID leave policy had expired June 30. Tuesday's action makes it effective through December 31, with benefits retroactive to July 1. Mr. Hester said the COVID leave time is limited to a total of 80 hours.



REZONINGS FROM BUSINESS TO RESIDENTIAL

The board approved two "down-zoning" requests from owners of the properties following public hearings during the evening session that drew no opposition:
• A 2.56-acre tract at 3469 US 70 East in Pine Level Township was rezoned from General Business to Agricultural Residential.
• A 0.58-acre tract at 10294 Buffalo Road in Wilders Township was rezoned from Community Business Special Use District to Agricultural Residential.



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