Columbus County leaders approve giving boost to new small businesses

Columbus County leaders approve giving boost to new small businesses
Columbus County leaders want to hear the public’s opinions about a project aimed at helping new small businesses get their feet off the ground.

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Columbus County leaders unanimously approved a $60,000 economic development grant at Tuesday’s board of commissioners meeting.

Economic Development Director Gary Lanier asked the board to approve the grant, which will be used to build an entrepreneurial center for new business owners. Money will also go toward expanding affordable housing in the eastern and southern ends of the county.

County leaders said the project will grow the economy in the area by helping start-up businesses.

“This initiative, I think, will take Columbus County to the next level," Lanier said. "We’ve done a lot of work with our local industry and with getting empty buildings filled up but what has been lacking is, quite frankly, we need more housing. We’ve got a lot of people that with storm damage and everything are looking for affordable homes and we’re at very low inventory in Columbus County.”

Commissioners also unanimously approved the purchase of five 2015 Dodge Chargers, radio systems and car decals from the state Highway Patrol.

Republican challenger Jody Greene received 37 more votes than incumbent Lewis Hatcher after a hand recount was finalized on Nov. 30. Several Columbus County residents formally challenged the election results, and have appeals pending with the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

The case heads to court next month.

Before approving the purchase of the vehicles on Tuesday, commissioner Trent Burroughs said, “So I’m not civilly disobedient, this is for the sheriff’s department. It is not for Mr. Greene.”

Greene only spoke eight words while at the podium: “That is correct” and “thank you for your time.” He declined an interview request from WECT.

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