PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - In a letter sent last month, the ABC Board had decided to withhold quarterly net profits earned by the board that’s usually distributed to the county and its six municipalities.
According to the letter sent to the county, Atkinson, Burgaw, St. Helena, Surf City, Topsail Beach, and Watha, the decision was made at the board meeting in November 2019. The purpose of the decision is to “reallocate the net profits and commit them towards the ABC Board’s plan to purchase property to construct a new combine retail store, warehouse, and administration office facility to replace the current combined facility located at 207 U.S. Highway No. 117 Bypass, Burgaw, North Carolina.”
According to Pender County Manager Chad McEwen, the county and all six municipalities are opposed to this decision.
At a meeting on Feb. 6, the board decided to distribute the profits, like usual but has plans to eventually withhold them once negotiations and loan agreements go through for the new ABC location.
The mayor of Atkinson, Wendell Newkirk, said the money is crucial for his small town’s finances.
“We need it," said Newkirk. “The town of Atkinson, we’re out here and we’re the little house on the prairie, is what I call it. The small town with a big heart. We’ve done give so much, it’s time to start giving back to us.”
Newkirk says the money could be used to help fix the town’s ongoing drainage issues, among other things.
“Using the money towards getting our parks squared away," said Newkirk "Which is not up to par, but it’s getting there.”
WECT spoke to the board’s attorney who said there is no exact time for when the board will begin withholding those funds, but this is a chance for the county and towns to rework their budgets.
The ABC Board’s next meeting is Thursday, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m.