Columbus County to receive millions of dollars from state budget

Southeastern Community College will be getting a large chunk of this money as part of the focus in education.
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 6:40 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 2:20 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper’s new state budget will send millions of dollars to Southeastern North Carolina.

Elected leaders in Columbus County held a press conference in Whiteville Friday morning to talk about the changes that many people will see throughout the county.

Representative Brenden Jones met with leaders over the past few months to talk about what the needs are for the county and how this funding can potentially help with improvement throughout the community.

“This budget keeps us on track to continue our recovery and make historic yet responsible investments in education, healthcare, infrastructure and savings,” said Jones. “Additionally, there is significant funding for disaster relief and flood mitigation.”

Jones highlighted the focus on education.

“Every single teacher will receive a 5% pay raise,” he said.

Others that will see pay raises include healthcare workers and officers and staff with the Department of Corrections.

“They have been ignored for far too long so this budget will be a new pay scale for them,” Jones said.

The funds will impact public safety and education.

Southeastern Community College President Chris English said higher education will benefit from a large chunk of the money, which will be used to enhance employment opportunities and fund building updates.

“Training at Southeastern Community College and partnerships with Columbus County Schools and Whiteville City Schools — we’re going to create a pathway to employment for better jobs,” said English. “We’re so excited but not only for $14 million — we get $6.7 million in renovations. It means new classrooms, external technology in classrooms, new programs that we’re developing right now all because of the support coming from Representative Jones.”

Also allocated within that $175 million is “significant amounts for municipalities like Tabor City, Chadbourn, Whiteville, Lake Waccamaw so they can use those for capital improvements that they’ve needed for decades,” Jones said.

In a statewide effort to get everyone access to high-speed internet, Columbus County will receive a portion of the $1 billion dollars allocated for that.

“We have stood together shoulder to shoulder, we have cried, we have laughed through the storms. This will bring a much-needed boost back to the citizens of our county,” Jones said. “This is one of the most impactful pieces of legislation in our community for decades. This is monumental. This is not one man’s doing, it was not a General Assembly’s doing, this was a community effort.”

In total the county will receive $57.2 million. Here is a complete list of where the money is going:

  • Columbus County Sheriff’s Office: $10 million
  • EMS/911 Center: $5 million
  • Columbus County Historic Courthouse: $4 million
  • Columbus County Municipal Airport: $7 million
  • Columbus County Garage: $250,000
  • Southeastern Community College: $20.7 million
  • Town of Lake Waccamaw: $2.5 million
  • Town of Tabor City: $2.95 million
  • City of Whiteville: $2 million
  • Town of Chadbourn: $200,000
  • Town of Fair Bluff: $2.55 million

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