The recently approved state budget represents a monumental win for Duplin County providing millions of dollars toward improvements and growth.

KENANSVILLE — The recently approved State Budget marks a historical precedent for Duplin County as it will provide more than $52 million in funds to support the improvement, growth and development of the county.

“This is huge for Duplin County,” said Carrie Shields, Economic Development Commission director as she shared some of the highlights Duplin County will receive:

  • Duplin County Sheriff’s Office will receive $21,300,000 for a detention facility.
  • James Sprunt Community College will receive $9 million.
  • Duplin County Emergency Management Facility will receive $7 million.
  • Wallace will receive $6 million for infrastructure upgrades.
  • $4 million is allocated toward a North Carolina Forestry Service Region One Headquarters that will be build adjacent to the airport.
  • The Duplin County Events Center will receive $500,000 for parking lot construction
  • The Town of Faison will receive 320,000 for infrastructure upgrades to their water and sewer system
  • The Duplin County Health Department will receive $140,700 for building repairs
  • The Duplin County Veterans Museum will receive $62,500, of which $37,500 will be for an elevator and $25,000 for a mural
  • Duplin County Services for the Aged will receive $2 million
  • Duplin County will receive $1 million for the Northeast Cape Fear Riverbank restoration project

According to Shields, the Northeast Cape Fear Riverbank restoration project will help prevent flooding in the future with funds going toward dredging and clean up.

“With two back-to-back catastrophic hurricanes that have demolished our county in so many ways, this is just one step to help clean that up, and ensure that we do what we can to prevent flooding in the future,” she said.

Shields also spoke about the $2 million appropriations that will help address the needs of the Duplin County Services for the Aged to better serve the needs of Duplin’s senior citizens. The 3,600 square-foot building currently in use was built in 1875 and is in need of repairs.

“(It) does not allow for the agency to obtain any kind of a senior center or any kind of a Merit of Excellence for certification, so that really kinda handicaps us,” said Shields. “And of course with COVID-19 the demand has increased 56% for nutrients and deliveries.”

“We are just over (the) capacity,” said Shields. “The building there is in much disrepair and it definitely needs a new location.”

According to Shields, the Duplin County Services for the Aged Senior Center will be at the Duplin Commons along with the new Duplin County Emergency Operations Center.

“Underway right now, we have a new animal control facility — that has received funding — that will be built there as well as a new transportation center,” said Shields.

The Duplin Commons is slated for Duplin County government growth and is an area where residents will see a lot of development.

“We’ve never seen anything quite like this,” said Shields. “We are very grateful for Senator Brent Jackson and Representative Jimmy Dixon.”

The Duplin Times approached Dixon for comments.

“For many decades Duplin was a one Party only county always voting straight Democrat ballots. We have changed that over the last decade and we now have a seat and a strong voice on the Appropriation Committee,” said Dixon. “This budget is a reflection of our strong Republican efforts in the General Assembly.”

Dixon shared that the funding will be available as soon as the state budget is certified, which takes about a month. “The monies will be available on some predetermined construction drawdown schedule as the county proceeds with these projects,” Dixon added.

As we move into 2022, there will be more details released about the above-mentioned allocations. Among other changes people can expect to see with the approval of the state budget are 5% raises for nearly all state employees over the next two years and a lower personal income tax rate of 4.99% in 2022.

Ena Sellers may be reached at esellers@ncweeklies.com