Commissioners present: Chairman
Ted Godwin, Tony Braswell, Jeff Carver,
Patrick Harris, Butch Lawter, Chad Stewart,
County agrees to underwrite
of park site in Cleveland
After rejecting a proposal for a
special tax district last month, Johnston's commissioners
on Monday unanimously approved a plan to help the Cleveland Community Parks and
Recreation Association acquire 82 acres near the
intersection of Matthews and Polenta roads for development
of a public park.
The county will provide $185,000 from its Recreation and
Open Space Fund:
• $100,000 to begin construction on 12 acres to be
• $85,000 to cover one year's interest on a $1.7-million
loan to purchase the remaining 70 acres.
The Open Space
money will come from assessments already collected from
real-estate developers in fast-growing Cleveland
That was one of several options presented to
commissioners Monday by Denton Lee on behalf of the
Cleveland association, which previously had secured an
option to purchase the site in hopes that a recreation tax
district could be established to buy the land and
construct a park there. The commissioners nixed the
tax-district idea following a couple of informal public
hearings where Cleveland residents were evenly split, for
Mr. Lee told the board on Monday that portions of the 12
acres to be developed immediately could be ready for use
as "practice fields" this fall. "This is an incredible
tract of land (for a park) in the center of our
community," he said.
County urged to make
a money maker, not an
Mike Buzard, owner of a local
commercial recycler of beverage bottles and cans, urged
County Commissioners to look into separating recyclable
materials that could be sold for revenue rather than
paying companies to haul away such stuff unsorted.
He said the Carolinas Recycling
Association recently rated Johnston County 78th out of
North Carolina's 100 counties in terms of cost-effective
"A lot of big business nowadays is anti-landfill," Mr.
Buzard said. If Johnston doesn't join the "green"
movement, it may find itself selling "single-stream
recycling" loads to other counties that are equipped to
sort through it, he warned.
Mr. Buzard suggested using prison labor to sort recycled
materials into "clean" categories that could be sold on
the open market whenever prices are favorable.
"With the right machinery and the right plan, you can make
money," he said.
His company, Beverage Destruction Services, is based off
Wal-Pat Road in Smithfield. Started in 2016, it presently
employs 22 and plans to hire additional workers soon. It
collects glass, plastic, and metal containers filled with
beverages that have "expired," empties them, and then
finds buyers for what's left.
Commissioner Tony Braswell said Rick Proctor, the county's
director of solid waste services, ought to look into Mr.
Buzard's suggestions and "give us a report."
4,400 TAX-REVALUATION APPEALS SO FAR
Administrator Jocelyn Andrews reported to
commissioners the Tax Office has handled 4,369
informal appeals of property revaluations issued to
taxpayers at the beginning of the year. The next
phase involves formal appeals before the county's
Board of Equalization and Review (April 25 is the
deadline to file for hearings before that board). As of 8 a.m. Monday, 49 requests for
formal appeals had been received, Ms. Andrews noted.
FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT APPOINTMENTS
Commissioners appointed or
reappointed the following persons to
boards that oversee fire departments in
districts throughout Johnston:
Bentonville --- Anthony Wayne Westbrook,
Christopher Scott Lee, Lewis Brian Lee.
Brogden --- Chadwick B. Ward, Allan
Daughtry, Melton A. Thompson.
Claytex --- Jimmy D. McLaurin Jr., Mark
Morris, Robert Brian Maynard.
50-210 --- Andy Mack Penny, Mark Knox,
Sidney E. Sauls.
PI-LE --- Eddie Hales, Rex M. Braswell,
Shoeheel --- Roger Johnson, Larry C.
Smithfield --- Jimmy B. Wood Jr., Ashley
Thanksgiving --- Gary Price, Raymond King,
West Johnston --- Jimmy Wilkins, Travis
Parrish, Timothy Godwin.
Selma --- Thomas E. White, John Talton.
Beulah --- Eric Boyette.
Nahunta --- Janelle Fiamingo.
Wilson's Mills --- William David Coman.
AIRPORT LINES UP GRANTS TOTALING $8 MILLION
Ken Starling, chairman of the Johnston County
Airport Authority, told commissioners the
airport will get more than $8 million in
recently awarded state and federal grants to
make various infrastructure improvements at
Johnston Regional Airport northwest of
Smithfield. While $6 million of that will
require no local match, the remaining $2
million will need a match of $200,000 (10
percent) from the county. Phil Lanier, the
airport's manager, said a recent study shows
Johnston's facility helps sustain 820 jobs,
$39 million in personal income, and produces
$5.2 million in annual state and local tax
Marie Watson, executive director
of Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, gave
a rundown of services provided by the regional
anti-poverty agency established here 53 years
ago, in 1966. Its Head Start program serves
333 pre-school children in Johnston and its
"crisis intervention" program this past year
helped 2,200 residents "keep the lights on" or
avoid eviction from their homes. The agency
offers "weatherization" assistance to
homeowners, provides help to homeless persons,
and has a new "Healthy Home" program in
cooperation with Blue Cross Blue Shield that
provides items like new carpet and "grab bars"
to make homes safer. "We are very committed to
helping low-income families," said Ms. Watson,
who has directed Community Action's work since
AMERICAN LEGION'S 100th ANNIVERSARY
Commissioners adopted a
resolution requested by the county's Veterans
Service Office honoring the American Legion on
the 100th anniversary of its establishment by
an act of Congress following World War I in
1919. The resolution notes that the
present-day American Legion in Johnston County
has 1,294 registered members in nine active
posts. Those are based in Smithfield (2),
Clayton (2), Benson, Four Oaks, Kenly, Pine
Level, and Selma.
RESOLUTION HONORS LOCAL RADIO ICON CARL
adopted a "Resolution of Honor" for Carl
Edward Lamm, "known as America's longest
continuous radio broadcaster" who
retired from his family's radio station
WTSB March 29 after 72 years on the air.
A member of the North Carolina
Association of Broadcasters' Hall of
Fame, Mr. Lamm was thanked for
"dedicating his life and career to
serving his community," including his
"Rotary Radio Day" program aired on his
previous station, WMPM, that raised
$350,000 for local charities over the
years. (Since his retirement, WTSB has
been leased to another operator; WMPM
went off the air earlier this year.)
Commissioners approved proclamations for:
• The Week of the Young Child, April 8-12,
requested by the Partnership for Children of Johnston
• National Public Safety Communicator's Week,
April 14-20, requested by the county's 911-Communications
• Spring Litter Sweep, April 13-27, requested by
the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Americans Month, May, requested by Johnston County
Community & Senior Services.
• Child Abuse Prevention Month, May, requested by
the county's Department of Social Services.
• Portofino Derby Classic Day, May 4, requested by
the Johnston Health Foundation.
SUBDIVISION'S STREETS ADDED TO STATE SYSTEM
Commissioners approved the addition of five streets in
Crystal Creek subdivision in Smithfield Township to
the state's road system for maintenance by NCDOT.
To read the board clerk's summary of
Monday's sessions, go here>