Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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State budget has millions for Alamance projects

Alamance County’s commissioners may not have been willing to part with any of their pandemic relief funds earlier this week in order to bankroll a crisis and diversion center for the mentally ill.

Yet, this long-time priority of the local sheriff’s office has nevertheless received some financial consideration in North Carolina’s latest annual budget, which also includes outlays for a number of other high-dollar initiatives that have been near and dear to officials in Alamance County.

The state’s spending plan, which cleared the state senate on Tuesday, is soon expected to reach the desk of Governor Roy Cooper, who has already announced his intent to sign the plan into law.

With more than $50 billion in allocations, the new budget is chock full of items that may never have seen the light of day if not for the infusions of federal funds that make up much of its anticipated revenues. It was, however, the Republican-led General Assembly that determined many of the budget’s disbursements, including the line items that would particularly benefit Alamance County.

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On Wednesday afternoon, state senator Amy Scott Galey, a Republican who represents Alamance County as well as a portion of Guilford, announced that she and her fellow Republicans had secured more than $70 million in outlays to fund “critical improvements” within her state senate district.

Among the items that Galey highlighted in her announcement is $15 million for a new EMS base that the county hopes to establish in Mebane, $15.7 million for a National Guard Regional Readiness Center in eastern Guilford County, $15,871,000 for economic development in the city of Burlington, $3,651,550 for lab equipment at Alamance Community College, and $500,000 for the sheriff’s proposed diversion center.

Galey’s announcement also alludes an allocation of $2.6 million for a “transload facility” in the city of Mebane. According to Mebane’s city manager Chris Rollins, these funds would presumably pay for upgrades to a rail spur at the North Carolina Industrial Center that will make it easier for businesses to unload cargo that’s delivered by rail.

“We were trying to get [a transload facility] five or six years ago when Cambro first went there,” Rollins went on to explain in an interview Wednesday. “But it never came together.”

Other allocations that appear in Galey’s announcement include $1 million for the Burlington-Alamance Airport, $2.4 million for the town of Elon, $3.75 million for the city of Graham, and $2 million for the Snow Camp fire department.

In her announcement, Galey credits Republican state representatives Dennis Riddell of Snow Camp, who represents the southern and western reaches of Alamance County, and Jon Hardister, whose state house district includes eastern Guilford County, for their help “in funding the needs” of her state senate district.

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