North Carolina’s new budget may have taken a bit longer than usual to get over the finish line. But its ratification on Friday has still been warmly cheered on by many local authorities, who are in line to receive a share of the nearly $30 billion which is parceled out in this new spending plan.
In Alamance County, the new budget’s passage has opened the flood gates for more than $48 million in allocations and grants that are to be distributed during the two year period covered by the state’s spending plan.
According to state senator Amy Scott Galey, whose district includes Alamance County along with a portion of Randolph, these outlays will “help our communities prosper and thrive” as they strain to meet the growing demands on their financial resources.
Among the state budget’s most significant boons for Alamance County are line items that will enable the local courts system to hire a public defender and a fifth district court judge. The General Assembly’s approval of these two positions has now left county officials casting about for the office space to accommodate these forthcoming new hires [See separate story in this edition].
In another direct allocation to Alamance County, the state has agreed to give the county’s leaders $750,000 to dole out among local nonprofit organizations.
Other nonprofits are slated to receive direct allocations in the state budget. Many of these subsidies fall under the category of arts and culture, including a $50,000 allocation for Alamance Arts; $25,000 for the Alamance County Historical Museum; $25,000 for the African-American Cultural Arts and History Center in Burlington; $150,000 for the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina to restore water towers in Alamance County; $500,000 for the Alamance Battleground to fund additional staff over two years; and $40,000 for Studio One in Burlington to stage outdoor theatrical performances.
The state’s newly-ratified budget also includes plenty of funds for public facilities and infrastructure in Alamance County. These allocations include $14 million from the state’s transportation reserve to fund capital improvements at the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport; $6.1 million to pay for capital improvements and equipment purchases at Haw River’s fire department; $1 million over two years to fund capital improvements or equipment at Gibsonville’s police department; $100,000 for downtown revitalization in Mebane, $600,000 for the same purpose in Graham; $500,000 for a proposed renovation and expansion of Burlington’s Paramount Theater; $50,000 for a new municipal building in Ossipee; $100,000 for recreation and parks in Burlington; and $350,000 for capital improvements and equipment related to recreation and parks in Green Level.
Also on the right side of the ledger are some $11.2 million in grants for an assortment of water and sewer projects in a number of the county’s cities and towns. These utility-related outlays include $6 million the city of Burlington, of which $500,000 is explicitly set aside to address PFAS contamination in the city’s water supply; $2 million for Elon; $3 million for Mebane; $200,000 for the Village of Alamance; and $2 million for Gibsonville – half of which is earmarked for an elevated water tank, with the remainder allotted for a water line connector along NC 61.
Alamance Community College
Another beneficiary of the state budget is Alamance Community College, which is slated to get $500,000 for its Dillingham Center, $750,000 to study and plan for a regional advanced technology center, $100,000 for student support, and $5.5 million for a new emergency services training center that ACC has in the works in the town of Green Level.
This final allocation has a special significance to Galey, who notes that the $5.5 million is explicitly earmarked for an indoor firing range that had been in danger of getting cut from the training center’s plans because its expected cost had exceeded the proceeds of a bond package that’s paying for the rest of the project.
Meanwhile, the funds for the firing range aren’t the only items in the state budget that are near and dear to the heart of the county’s state senator.
Fire departments and miscellaneous
“I’m also excited about [a package of grants worth another] $800,000 for the volunteer fire departments,” she told The Alamance News. “The volunteer fire departments use a lot of consumables, and that $800,000 will be spread around eight departments to help pay for that.”
Aside from helping to subsidize these semi-independent rural fire departments, the state budget also includes $250,000 for Alamance County rescue; $350,000 for Family Abuse Services; $20,000 for the ARC of Alamance to fund playground equipment for children with developmental disabilities; and $650,000 over two years to provide the Alamance-Burlington school system with Amplio Learning Technology for special needs children.