It was a packed courtroom in Burgaw Thursday night, as Pender Commission Chair Jimmy Tate delivered his State of the County Address. He touched on several issues, and his underlying message was that Pender County is planning for the future despite tough times.
“We will have our own county water system in 24 months; we are looking forward to the water plant opening. That’s going to be a new day for economic development in our county,” said Tate.
With cosmetic company Coty recently announcing cutbacks at its Rocky Point plant, Tate said the county will work with Coty employees to help them find jobs. “We are now aggressively, very aggressively, looking at other businesses and already are in possibly discussions of bringing businesses here to our county.”
Residents who attended came with specific topics in mind. Burgaw resident Alex Dobson said, “One of the biggest issues for me right now is the tax situation, knowing where we are with that and how our money is being spent.”
“Growth is the biggest issue as far as Pender County is concerned,” said Barbara Baker of Burgaw. “That they’re going to do it in a controlled manner and be able to support the growth that they do receive.”
Tate stressed the importance of raising the quality of life and standard of living in order to keep the county moving forward. “I feel quite good about Mr. Tate’s explanation of where we are and where we’re going and I think it’s kudos to the county commissioners as far as being able to hold the line,” Baker said.
Tate said a strong relationship between Pender County and community colleges will help the job force. He also said the board of commissioners understands the importance of a high quality education for the county’s students to be able to compete globally.