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Archive for July, 2009

Still working on the state budget

Monday, July 13th, 2009

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The State Legislature is getting ready to reconvene in Raleigh Monday night; tops on their agenda is hammering out a state budget.

We are two weeks into the new fiscal year, and the state still does not have a budget.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks: just how big is the budget shortfall?

Even Whiteville’s Dewey Hill, Vice Chair of the House Finance Committee, does not know. “Looks like we might have somewhere between a $4.1 and $4.7 billion shortfall. And that’s with a ‘b’.”

Hill says the figure does not include more than a billion dollars of federal stimulus money, because that funding is for one time only.

Despite the differences on how to do the math, the House and Senate have agreed how to spend the money. The problem is how to pay for everything.

Last week, Governor Bev Perdue sent legislators some ideas including combining cuts in some personal and business income taxes with increasing the sales tax a penny for one year, taxing a host of services and a more taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

Both Hill and Carolyn Justice say the problem goes back to the funding of unnecessary projects during the stronger economy of the last decade.

Now, they say, it’s time for many of those programs to be cut and for lawmakers to learn some lessons about spending that are coming a little too late.

“I thought everybody would sit and look at each other and say, ‘oh, my gosh, the party’s over, it’s time to reinvent North Carolina, it’s time to reinvent the way we do a budget,’ but we didn’t do that,” Justice said.

Representative Dewey Hill says the negotiations about revenue will begin again tonight.

He says lawmakers could have a budget by the end of the weekend, but he also says the state will need another temporary spending measure after Wednesday until the budget is done.

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videoWe are two weeks into the new fiscal year, and the state still does not have a budget.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks: just how big is the budget shortfall?

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Holden Beach fires officer charged with driving while impaired

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Holden Beach | A Holden Beach police officer charged last week with driving while impaired has been fired, and the department is looking for his replacement.

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Brunswick Forest growing, but slowly

Monday, July 13th, 2009

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What lies behind the walls of Brunswick Forest? There’s still plenty of construction, but it is not growing as fast as developers hoped.

There’s more construction to come, but slowly. Sales in the development’s commercial-retail area called The Villages is at somewhat of a stand still; New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s outpatient facility still needs work; Hampton Inn, Lowes Foods, a movie theater, and CVS are committed to moving in, the question is when.

“With sales slowing, has caused us to extend those times out. Those agreements are still in place and we are still moving forward with those,” said sales director Jerry Helms.

BB&T bank is the only business up and running and doing well.

The Sheriff’s Department is opening a sub-station in the plaza, and Port City Java has plans for a coffee shop.

“Most people want the grocery store and they definitely want the movie theater because for us we go across the bridge to do everything for that,” said homeowner Ann Bigg.

Currently, Brunswick Forest has 540 families living in a development made for around 8,000.

The contracts with the new businesses are based on a minimum number homes sold, so until sales top the 700 mark, stores like Lowes Foods won’t be opening up.

“All the amenities that were promised are being taken care of, a little slower than we would like but there is not much to be done about that. It’s just a sign of the times and the economy,” said homeowner Chuck Maxwell.

Though the contracts between Brunswick Forest and stores are based on homeowners, the director says they encourage customers from outside to come in and enjoy what Brunswick Forest will have to offer.
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What lies behind the walls of Brunswick Forest? There’s still plenty of construction, but it is not growing as fast as developers hoped.

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Schools eliminate bus rides for some students

Monday, July 13th, 2009

By Chelsea KellnerChelsea.Kellner@StarNewsOnline.com

After-school athletes and open enrollment students are no longer provided with transportation in the 2009-10 budget passed by the New Hanover County Board of Education.

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Student’s family files lawsuit against Wishnask, 2 Williston administrators

Monday, July 13th, 2009

By Chelsea KellnerChelsea.Kellner@StarNewsOnline.com

The family of the student reportedly involved with an ex-Williston Middle School teacher has filed a lawsuit.

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