Langley: county facing challengesPublished 6:34pm Friday, November 2, 2012
There’s more than just one prevalent issue in Beaufort County, said Jerry Langley, a Democrat seeking one of the four seats on the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners that are up for grabs this election cycle.
“It’s hard to pin down one issue as the No. 1 because when you think about the economy, you think about the need for jobs here, but at the same token, we understand that the jail is almost in crisis mode,” Langley said. “The jail could cost us a lot of money if certain things were to happen. You could have an inmate who got hurt in the jail, and then the county probably would make him a millionaire. Or, you have one of your detention officers get hurt, and then you still have that same liability. To me, it’s extremely important that we move forward on the jail rather quickly,” Langley said.
When it comes to providing incentives to companies or industries seeking to come to the county or to existing companies and industries in the county, Langley believes some incentives may be necessary.
“I don’t say we need to totally get away from incentives because that would not allow us to be competitive, but I think we have to be careful how we indemnify businesses that come here,” he said. “My thoughts are I want to see what our new (Economic Development Commission) director thinks and what kind of ideas does he bring and what has seen work where he’s come from. I don’t think — I’ll say what my fellow commissioners say — “corporate welfare” is really the right way because I think a lot of businesses have taken advantage of it. They come get their money, then they run. So we have to safeguard against that and make sure the ones we do have incentives for that they are here for the long haul. As far as helping our local businesses, I’m all for that if we can find the right avenues to do that.”
Langley said he knows where a new jail should be built.
“I’ve always said from day one it needs to move,” Langley said. “I think it should be outside the city limits. … My ideal vision is this: the county has 25 acres sitting outside the city limits. We take the jail and the new sheriff’s office and set them at the very back of it. From that time forward, any building that we need to replace, it goes there. If you look at our courthouse now, it’s dilapidated. The day they moved into the courthouse, it was already outdated, inadequate. We cannot continue to make those same mistakes over and over again.”