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Washington County officials lay out needs for Dole

By Staff
Thank senator for help against OLF
By DAN PARSONS
Staff Writer
Washington County officials got a chance Saturday to talk face-to-face with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole during a stop on her brief tour of eastern North Carolina this past weekend.
Billy Corey, chairman of the Washington County Board of Commissioners and County Manager David Peoples met with the senior senator to discuss their gratitude for her help at the federal level and to address some needs. Earlier in the afternoon, Dole toured Beaufort County Hospital in Washington.
The meat of the conversation focused on public works and economic development issues the county is wrestling with, according to Peoples. Last year Dole helped secure $1 million in federal funding for the construction of sewer lines in Washington County. That money hasn’t reached the county yet because a funding source hasn’t been identified, Peoples said.
The county already has an industrial park but only 12 acres are vacant, according to Peoples.
The pair also expressed a need for a remote health clinic in the eastern portion of the county. All of the medical services in Washington County are based in Plymouth, on the western fringe of the county. That makes for “terrible response times” for emergency medical services to the county’s eastern end, Peoples said.
They also talked with Dole about the need for a north-south transportation corridor stemming from U.S. Highway 64 to provide quicker access for commercial traffic to areas such as Norfolk, Va.
Some of that funding could come through the economic stimulus package recently proposed by President Bush. Versions of the plan include spending for rural infrastructure needs and others do not, Peoples said. It is in the best interest of Washington County that a version is passed that includes money for county infrastructure, he said.
Corey said he suggested the Senator work on ways to lower fuel costs as a way to help both the local and national economy.