Council endorses new facility for Mid-East Commission

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Mid-East Commission’s proposal to build its new headquarters adjacent to the Beaufort County Health Department was endorsed by the Washington City Council during its meeting Monday.

The council voted 5-0 to support the project, which will not require any funds from the city. Existing membership dues from several local governments would be used to pay off the project’s debt. The Mid-East Commission, a regional planning organization that works with local governments in Beaufort, Pitt, Martin, Hertford and Bertie counties, is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on long-term financing for the proposed project.

“Unless they can get an informal commitment from their largest member governments, they don’t feel like they can move forward with the project,” City Manager Brian Alligood said.

The estimated cost of the project is $3 million.

The commission’s current headquarters facility, which it rents, is in Washington. The commission wants a new headquarters because it is outgrowing its existing facility. The commission and Beaufort County Board of Commissioners have talked about the county

In 2014, the county decided to proceed with a plan to allow the Mid-East Commission to build its new headquarters on the former Beaufort County Home site.

Under the plan, the land would be owned not by the commission but by the Mid-East Development Corp., the commission’s development entity.

Councilman Doug Mercer, chairman of the Mid-East Commission, said the commission has been renting space in the city since 1969. Currently, it pays about $145,000 a year in rent, he noted.

“We’ve looked at building a new building. The county has agree to donate the old nursing home site to us if we can secure the financing,” Mercer said. “We’ve run into a small snag there in that the State Historic Preservation Office has some interest as to whether that should be a historic property or not. We’re working through that.”

The mission of the Mid-East Commission is to enhance the ability of local governments to successfully improve the quality of life for area citizens. The commission, in an effort to facilitate positive local and regional change, provides leadership in technical assistance, planning, program management and development and public-private partnerships.




About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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