Letter to the Editor: July 27, 2014

Published 8:08 pm Saturday, July 26, 2014

To the editor:


Misconceptions – Beaufort County Public Safety Center


There are several misconceptions concerning the new Beaufort County Public Safety Center. I feel it is important that citizens be aware of these misconceptions.

The county is building a public safety center that will house a law enforcement center, 911 emergency communications center, emergency management and a county jail. The property will also house an evidence storage building and vehicle impound. The appearance of the facility will reflect that of an office building or school. It will be a very nice facility.

First misconception, the county is not building a federal prison and will not be housing federal prisoners. There will not be prisoners out in the yard in orange suits climbing over a fence with razor wire. The inmates will be housed in the facility, out of sight of the public at all times. There will be no mixing of inmates with the general public which takes place in the present facility. The facility is designed in compliance with 10A NCAC 14 J Section 1200, Standards for New Jail Design and Construction. These are North Carolina standards written specifically for county and local jails.

Second misconception, people stopping at the new rest stop will feel threatened because there is a jail across from the rest stop. By being across from the new law enforcement center and being well lit, the new rest stop will have none of the security issues that are present at the rest stop on Highway 17 in Craven County.

Third misconception, a new Chocowinity school should be built on the site, not a jail. No one in an official position has proposed a new public school anywhere in Beaufort County. It is my opinion, however, that Eastern Elementary School needs to be replaced or upgraded.

Fourth misconception, the attorneys will need to move their offices close to the new facility to visit their clients. The new facility will have remote video conferencing; the attorneys will be able to conference with their clients from their present office via way of computer. Facilities with remote conferencing indicate that the number of attorney visits increased due to remote video conferencing.

Fifth misconception, the courthouse will be moved out of Washington. There is no proposal to move the courthouse anywhere. Two million dollars for courthouse improvements are included in the public safety center project. The courthouse is staying in Washington where it should be. Pitt and Craven County courthouses are in their county seats while the law enforcement-county jails are located outside town. The Craven County law enforcement-county jail is located 11 miles outside New Bern,

Sixth misconception, the tax rate will increase 15 cents. The tax rate increase will be minimal, possibly one cent or 2%. If the USDA had approved the county’s request for the loan, it is possible that no increase would be required. The county is running a surplus and the fund balance is approaching 35%. The county is in good financial condition. One cent of tax increase, increase’s the tax on a house assessed at $100,000 by $10.


Al Klemm