Highway 17 Association moving to new funding group

Published 7:15 pm Thursday, March 3, 2016

Washington officials are preparing to move the Highway 17 Association from the outside-agency category to another category for funding purposes.

There is a precedent for such a move in that the city previously moved the Washington Harbor District Alliance, North Carolina Estuarium, Arts of the Pamlico, the city’s annual Christmas parade (organized by the Washington Kiwanis Club) and the Highway 17 Association from the outside-agency category to the economic-development category, which more properly reflects the missions of those organizations.

During the City Council’s Feb. 22 meeting, Councilman Doug Mercer said the city might be better served by moving the Highway 17 Association, which works toward having that highway completely four-laned throughout North Carolina, from its border with Virginia to its border with South Carolina. It serves as a lobbyist in an effort to get the state to make other improvements to the highway as a means of facilitating economic development along the U.S. 17 corridor.

The association received $7,500 from the city for the current fiscal year. It is asking for the same amount in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“I’d like to make one request, if I may, with the concurrence of the board. We have memberships in any number of organizations. Highway 17 (Association) is an organization that we belong to. We pay dues to it, and yet we put it in outside agencies. I would like to request that we put that into the miscellaneous account … under dues and subscriptions where we’ve got (the North Carolina) League of Municipalities, committees, commissions, chamber of commerce, Committee of 100. You’ve got a whole list of them there,” Mercer said. “Highway 17 should be on that list, I would think.”

Mayor Mac Hodges questioned how effective the association could be in accomplishing its mission, saying the North Carolina Department of Transportation relies heavily on its transportation improvement plan, which is updated on a regular basis. Hodges suggested the council discuss the association’s mission in detail during upcoming budget work sessions.

“That to me is a dues-paying operation. I agree that everything that DOT does is going to be according to the TIP,” Mercer said. “If someone’s not in there speaking at the TIP meetings, we’re never going to get anything done.”










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.

email author More by Mike