City budget providing money for Retire NC

Published 5:32 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Washington’s $2,000 contribution to the effort to bring retirees to the area will come from the city’s economic-development budget, according to a memorandum from City Manager Bobby Roberson to the mayor and City Council.

The contribution was approved by the council with a 4-1 vote at its Nov. 14 meeting, when the council supported a request to participate in the Retire NC certification program. The city amended its budget to appropriate the $2,000 it would put toward the program. Council members William Pitt, Virginia Finnerty, Richard Brooks and Larry Beeman voted for the measure, with Councilman Doug Mercer voting against it, saying it is an “unbudgeted expenditure.”

Retire NC is a certification program designed to attract retirees to the state. Under the program, retirees looking at moving to that state may identify communities that offer certain amenities retirees look for — easy access to health care and quality-of-life aspects such recreational and cultural opportunities.

The expected project budget is $25,000, with $10,000 of that amount earmarked for the five-year certification by Retire NC, which is operated by the state. The remaining money is earmarked for marketing, printing, advertising and related expenses.

The Washington Tourism Development Authority, Washington Harbor District Alliance, Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and Beaufort County have each contributed $2,000 to the project, according to Catherine Glover, executive director of the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the local Retire NC committee. Vidant Health and Tideland Electric Membership Corp. also have made commitments to the project.

At the Nov. 14 meeting, Glover and Rebecca Clark, a downtown business owner who supports the Retire NC initiative, asked the city to support the program. Clark told the council the initiative would complement the city’s ongoing tourism-development efforts, which she considers a key component of the city’s economic-development strategy. With manufacturing no longer a vital part of that strategy, tourism is filling that void, Clark said.

Glover and Clark said easy access to good medical care, the area’s history and the region’s moderate climate are among the amenities that retired people would be seeking when looking for a retirement place.

Among the certified Retire NC communities are Edenton, Tarboro and New Bern.

Those who voted for the city to contributed to the program believe $2,000 is a relatively low investment that likely would result in significant dividends related to the city’s economic-development efforts.

To learn more about Retire NC, visit

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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