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More Washington police, airport on city’s new budget

Washington’s $78 million budget for fiscal year 2018-2019, which begins July 1, includes money for four additional police officers.

Stacy Drakeford, the city’s director of police and fire services, requested the funds. Those four officers would cost the city $210,156 in the upcoming fiscal year, according to documents presented to the council.

A significant increase in the number of calls of service responded to by Washington police personnel during a five-year period prompted the request, Drakeford said.

“During the past 5 years the calls for service has increased by 10,351. In 2012, calls for service were 22,325 and 2017 calls for service was 32,676, This equates to a 46 percent increase in calls for service,” wrote Drakeford in documents presented to the council.

The upcoming budget allocates $71,966 for outside agencies, or $7,484 less than that the amount allocated in the current budget, which ends June 30. The upcoming budget does not include an $8,000 one-time appropriation to Open Door Community Center that’s part of the current budget.

The upcoming budget earmarks $13,000 to the Purpose of God, which provides programs to help youth improve their academic prowess and help adults with criminal pasts overcome those pasts and become productive members of society. The Boys & Girls Club of the Coastal Plains, with a presence in Washington and Belhaven, received $10,500. The Zion Shelter and Kitchen got $6,100. Wright Flight received $2,250. The Blind Center was allocated $800. Cornerstone Worship Center’s parenting and nurturing programs got $6,480. Eagle’s Wings received $1,000.

Four organizations received support in the form of in-kind rental space valued at $34,836 — Sound Rivers ($24,024), Beaufort County Police Activities League ($1,260), Pamlico Pals/Horizon ($3,528) and Beaufort/Hyde Special Olympics ($3.024).

For economic-development efforts, the upcoming budget appropriates $431,580. The largest allocation is a $244,769 subsidy for Washington-Warren Airport. The next largest appropriation is $60,000 for costs associated with the Mid-East Commission (the regional planning organization) for researching grant opportunities and providing grant-administration services. The Washington Harbor District Alliance received $40,176. Arts of the Pamlico got $10,368. The North Carolina Estuarium was allocated $12,960.

The upcoming budget does not reduce the energy costs Washington Electric Utilities customers pay. Councilman Doug Mercer voted against the upcoming budget because it does not reduce the energy cost by 5 percent, as he requested several times during budget discussions earlier this year.

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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