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Jones & Onslow Counties - Priorities and Issues

Onslow County Schools have long term school construction and deferred maintenance requirements.

Many of Onslow County (OCS) and Jones County Schools were built several years ago and maintenance of these schools continues to be a major issue. OCS built a new Dixon Middle School, a new Richlands Elementary School, and is currently building new elementary schools in Catherine Lake and Stump Sound. The school system budget system is complicated, convoluted, and involves multiple funding sources. The state school funding system is cumbersome and overly complicated. Inadequate funding for OCS capital outlay continues to be a major issue in Onslow County.

State unfunded mandates creates constant friction between Boards of Education and County Commissioners.

New legislation and existing State laws that require school districts to comply with edicts that are partially funded by county governments cause friction between county boards. Class size reduction legislation did not take into consideration the limitations school districts have in providing new classrooms. Limitations placed on counties by the state legislature prevent counties from raising sales taxes to fund county needs. Boards of Education must rely on county governments to adequately fund their needs because they lack the ability to raise their own funds.

Farmers under assault by attorneys from outside the state.

Several high profile lawsuits in surrounding counties should be a concern for farmers in Onslow and Jones Counties. A number of adverse judgements against hog farmers in North Carolina is troubling. Raising hogs is a messy and smelly business, but neighbors who have bought properties near the farms should have understood the implications of living near a hog farm.

Navigating the waterways in Eastern North Carolina has become a hazardous undertaking.

The complications of funding the dredging of our coastal and inland waterways continues to create hazards for our boaters. Hurricanes and other weather patterns create shoaling in our waterways that become obstacles for boaters. Commercial and recreational boaters navigate the waters and thus it becomes an economic issue to the area. Federal, state, and local jurisdictions and regulations complicate the coordination or funding for dredging projects.

Mental illness and unlawful use of narcotics creates social and economic issues for the community.

The lack of adequate funding to address social issues of mental illness and drug usage taxes the budgets of local communities. Our hospital emergency rooms are burdened with trying to cope with the issues and the lack of facilities to house the individuals complicates the problem. Suicide is too prevalent in our communities; however, there is a shortage of counselors to address the issue.

Marine Corps installations, veterans, and retirees creates benefits and issues for the community.

The Marine Corps bases are the largest employer in Onslow County, but the bases also comprise a large tract of land that is not taxable. The bases are an economic boon to local businesses but the huge influx of young military families contribute to overcrowding in our schools. Veterans and retired military members comprise a large portion of our population and contribute to the well-being of our community.