COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A big project for the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office is in limbo as the state budget stalemate drags on.
Sheriff Jody Greene says they have been trying to bring a substation to the eastern part of the county. Greene says that area is often forgotten, but without these funds, all they can do it wait.
Neighbors in the Delco area are on board.
“I actually think that would be awesome,” neighbor Shaena Lennon said.
Right now, the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office sits in Whiteville. Greene says that means a 30 minute drive just to get to the eastern part of the county.
“That end of the county has been forgotten about over the years,” Greene said. “It’s a long way to Riegelwood from here, as you know.”
Greene wants to change that. Since he ran for office, has been trying to bring a substation to the county. He says it’s about more than just the convenience.
“We have a lot of things going on at the end of the county,” Greene said. “By the time that someone gets all the way down there, the 30 to 35 minutes to get there. We’re always being re activists instead of pro activists. We’re going to be proactive in that area and cut down on calls for service. Response time is terrible.”
With the help of state representatives, around $350,000 in funding was set aside for the project in the state budget. When that budget was vetoed, those funds got put on hold.
“Hopefully we’re not out of the running,” Greene said.
Greene says they already picked out several possible spots for the substation near Riegelwood. He says it would eventually operate exactly the same as the current office in Whiteville.
With a substation, Greene thinks it’s a big step to building that presence and strong relationship with the community. For residents, it would give them that feeling of security.
“We really do need that out here,” neighbor Katy Harrelson said.
“We have a lot of elderly people that live around here,” Lennon said. “We have a lot of young people around here too. I think that would be a huge, huge help for the community.”
Luckily, Greene says the sheriff’s office is up to full staff for the first time in awhile, so they are still working hard to patrol the whole county.
Governor Roy Cooper is set to hold a press conference Tuesday on the budget. WWAY will bring you the very latest on what is discussed.