With state budget now passed, Stanly County slated to receive tens of millions in funding

Organizations, municipalities and projects across Stanly County and the surrounding area are slated to receive more than $100 million in funding from a compromise state budget lawmakers passed this week, after many months of back-and-forth negotiations.

The Senate and House passed the budget bill with broad bipartisan support after Gov. Roy Cooper said he would sign it.

With the bill approved in both chambers, Cooper signed it into law Thursday afternoon.

“I will sign the budget, because unbalanced, the good outweighs the bad,” Cooper said. “It moves North Carolina forward in important ways, many of which are critical in the state’s progress as we are emerging from this pandemic.”

The two-year budget will spend $25.9 billion in the current fiscal year and $27 billion in the 2022-23 year.

Sen. Carl Ford, a Republican representing parts of Rowan and Stanly counties, and Rep. Wayne Sasser, a Republican who represents most of Stanly along with parts of Cabarrus and Rowan counties, worked to secure about $115 million for Stanly County and surrounding areas.

Of the total, $28 million is going to the N.C. Emergency Training Center at the Stanly County Airport for capital improvement projects. These include creating an Aircraft Rescue Firefighting (ARFF) simulation, which would help attract fire crews from across the state; Specialized Advance Rescue Training for confined space, high angle and and water rescue; and a new burn building.

“After months of good-faith negotiations with the Governor, I’m proud to see the compromise budget pass,” Ford said.

Local items funded include $6.5 million for Morrow Mountain State Park, $5.6 million for Stanly Community College and $85,000 for Pfeiffer University. The budget also includes $3.5 million for the regional office for Emergency Management, $2.3 million for the two National Guard Tarheel ChalleNGe academies including the one in New London, $1 million to build a road from the swimming pool at Morrow Mountain to Falls Reservoir in Badin, $1 million for Morrow Mountain State Park road improvements, $125,000 for the Friends of the Agri-Civic Center for repairs and renovations and $50,000 for the Pregnancy Resource Center of Stanly County.

Norwood will receive $2 million for water and sewer, Locust will receive $800,000 for water and sewer and Badin will get $1 million to improve its marina and $250,000 for upgrades and maintenance to the Badin Conference Center.

Several treatment facilities and organizations in and around Stanly are also slated to receive funding including $30 million for a new regional behavioral health crisis service center in Cabarrus County; $7.5 million for the Mecklenburg County nonprofit Camino, which serves low-income families through primary care, behavioral health and wellness services, to expand its operations into nearby counties; $1.5 million to establish a new treatment facility at Will’s Place; $1.3 million to create new treatment facility at Bridge to Recovery; and $1 million for the New-London based Gateway of Hope.

Sasser said that each of Stanly County’s 16 volunteer fire departments will receive at least $10,000 and could get up to $45,000.

“For the last week or so, my feet hadn’t really touched the ground, that’s just how exciting it is,” Sasser said about finally approving a budget, the first time it’s happened since he has been in office.

“It doesn’t just help Albemarle, or it doesn’t just help Badin or Norwood, it is spread all across Stanly County,” Sasser said.

Some of the general highlights of the budget include:

  • Five percent raise over two years for public school teachers and state employees;
  • A $15 hour minimum wage for all non-certified public school personnel and community college staff beginning next year;
  • $2,800 bonuses for most teachers using federal funds;
  • Five percent supplement for state retirees over two years;
  • Bonuses for all state employees using federal funds: $1,500 for state employees who make less than $75,000, and $1,000 for state employees who make more than $75,000. Law enforcement, correctional officers and staff, and 24-hour residential or treatment facility employees receive $1,500.
  • $100 million in recurring funds for a new state-funded teacher salary supplement focused on low-wealth counties to help them compete with big, wealthy counties when recruiting teachers; and
  • $1 billion for broadband expansion.