To the editor:
We all face the same challenges — let’s conquer them together!
In spite of the fractured state of our society, leaders of the city of Dunn and the towns of Benson and Four Oaks have joined hands in good faith to establish an alliance responsible for industrial recruitment, working with local technical colleges and universities to enhance workforce development, and formulate a strategic vision for our region. The group, which consisted of mayors, council members, commissioners and executive staff, titled this organization the 1-95/1-40 Crossroads of America Economic Development Alliance.
The benefits of this collective approach include: having a focused economic development operation for the region, which proves to be much more attractive to job creators; having a broader base of resources, which creates more effectiveness and efficiency rather than expending limited resources competing against one another; a more cohesive short- and long-term planning process; and a more focused approach to addressing the strategic issues like workforce development, water and sewer capacities, and income disparities across the region.
2019 economic data shows median household incomes (MHI) in Johnston County at $56,842, and Benson and Four Oaks at $34,184 and $42,788, respectively. The MHI for Harnett County comes in at $51,630 while the city of Dunn’s is $29,592.
Recently, one of the municipalities boards raised concerns about the structure and voted to withhold funding from the Alliance. It is our great hope, once their concerns are addressed, the requested funding will be approved. In the interim, the mayors pledge to continue to address the strategic issues previously listed such as drastic income disparities, infrastructure needs, and creation of good paying jobs.
Dunn Mayor William Elmore Jr.
Benson Mayor Jerry Medlin
Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker