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Letter to the Editor: Twin Counties intertwined

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

In reviewing the Tuesday, July 9, edition of the Rocky Mount Telegram, “Council OKs Parking Deck Funds,” there was reference to a conversation that the Nash County commissioners reported having in open session in their regularly scheduled meeting regarding the City Council’s downtown development plans.

I was quite disturbed, as a former Rocky Mount City Council member for eight years and an Edgecombe County commissioner since 1996, that an elected body would discuss in open session impending actions or considerations of another locally elected body without any request for their input or action. From my perspective as a fully engaged and willing participant in the forward movement of the Twin Counties region, the discussion that the Nash County Commission engaged in about Rocky Mount City business speaks to the level of disregard of regional collaboration that the current Nash County leadership continually portrays.

The comment that Nash County “fears the brunt of the cost of the project would fall on the shoulders of Nash County residents living in Rocky Mount” is a direct insult to every citizen of Edgecombe County. Nash County led the dismantling of the Nash-Rocky Mount School System, the splitting of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership and challenges any effort in which Nash County doesn’t receive the overwhelming lion’s share of financial benefit.

For years, Edgecombe County has paid its share in the public library, the regional airport, Carolinas Gateway and every project that brings benefit for all citizens. Our money has paid for schools, programs and buildings not located in our county, but somehow any opportunity afforded to Edgecombe County and Rocky Mount to grow is challenged, questioned and disparaged.

Nash County, your comments and your actions confirm allegations that continue to provoke an environment of racial distrust and power grabs. In all my 81 years of living, citizens of Edgecombe County have never dictated how our money, once co-mingled, was spent in Nash County. Edgecombe County would never speak disparagingly of business development in Rocky Mount/Nash County since all of us benefit from our investment. These conversations continue to polarize our region as we build a stronger economy that benefits all our citizens. This project strengthens our city and both Nash and Edgecombe counties.

Leonard Wiggins

Chairman, Edgecombe County Board of Commissioner