City of Kinston Visits NCGA for Flood Prevention

Very productive meeting with NC House Majority Leader John Bell, Deputy Senate Pro Tem Louis Pate, and Representative George Graham. Also, had a great meeting with Don Davis. We discussed multiple issues including the Neuse River Basin, a revolving loan pool to facilitate more dilapidated housing demolition, the future of the NC Global TransPark, and more. We are very lucky in Kinston and Lenoir County to have this group working on our behalf!

Mayor blames Charlotte mayor for loss of World Series event

Mayor BJ Murphy
Statement after NJCAA removes 2017 Division III Baseball World Series
10/3/2016

Good afternoon.

As you may know this past week the city of Kinston was informed by the NJCAA that we are losing the third year of a three-year deal for the division 3 baseball World Series.

And as I stated in my letter pleading for reconsideration, the cost to our economy is $350,000, but more importantly the truer cost will be missed opportunities to help mold and shape the lives of our young boys who simply want to play baseball and who look up to these Collegiate athletes.

So today I’m going to discuss the process under which ordinances and laws are made and I’ll call on Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts to take action based on the olive branch extended to her 3 weeks ago, which could’ve saved Kinston from losing the JUCO World Series.

As a mayor of a municipality in the state of North Carolina it is common knowledge by all locally elected officials that we are creatures of the state…meaning the state of North Carolina allows counties and municipalities to exist.

They create our borders…they allow us to pass ordinances that affect our communities.

But never should they allow us to pass an ordinance, a city-wide ordinance, that would have statewide implications.

Even after repeated warnings by state leaders about the unlawfulness of her ordinance, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts instigated an unnecessary fight with state leaders by drafting and passing a local ordinance that could have implications in the other 530+ cities and towns across our state.

Then, accordingly, the state leadership stepped in on behalf of the other cities and towns and ensured we would not be beholden to the City of Charlotte.

What has ensued next has been a polarization of policy and an unfortunate series of tournament departures.

Just as recently as three weeks ago the mayor of Charlotte had an opportunity to have a constructive dialogue with the state of North Carolina to right this ship.

However, Mayor Roberts chose politics over policy.

Mayor Roberts chose politics over the people.

And Mayor Roberts chose politics over Kinston’s youth.

Most everyone knows when I was elected almost 7 years ago that I was the first Republican to serve Kinston since Reconstruction.

And one would also know that I have served with an all Democratic City Council.

However, on a local level we fix potholes, we sit down and discuss economic strategies to move our communities forward. We put the interest of our citizens ahead of party politics.

So, we’re proud to now run on non-partisan platforms, because that is what we do…non-partisan work.

Which leads me to Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts.

Instead of being the kind of leader who sits down and discusses differences. Instead of working through challenges in a constructive dialogue, Mayor Roberts has chosen political discourse.

Had she taken the olive branch extended by the Governor the City of Kinston could still have the NJCAA Baseball division 3 World Series playing in Kinston next summer.

Kinston’s youth are the victims of Mayor Robert’s politics.

And that is unfortunate for us all.

Simply because an item is not on an agenda does not mean it cannot be discussed at a council meeting.

And considering the Statewide and National discussion on this topic one would think that the Mayor of Charlotte would have enough knowledge to have a sensible discussion with her council members on this subject.

I believe she intentionally withheld discussion at her meeting three weeks ago in an attempt to stonewall more discussion simply because it’s an election year.

So, today I’m calling on Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts to take Governor McCrory up on his olive branch…his offer to have a more meaningful discussion once Charlotte City Council repeals their ordinance which could have statewide implications.

And, in doing so, maybe she can save other rural communities just like Kinston from the devastating effect from the loss of income our small business operators will experience next summer.

Thank you.

WITN Coverage of the Press Conference

Kinston Free Press Coverage of the Press Conference

Letter Exchange with NJCAA about Decision to Remove the 2017 Div III Baseball World Series

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts

Call to Action: NC Historic Tax Credits

If you like what’s happening in downtown Kinston with all the revitalization, then please TAKE NOTICE. Without the Historic Tax Credit then there is little incentive for developers to spend an enormous amount of money into rehabilitation. Instead these 75+ year old homes and commercial properties are receiving much needed face lifts, energy efficient appliances and TENANTS. That’s right, they are now being occupied. Cities and counties are receiving higher tax base, utility usage and less opportunity for crime. See the Kinston Free Press article here: http://www.kinston.com/news/local/kinston-could-lose-out-if-historic-tax-credits-axed-1.329767?tc=cr

Tomorrow morning the NC General Assembly’s Finance and Appropriations committee’s will have an opportunity to amend the house budget. Please ask them to add the Historic Tax Credits as already proposed by Governor Pat McCrory.

Finance Committee Members: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails=House%20Standing_24

Appropriations Committee Members: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails=House%20Standing_6

 

Other articles of interest:
Eliminating Historic Tax Credit Would Be A Mistake – Winston-Salem Journal
NC Credit to Preserve Historic Properties Pays for Itself Many Times Over – News & Observer

KFP: Kinston mayoral candidates take center stage

KFP1016_mayoralforum_1

Mayoral candidate Ralph Clark, left, makes his opening statements, while John Marks, center, and B.J. Murphy listen at the mayoral forum Tuesday at community television station TACC-9 on Queen Street.

Sara Pezzoni / The Free Press

Kinston’s three candidates for mayor each had their lone opportunity to address viewers on the issues of the city on Tuesday evening.

Ralph Clark, John Marks and B.J. Murphy spoke at the TACC-9 community television station for a mayoral forum, as the three are looking to be appointed into office by the people after the Nov. 5 election.

Clark, who has spent 32 years in public office, including eight as the former city manager of Kinston, believes his extensive experience and knowledge would be vital in helping the community he has called home since 1999.

“Kinston has been great to me as a city manager and a citizen,” Clark said. “I have a lot to give, and hope (the city) allow(s) me to be the mayor.”

Clark also talked about education in his opening statement, acknowledging that the city council would not be able to intervene in the decision-making process.

“I would be remiss not to mention something about education,” Clark said. “Even though the city has nothing to do with the education in the community, it has to be supported.”

Marks, the pastor and founder of Increasing the Faith Ministries, believes Kinston needs to move in an alternate direction in fixing some of the issues in the community.

“We do need change,” Marks said. “Everybody that I ask or come in contact with, they are always saying that the city needs to be changed. I’m just grateful that our city and the leadership that is present are still doing things, but we still need solutions to a lot of problems. I just want to be an improvement on assets to the city of Kinston.”

Murphy, the incumbent seeking his second term in office, used his opening statement to speak on some of the positives he has seen in Kinston since he became the mayor in 2009.

“I have never been more excited about the opportunities before our community than I am right now,” Murphy said. “Our community is growing, and there are a lot of positive things happening. Just over the past four years, we have had a major focus on redeveloping our community, on making sure we have better streets, and we’ve had a more accountable government than ever before.”

Early voting starts on Thursday, and will run until Nov. 2, with Election Day on Nov. 5.

 

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

For more information on reruns of the city council and mayor forums, visit tacc9.com.

http://www.kinston.com/news/local/kinston-mayoral-candidates-take-center-stage-1.219056?tc=cr

KFP: City Council approves new positions for Parks and Rec

By Junious Smith III / Staff Writer 

With the inmate labor program being cut throughout North Carolina, the Kinston City Council found a way to provide assistance to the city’s parks and recreation department at Monday’s weekly meeting.

The council passed a motion to hire three full-time and four part-time employees to offset losing prisoners who worked in different areas of the city.

“The most disappointing news in the session we had to overcome was the loss of the inmate labor population,” Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy said. “The financial woes of the state cut back some prison labor, which is having ripple effects in local government operations across the state; Kinston being no exception.

“Between having a regular supply of inmate labor from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help to clear with ditches, mowing grass and weed-eating, we are now faced with having to overcome that with full and part-time employees.”

Bill Ellis, the recreation department director, said he was thankful for the city council’s actions.

“We worked as many as 25 inmates a day since 1988,” Ellis said. “It saved the city a lot of money throughout the years. But with the closing of Duplin County Prison, we had no inmates. We’re very fortunate the council saw that need and funded those positions.”

City Councilwoman Kelly Jarman was pleased with the decision the board made, along with Ellis’ work when the inmate program was in operation.

“Bill utilized the program to its fullest extent and did very well with it,” Jarman said. “The inmate program was very effective and I hate to see it taken away, but I felt like we made a good decision to allow him to be able to hire additional people in parks and recreation.”

Kinston City Manager Tony Sears felt the council acted in a logical and responsible way to return the service to the city, and believed it was a good move.

“Only time will tell, but from a staffing standpoint, we’re on the right path,” he said.

The City Council also approved a public hearing on Sept. 16 for Unified Development Ordinance-related items.

“The UDO process has been going on for several months,” Planning Director Adam Short said. “We’ve got a draft ordinance where we want it and have to hold a public meeting to formally adopt it. We’ve established the arts and cultural district, which is a zoning overlay district and a new zoning category that has to be advertised.

“We’ve also eliminated zoning districts that are hardly used. There are very few parcels in the city that are being rezoned and we’re just looking for a new place to classify them. They will be changed to a different zoning category to clean things up.”

In other action, the council approved a street closing on Saturday for the God’s Way Youth & Community Fun Day. The event will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will close off parts of King Street and Sunshine Street.

The next city council meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m.

 

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

 

Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 19:41 PM.

Mayor Murphy appears on NCSPIN

This week we have a special edition of NC SPIN featuring four Mayors from North Carolina. They include:

Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Raleigh
Mayor Bill Bell, Durham
Mayor Jill Swain, Huntersville
Mayor B.J. Murphy, Kinston