We’ve raised some questions about the pretty willy-nilly disbursement of $700,000 via the recent “technical corrections ” bill approved by the General Assembly. Several cases of five- and six-figures being doled out to various communities with little specific detail about how the money is to be used.
Apparently, this all traces back to some bad publicity Jones Street Republicans got from the driveby media back in July:
The tiny coastal community of Cedar Point, 2.2 square miles at the southern tip of Carteret County, home to about 1,315 people, is hankering for more commercial development. The legislature gave the town a huge lift toward that dream in the form of $700,000 in state taxpayer money, a grant for economic development that exceeded Cedar Point’s annual budget.
“We are desperate for businesses to come into our area,” said Rep. Pat McElraft, a Carteret Republican.
Legislators set aside about $3 million in downtown revitalization and economic development money for Cedar Point and about 45 other towns from the state budget this year. Much of it is going to rural crossroads with populations of a few hundred to a few thousand, but some bigger towns are in on the money, too. […]
Legislators requested downtown money, said House Speaker Tim Moore, and he and Senate leader Phil Berger decided who would get it. “Everybody wanted more than they got, including myself,” Moore said.[…]
Berger had a different take on how downtown grants were decided after legislators put in their requests, and his explanation didn’t involve he and Moore getting together to divvy up the money.“The final decision on whether or not anything was in the budget was based on whether or not the budget was going to garner enough votes to pass,” Berger said.