LAURINBURG — The county courthouse will soon be emblazoned with the national motto, a change approved on Monday night by the Scotland County Board of Commissioners.
A request from the U.S. Motto Action Committee to add the phrase “In God We Trust” to the exterior of the county courthouse was unanimously approved by the board. Through private donations, the committee has funded adding the precept to more than 60 other public buildings in North Carolina.
“We founded the U.S. Motto Action Committee for the sole purpose to promote patriotism by encouraging elected officials to vote yes to display ‘In God We Trust’ in and on their governmental buildings,” said Rick Lanier, co-founder of the U.S. Motto Action Committee. “Displaying the motto gives ceremonial honor to public occasions and expresses confidence in our society.”
Also Monday, it was announced that the commissioners will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at the Emergency Operations Center to discuss the closure of the current year’s budget and priorities for the approaching fiscal year.
“Most of the budgets, most of the departments are coming in as expected, so this is not necessarily going to be the most onerous budget year,” County Manager Kevin Patterson predicted.
But, as Commissioner Guy McCook pointed out, the majority of county departments have immediate capital needs that in many cases have been avoided long enough.
“Unfortunately, we’ve talked about all of these things, the problem is they’re all pretty high-priority needs,” he said. “The ability of our law enforcement and first responders to communicate with the radio system at times can be in jeopardy if we’re not careful with what we’ve got. If we don’t upgrade what we have, we run the risk of not being able to communicate very well at times when we need to. There’s things like that in here that are really high-priority items.”
In other business, N.C. Department of Transportation engineer Michael Abuya presented a comprehensive plan to address the county’s transportation needs over the next 30 years.
“We looked at safety, we looked at crashes,” said Abuya, noting recommendations including widening to multi-lane areas of Church Street, West Boulevard, and Lauchwood Drive.
Other local measures, like upgrades to U.S. 74 and U.S. 401, are already under consideration by DOT in a statewide mobility plan.
“If it’s within 80 percent of capacity, we say it’s near capacity,” Abuya said. “Based on projection in 2040, 15-401 will be over capacity. The same road that is near capacity currently will be over capacity by 2040. Similarly, Church Street that is near capacity currently will be at capacity in 2040. Then several others, at that future date, will be at or near capacity.
The plan, which is not a commitment of state funding or a prescription for how roads should be built, also outlines bicycle and pedestrian trails
Also on Monday, the commissioners:
— Appointed Commissioner John Alford to the board of the Scotland County Partnership for Children and Families.
— Appointed Commissioner Betty Gholston to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.
— Proclaimed May 15-21 EMS Week in Scotland County.
— Noted May as Older American Awareness Month and Mental Health Month.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.