12/26/17 — New Mount Olive mayor eyes growth

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New Mount Olive mayor eyes growth

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 26, 2017 5:50 AM

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Mount Olive Fire Chief Greg Wiggins, left, and Mayor Joe Scott look over possible plans for a new fire station.

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Mount Olive Fire Chief Greg Wiggins, left, and Mayor Joe Scott look over possible plans for a new fire station.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Acquiring land and a building for a new fire station top new Mayor Joe Scott's to-do list.

"We have outgrown the present fire house and we need more space," said Scott, who was sworn into office on Monday, Dec. 4. "As where it is located today, we cannot grow for the future needs of Mount Olive, and that is looking down the road 40 to 50 years.

"I know it will take us some time to find land and then figure out how to fund a new fire station. Plus we must maintain what we have at present. We also have immediate needs such as a new fire truck to replace one that is over its age, which is 20 years plus old."

The town also is presently facing the changeout in radio communications.

"The county has mandated that we have to purchase their type of radios and these are not cheap," he said. "Talking in the range of $50,000 plus and that does not count the radios for the police station. I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there."

Another item that is a must is the growth of the town's airport that has grown into a busy place over the past two years, Scott said.

It is bringing in fuel business with jet fuel, he said.

"Also our fixed-base operator, Bass Aviation, has doubled in size in aircraft maintenance," Scott said. "Vidant and Metro Air have increased in their operations, which we need more room.

"We need an automated weather observing system for pilots who fly by instrument and check weather in and around the airport. This is a safety feature we desperately need."

The next item is a taxi runway, he said.

With the increase traffic, the airport needs a north and south taxi runway to keep planes off the main runway when one is lining up to take off or to land, he said.

"This is another safety item we need," Scott said. "We plan to meet in Raleigh next month to talk to the FAA and the State Department of Transportation on these two matters.

"This is just the beginning for 2018. There are many things to address, but I am taking it in order of priority."

Scott said he is often asked about restaurants in town.

"I will be the first to say we need another restaurant, but until land prices come down to a reasonable rate, I'm afraid that will not happen soon," he said.

Scott said several companies have come and looked, but because of land prices, have turned away.

"But I am optimistic about getting some here, we have the numbers to support it," he said. "With Interstate 795 coming through with its expansion, we should pull traffic in.

"There are so many things running through my head, but I don't want us to get over extended with so many, that we mess up."

Scott said he has an excellent board of commissioners who are ready to go to work.

They have been given their assignments and encouraged to roll up their sleeves and dig in, he said.

"A mayor can't do it all, and I know that," Scott said. "I do appreciate these men and women who have step forward and committed themselves to our town.

"I want to thank the citizens for coming out and voting for me and our new board. This was a crucial time for our town and it's future."