Former NC budget director pushes for Connect NC Bond in Lumberton

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – The North Carolina presidential and general primaries take place on March 15.  Also on the ballot, a $2 billion bond proposal for higher education in the state that includes infrastructure needs.

On Wednesday, North Carolina’s former budget director, Lee Roberts, met with Robeson County leaders to go over the Connect NC Bond.

“Government financing is a tool that can be used wisely or can be used poorly.  This is a wise use of financing,” said Roberts.

Roberts is also one of Connect NC’s biggest advocates.

“Over $7 million coming to Robeson County Community College, significant money for UNC Pembroke,” he stated.

More than half of the bond would go to infrastructure improvements at universities and community colleges.

“The training tower is over 20 years old and has some safety issues and that’s why we are looking to replace that, just as an example as why this is important,” said Dr. Pamela Hilbert, President of Robeson Community College.

Should the bond pass, RCC hopes to add on to classroom space emergency services training center among other renovations.

“Yet we provide more certifications for our firefighters than any community college in the state.  So that’s not every month, but last month we had the most certifications.  So we need a little more space,” Hilbert explained.

Opponents against the bond worry about the potential impact of it could have on the state’s debt.

In a statement from NC Against the Bond Director Nicole Revels, the group states “the lack of specific details lends to the appearance that this bond is nothing more than a political slush fund…there will likely be a tax increase if this bond passes.”

Despite what some opponents of the bond say, Roberts says there will be no tax increase.

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