Commissioner: “I Think This Is The Biggest Miscarriage And Waste Of Taxpayer’s Money”

SMITHFIELD – Johnston County Commissioner Ted Godwin says the purchase of a dilapidated mobile home park at $77,000 per acre is a waste of taxpayer’s money because the county doesn’t have a need for the property.

In a 5-to-2 vote on Nov. 15th, Commissioners approved the $450,000 purchase of a mobile home park on US 70 just east of Yelverton Grove Road. The mobile home park borders the Johnston County Public Safety Center currently under construction and scheduled to open in mid-2022.

Commissioner Fred Smith made the motion to exercise an option to buy the mobile home park from C&S Properties of Smithfield. Commissioner Patrick Harris seconded the motion.

“”I think this is critical for our County as we move forward to build infrastructure… This will be another step for this board building the infrastructure this county needs,” Commissioner Smith stated prior to the split vote.

In previous discussions, commissioners suggested the land could be a potential site for an EMS logistics storage warehouse. Godwin said the County already owns land that could be used for that purpose.

I think this is the biggest miscarriage and waste of taxpayer’s money…
Commissioner Godwin responded, “I’ve got a question I would like to pose to the board and its not rhetorical. I want to hear an answer. I think this is the biggest miscarriage and waste of taxpayer’s money, or misspent taxpayers money. We’ve found a use for it but we don’t have a need for it because we’ve got land across the road we can use for that same use. But I want to know what is too much. What would be too much to buy this property? $5 million. That would be too much, but what is too much?”

In October 2021, Godwin took his fellow board members to task for calling the purchase a good deal after the $450,000 option came in below the appraised value of $545,000. Godwin said the appraisal was for an income-producing property. After the county buys it, it will no longer produce income or generate any tax revenue.

“It appeared to me that we should have requested a value for land, just land, east of Smithfield. The appraiser cited several recent, and some not so recent, sales from $10,000 per acre and less, to $37,000 an acre for a corner lot on Highway 70. In my own investigation, I found prices, in a wider search around Smithfield, of prices from $5,500 to $49,000 per acre. We recently purchased our detention center land next door to subject, at $20,000 per acre. The purchase price for the subject property is $77,000 per acre,” Godwin said in October.

County Commissioners voted 5-to-2 on Nov. 15, 2021 to purchase a mobile home park for $450,000. Johnston County Report Photo

“Now, I can see that if it’s part of a grander plan and that 5.8 acre site is critical, but we have no defined or proposed use other than ‘it would be good to own it”. I agree, it would be good for the county to own it. But, at what price?”

“In the grand scheme of things, $450,000 is a small part of the operating budget of this county, so, why the big push back on my part? The board members are all members of the same party and we all tout our conservative approach to taking care of the taxpayer and saving the taxpayer money whenever we can. If we truly needed this land, we need to buy it. But we only “want” it and, if we can buy it with public money, then we need to do that. No!”

“We need to live by the principles we are supposed to be upholding and save money wherever we can! It won’t change anyone’s life if we buy this, except the seller and the people living in the park. My problem is, it smacks of what we witness so many times in public leadership when we try to justify an action we’ve convinced ourselves is good and proper. I will admit, we cannot govern by popular opinion and we must make hard, unpopular decisions, often. I guess our division is between seeing this as a hard, necessary action for the eventual good to the county, or a waste of taxpayer’s money. If we don’t move forward on this proposed purchase, in 20 years it may be seen as something we should have done way back in 2021. I must stand by my conservative values,” Commissioner Godwin stated in October.

A dirt path leading into the mobile home park (right) is only yards away from a new $70 million Johnston County Public Safety Center (left) under construction. Johnston County Report Photo

Previously, Commissioner Patrick Harris stated the County is leasing two buildings for $60,000 a year for EMS Logistics. He claimed that amount would fund the payment on a $1 million logistics building on the mobile home park property.

“This makes great business sense for this county,” Commissioner Smith responded at the October meeting. “I think this is a good use for our county. I believe it is responsible to take this option.”

Commissioner Larry Wood questioned if the need was so great, why is the property across Highway 70 the county owns is empty.

After discussions at the Nov. 15th meeting, Commissioners Chad Stewart, Butch Lawter, Patrick Harris, Fred Smith and Tony Braswell voted to buy the mobile home park property. Commissioners Ted Godwin and Larry Wood voted against.

There are approximately nine occupied mobile homes on the site. C&S Properties will work with the residents to find other housing before the County formally purchases the land. Under the agreement, Johnston County must buy the acreage no later than June 2022.


  1. I agree. It is a misuse of county funds. Common sense should tell anyone that. Can the county get out of the contract?

    • Yep. If there was an actual, sensible use for the land then it would be fine, but I don’t see why the county needs it.

  2. Everyone has seen the nice well kept home with the beautiful manicured lawn and right next to it is the other home of the hoarder and amateur junk dealer. Johnstonian’s do I need to say anything more?

    Is Commissioner Ted Godwin up for re-election again, it sure sounds like it does it not? Does anyone know if Commissioner Ted Godwin is one of those that is married to a Teacher’s Union Teacher wife? Hey inquiring minds want to know? When we hear a commissioner starting to beat his conservative chest out load, makes me start wondering why now?

  3. Folks, Commissioner Ted Godwin has been so far behind the scenes and quiet that I all most didn’t recognize the name when I read this story. Where was his Conservative passion when Mr. Fred Smith was trying to get a CRT policy in-place? Mr. Tony “WRAL” Braswell did have enough of passion to run to the liberal progressive liberal WRAL to publicize his grievance of holding funds back to get this CRT policy. Wow, conservative chest beating Ted Godwin has found his voice!

      • Agree. terrybarns, pick a lane and stick with it for once. Comm. Godwin is correct … if your household is on a strict budget, you buy what you NEED, not what you want.

        • Mr. Topper, I understand your strong felt sentiment for fiscal responsibility and I do agree with you. It just so visually obvious that Mr. Ted “The Voice” Godwin has been dormant, unheard of, and almost out of action on very hot-button issues until now. The all of a sudden conservative chest beating is just, let’s say, out of the norm for him. Mr. Topper, I don’t have a lane to stay in, when I have reasonable doubts I express them in hopes that the one in question can genuinely clear it up.

  4. Mr. Jocosnoozer are you trying to say that I have the mindset of the National Media Bias Organization? Now, how do I take this independent opinion of yours? Is it that I have failed at communicating my deep artful intellectual points of view? I think that is not the case by you burning your precious time to comment on this subject. Now, could it be even out of resentful regret that your mouth and finger tips surpassed what hangs between your ears and inadvertently you have placed me on the same pedestal as your liberal progressive liberal media? Hee, Hee, Hee. Remember this Mr. Jocosnoozer if you never remember anything else. What you lose in the fire, you will find in the ashes.

    • I’m not a liberal, so get your facts straight. I’m not the only one who takes issue with your endless babbling nonsense.

  5. The purchase of this land is cosmetic. The powers to be want the new JOCO Public Safety Center to look good all around. They don’t want a trailer park behind their new building.

  6. Can I ask just one simple question? Where are all of your concerns for fiscal responsibility at when it is involving the out-controlled Johnston County School Board, such as when $180-K-Carroll makes a motion to go into closed session to back door spending to the amount of $180,000.00 to our old Superintendent Dr. Parker? These Johnston County Commissioners did this in public forum, not in a closed door, smoke filled, backroom deal as our school board tired to do. Come on, I know you guys can come at me better than this. Mr. Topper I truly admire your sentiments, have you ever visited this location and as far as the price for this purchase. I do have to enlighten you that this isn’t just dirt in a farm field, it does generate a monthly stream of revenue.

  7. Folks, we could almost get the feeling that Mr. Ted”The Voice” Godwin picked this hill to die on because the battle is already over. That’s right, the heaving lifting has already been done by the other five commissioner workhorses. We do have to wonder was this a safe hill that Mr. Ted”The Voice”Godwin picked to die on? He had so many other hot-button issues in the recent pass he could had picked, did he not?

  8. Terry Barns- you try real hard to sound intelligent but it just doesn’t work for you pal. All you do is make insulting comments about public servants who take their time and energy to do something good for this county. You on the otherhand, sit behind a keyboard and offer nothing to this county. Why don’t you try and run for public office and do something great with your time instead of pointing fingers at others? I know why- you could not get elected dog catcher in this county!

    • Whooo-weee!!! I asked for it and I do have to say Mr. Evan W did deliver did he not folks? Mr. Evan W as you can tell by my language arts and spelling I am certainly a product of the Johnston County School System and I think we could both agree on at that subject at least. I assure you I am not here to sound intelligent but to be factual when commenting on our dear elected officials. I would ask you which sentence was it that hit that raw nerve of yours but I think I all ready know. Mr. Evan W I do believe i missed your rebuttal of any of my criticism of our elected leaders other than me. Folks, Mr. Evan W is a fine example of how a liberal progressive liberal will respond when defending his candidate and their policies. It all ways comes down to name calling and personal attacks, not one line item issue will ever be rebutted. It just personal name calling and no issues that was criticized ever are accompanied with it. I think all of our elected officials are fine people, I just don’t think they are what they politically pretend to be. Mr. Evan W, I have you to know I would make a dam good dog catcher.

  9. A commenter observed that the county does not want a trailer park next to the new jail. That is more than likely the answer.

    Do any of the commissioners have an interest or friendship with the current owners? Maybe, maybe not.

    My biggest concern is that while there are three or four empty homes, there are several that are occupied. I know that some of them have good jobs but they cannot afford to live anywhere else. A some of them are retired on fixed incomes and cannot afford anywhere else. Those people/ citizens are potentially going to lose their homes.

    Is county government going to build the warehouse like they said in the report? Do they not have land elsewhere close by? What exactly is the ‘critical infrastructure’ that is worth displacing several residents?

    Sure, lets get rid of the dilapidated trailers so we can put people out of their homes. After all, they can just find another place close by that they can afford, right?

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