Commissioners Get History Lesson On Famous Doctor During Budget Hearing

Joco News Logo 1Johnston County Commissioners will meet again on Monday night, June 13th to continue work on their proposed 2016-17 fiscal year budget.   Last month, County Manager Rick Hester submitted a $209 million spending plan that would keep the 78 cents property tax rate unchanged.

During a public hearing on the budget Monday, several agencies appeared before county commissioners asking for funding.

Lawrence Phillips appeared on behalf of the Wade Atkinson Memorial Library and Community Center Board of Directors at Corbett Hatcher.  In 1968, the property was gifted to the Johnston County Public Library, and has been operated annually with little to no funding.  Phillips asked for $200,000 to repair an aging auditorium, leaking roof, and an outdated HVAC system.

Phillips said the Johnston County Public Library no longer wishes to maintain the Corbett Hatcher property due to the expense of the repairs and liability issues and the Wade Atkinson Board of Directors would be interested in taking ownership of the facility if the county commissioners agreed.

Commissioner Ted Godwin said he was unaware the public library owned the property.  “It is an important community resource that is pretty heavily used and it does have historical value.”

Built in 1910, the building houses Dr. Atkinson original operating table and many other items. Atkinson at one time owned Atkinson Milling Company. According to the milling company website, he gained national fame as a physician in Washington, D.C. and local fame in Johnston County on summer vacations by giving medical treatment to residents at little or no cost.  He died in 1942.

Darlene Williford, Executive Director of the Johnston County Arts Council, thanked commissioners for making the arts an important part of the county.  Williford ask commissioners to increase funding by $5,000 for community programs and the Artists in the Schools program.

Kay Johnson, who has been on the job less than a month as the new executive director of Harbor, asked the board for an additional $25,000 to cover operating expenses.  Johnson said the agency assisted over 3,000 people in 2015.

No action was taken on any of the requests.

Commissioners will meet Monday, June 13th at 6:00pm and Monday, June 20th at 6:00pm to discuss the budget, with final adoption anticipated during a special called meeting Monday, June 27th at 8:15am.