There is an air of excitement in Mount Olive, and it is much more than the arrival of the holiday season.
Foremost, of course, is the real kickoff of the holiday season with the Dec. 6 annual tree lighting at the 130-foot tower at town hall.
The Christmas Parade follows at 10 a.m. the next day.
Newly-elected Mayor Kenny Talton is set to assume office when he is sworn in at the 7 p.m. Dec. 2 regular town board meeting to be held at the Historic Train Depot.
The meeting was relocated to the Train Depot because of an anticipated large crowd.
Re-elected town board members will also be sworn in and, in the only other action on the agenda that night, the board will select a new mayor pro tem.
Other excitement right now includes the opening of Mount Olive’s newest restaurant — Empty’s Seafood & Barbecue at 128 N. Center St.
It will open its doors seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and feature dine in or take out.
The restaurant seats 48 and employs 15.
Soundra Beamon of Goldsboro worked jointly with the Wayne County Arts Council and Julie Beck of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce with the donation of a piano that is now sitting in front of the local chamber office and there for anyone to sit down and beat out a tune.
Ms. Beck says the piano will get a going over and have a new look — pickle green.
It is already attracting players.
It is early right now, but usually the town board will meet sometime in January or February for a work session that focuses on putting a new fiscal year budget together.
It is pretty much a six-month long effort to finalize a document that finances the operations of the town.
Town manager Charles Brown said at this point it appears there is a slight increase in sales tax revenue, the town’s second largest source of revenue.
The town routinely gets around $70,000 to $80,000 monthly in sales tax revenue.
Brown said usually there are a few slow months when it dips down to around $60,000, but, he said, that has not occurred for the first six months of the current fiscal year.
It indicates not only a healthy local economy, but also a healthy national economy.
Congratulations go out to new Mayor Kenny Talton, and we look forward to working with him.
William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune.