Here is to the hope for good days ahead.
The $5.5 million state grant to the town of Mount Olive to make repairs and updates to its ailing wastewater treatment plant, and the upset in the local mayor’s race in November were both certainly the top two local news stories of 2019.
The multi-million dollar grant brought a powerful wave of relief to local authorities who had been struggling for several years to find a source of revenue to assist them in slaying that rampant dragon.
Town Manager Charles Brown told me the other day the approved money is actually the desperately needed boost to secure and safeguard the present and future economic health of not only Mount Olive, but also the entire area.
Indeed, it is just that, and more. It allows officials to travel the right road in that dark tunnel.
This time the light has been turned on, and it should be clear traveling in the days ahead as the repair work gets underway in the days ahead.
And, we have a new mayor and a new idea for leadership.
Kenny Talton’s defeat of former Mayor Joe Scott signaled an apparent need for a breath of fresh air and young blood.
Talton brings both to the seat.
It is always difficult to unseat an incumbent in an elected office, but Talton and his supporters put together a “we are in it to win it” campaign.
When those weeks of intensive, and sometimes “down and dirty” campaigning came to an end, Talton was a decisive winner.
So, we have a new sheriff in town.
I look at both of these issues as major ones for the town. The days ahead are critical ones that need decisions and directions with a lot of thought as to what is best for all.
Talton campaigned for what he claimed to be a need to return to a manager/town board form of government.
On the books, that has been in place for quite a few years.
Hopefully, it will stay that way.
We can call it what we want and give credit to wherever or whomever, but in the end Mount Olive has $5.5 million to meet the needs of anticipated growth by bringing its wastewater treatment plant up to where it ought to be.
Ousted Mayor Joe Scott saw that need and worked hard to achieve it.
Now, current Mayor Kenny Talton sits in the seat to get it all done.
There is a near endless amount of work ahead, but with the blessings of experienced personnel and an experienced town board of commissioners, it should all fall in place.
An interesting challenge as a new year comes in.
William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune.