The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Opinion

October 25, 2012

ECC sales tax will strengthen public safety

TARBORO — The Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero is quoted as saying, “The safety of the people shall be the highest law.”

On Nov. 6, Edgecombe County residents will cast their vote on the quarter-cent sales tax referendum. That vote could help Edgecombe Community College better train the heroes of Law Enforcement, Firefighting, 911 Communications, Emergency Management, and Emergency Medical Services who make up our county’s public safety system.

Our society is always growing, changing, and presenting new challenges for our county and our citizens. When the challenges we face involve crime, fire, hazardous materials, medical emergencies, disaster response, and other issues of public safety, it is important  we be proactive in training responders to meet the worst case scenarios.

It doesn’t end there. It is equally as important to continuously refresh their knowledge and skills with new techniques as they emerge.

Both campuses of Edgecombe Community College as well as local fire departments are currently used to provide training for our emergency responders. This is necessary but still leaves so many needs unmet.

Emergency classes are complex and often require expanded space and specialty equipment. Our classes now move from room to room as space allows; occasionally there are no classrooms available.

Dedicated space also is needed to place specialty equipment and simulation labs that cannot be moved in and out of traditional storage spaces. The proposed 24,000-square-foot Workforce Training Center on the Tarboro campus will feature training rooms specialized to meet the EMT, paramedic, firefighter, technical rescue, and law enforcement training needs that cannot be met due to our current space limitations.

We all suffer as a result of the sluggish economy and look forward to the return of better times. At the college we see the strain on the faces of some of our students and we hear the stories of how education is helping them overcome their obstacles. I can’t begin to describe the joy I find in helping someone who is unemployed or underemployed to complete a program and enter a new profession with newfound pride and stability.

Many unemployed, underemployed, and displaced workers seek out new career opportunities that are personally rewarding but also have that feeling of stability not previously enjoyed in the private sector. Some of these students search for emergency services jobs that are always in demand.

Imagine giving back to your community as you earn a living!

The revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax would provide the funds needed to move forward with the planning, design, and construction of the new Workforce Training Center without an increase in property taxes.

Our goal at the college is to provide programs and job training to promote economic recovery for all Edgecombe County citizens. In the Public Safety Programs area we also work to keep our county’s citizens safe and healthy. These missions will never change. Now your college needs your support so we can continue to train our local heroes. Please say “YES” to Edgecombe Community College.

Lee Darnell, MBA, NREMT-P

Coordinator,

Public Safety Programs

Edgecombe Community College

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