Regional meeting to discuss IP planned

Published 10:28 am Saturday, October 24, 2009

FRANKLIN—As news of the mill’s closure sinks in, leaders from across the region are wasting no time assessing the impact on local communities.

Franklin City Manager June Fleming said “an exploratory” meeting involving officials from Franklin, Southampton County, Isle of Wight County and even Gates County, N.C. is planned for Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Workforce Development Center at Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin. The meeting is open to the public.

“We’re going to brainstorm ideas about what we could do to recover and assess what the impact could be,” she said.

Originally for local officials, the meeting has expanded to include elected state officials and a representative from U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes’ (R-Va.) office.

The loss of revenue will likely have a serious impacts on local government, especially in Franklin and Isle of Wight County.

“We’re geared up to make budget adjustments to accommodate reduced revenues,” Fleming said Friday. She said that the city’s Finance Department is working to figure out exactly what the impact of the mill’s closure will be on the budget for this fiscal year and for the next fiscal year.

“The most pressing issue right now is the impact for this fiscal year,” she said. City staff will start working on a plan Tuesday, she said, because she doesn’t expect the Finance Department to have exact figures until Monday.

Isle of Wight County’s Budget and Finance Department is also working to figure out the impact the mills closure will have on the county’s budget.