WalMart is planning on building an Express store in Pamlico County outside Oriental’s jurisdiction. The only practical way the store could get water services, is from the Town of Oriental.
Previously, the town said they would only provide water services only if they could annex the property, and expand town limits to include the property. However, WalMart declined.
Friday, the Town Board of Oriental unanimously agreed to allow Walmart to use its water services on the condition that WalMart would donate what their taxes would have been if they had annexed into town limits.
Town of Oriental Commissioner, Barbara Venturi, said this is about $2,000 every year per million on their property value.
“This is a business decision. The town operates a business where we sell water. WalMart is a business,” Venturi said.
Venturi said that if the Town of Oriental and Walmart had not come to an agreement, Walmart would have paid Pamlico County for a water pipe going from Oriental all the way to its Walmart Express location on Highway 55, beside the neighborhood Dollar General. This water pipe would be parallel to the towns existing water pipe. Venturi said these services would have cost Walmart an estimated $100,000.
“They didn't seem to blink at that. They were prepared to do that if necessary, but then the town would have had a competing water system,” Venturi said.
However, Pamlico County Residents, Jim Cobb and Roseanne Zimmerman, agree it’s not fair to those who have had to be annexed.
"I'm sorry to see the Town of Oriental cave in and not hold to their standards that they require these people to do," Cobb said.
"They're going to get away with a donation of taxes? That's all? No, I would get a lawyer and try to sue this town," Zimmerman said.
Some people like resident Stanley Boone think it is a good thing.
"It'd be nice for these people in this community, it could bring jobs, plus it helps some of these old people to make it to certain places because New Bern is so far," Boone said.
Resident, Joe Lane wonders why a Walmart Express Store is even coming to Pamlico County.
"There are only about 12,000 people in the County. How are you going to make any money with the amount of volume of traffic," Lane said.
Commissioner Venturi said Walmart will be under contract to donate the amount in property taxes for Oriental every year unless the store becomes annexed into the town. Venturi also said, that Walmart has volunteered to work with the City's Tree Board and Parks and Recreation Committee as well as other committees during the stores building process.