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Roanoke Valley Rescue Squad received 62.38 percent of the votes Tuesday night in a referendum which will help it raise an estimated $121,000 through a property tax referendum.

Squad Commander Mark Collier said the 1 cent per $100 tax rate, which will only be levied within Roanoke Rapids, is expected to go into effect next fiscal year.

“We’re excited to say the least that the community has supported us like they have,” he said this morning. “We’re excited to see it come to light.”

He said it has been a struggle replacing badly needed equipment and now the squad can “map a path to get a lot of equipment and better serve the citizens of Roanoke Rapids.”

Collier has been commander of the squad since 2008 and has seen the drop in state and federal funding. The city of Roanoke Rapids, due to its own budget constraints, did not include funding for the squad for the current fiscal year.

The squad is currently operating with two ambulances which are 2013 models. Both are approaching 170,000 miles, Collier said.

Collier said the referendum, which had to be approved for placement on the ballot by city council, was a “one shot deal. If it didn’t go through, our time was limited.”

Now the members of the squad are looking forward to having a celebration to recognize the 62.38 to 37.62 percent victory. “We all had a long chat last night. There was a lot of hard work that went into this.”

For Collier the victory was personal as he leads the squad as a volunteer. “It means so much to me that the city supports us. I knew we would prevail. It’s wonderful to see the way it turned out.”

Instead of shuttering the squad, Collier said, “I’d rather put it to a vote. If the community voted to close it up we would do that. I would rather the community have their voice.”

There were 10,586 voters within the city limits who were eligible to vote on the matter.

In an election which saw 67.40 percent of the county’s 37,950 voters come to the polls, the measure passed 4,256 to 2,567.

Council had been contributing around $17,000 yearly to the squad but cut out outside contributions to organizations in the budget for this fiscal year.

State Senate 4 seat

Despite defeat in his bid for incumbent Democrat Toby Fitch’s seat, Republican Roanoke Rapids attorney Sammy Webb said today, “I feel good. A lot of people voted straight party. This is a district that favors the democratic party.”

Webb overall collected 42.86 percent of the votes in the race for the district which represents Edgecombe, Halifax and Wilson counties.

In Edgecombe County he collected 35.88 percent of the vote while in Halifax he collected 41.30 percent of the vote.

“What I felt good about was Wilson County,” he said. That’s where he collected 48.21 percent of the votes.

The 40 percent vote total was something he was looking for. “It means I’m going to run for something. I’m going to run against G.K. Butterfield. That was the seat I wanted to run for in the first place.”

Butterfield, a United States congressman, handily defeated Republican challenger Sandy Smith Tuesday night.

Webb said he would have not done anything differently. “I’m still going to focus on issues. I think Northeastern North Carolina still needs someone to focus on job creation. You’re going to see my name soon.”

State House 27 seat

In the state House of Representatives District 27 race, incumbent Democrat Michael Wray beat Republican challenger  Warren Nail by a 66.80 to 33.20 percent margin.

Wray could not immediately be reached for comment.

Weldon City Schools

In the Weldon City Schools Board of Education race, incumbent O.D. Sykes was the top vote-getter, collecting 28.7 percent of the votes.

It was a race in which three seats were open, including one who chose not to run, board of elections Director Kristin Scott confirmed.

It was also a race in which longtime board member Hugh Credle lost his seat, collecting the fewest number of votes — 22.02 percent.

Kimberly Ann Robinson collected the second highest vote total and Donna Belfield Harrison trailed her for the third seat.


Overall, Scott said she was pleased with the 67.40 percent turnout in the county. “The number of people who voted early was just amazing.”

There were a total of 18,380 people who voted early. “It is a record,” she said.

Driving the turnout was the fact it was a presidential year, coupled with the pandemic.