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Smithfield waiting on the future of rural center funding

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. -

Gov. Pat McCrory called for funded to be cut to the North Carolina Rural Center after a state audit raised questions about how tax payer money was being spent. The end of funding is having an affect on towns across the state.

The Town of Smithfield had plans to use a $200,000 grant from the center to convert a vacant building into a senior citizen medical facility. The conversion would bring around 50 jobs to the area.

"We're talking about 40 to 50 jobs with an average salary of $55,000," said Chris Johnson, Executive Director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation.

But with the rural center told not to spend a penny, Johnson is worried the grant may be in jeopardy.

Johnson said he has emailed the rural center but can't get any answers. "They are waiting on the governor's office and the legislature to find out what the future's going to be," he said.

With the Town of Smithfield already anticipating the additional jobs and benefits of the health center, the town's mayor said it is time to talk to the legislature.

"We do want this project this project to continue and we'll probably be calling our legislators," Mayor Daniel Evans Jr. said.

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