ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County’s government buildings will, at some point in the future, feature the nation’s motto.
Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to include the words “In God We Trust” on its properties, following a presentation by Rick Lanier, co-founder and vice chairman of the U.S. Motto Action Committee.
Lanier, a former Davidson County commissioner, led the way for the words to be displayed on his county’s Governmental Center in 2002, according to a pamphlet from the group.
The following year, the county was sued by attorney’s funded by the American Civil Liberties Union for violating the separation of church and state. However, the case was dismissed by a federal judge in 2004 and affirmed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2005. Later that year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, the pamphlet reads.
“Displaying the motto gives ceremonial honor to public occasions and expresses confidence in our society,” Lanier told commissioners.
He went on to say the the words have been used on U.S. currency since 1864 and are engraved above the entrance to the U.S. Senate chamber and above the speaker’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The motto was adopted by Congress in 1956 and reaffirmed in 2011 by an overwhelming majority, he added.
Lanier said since the campaign began, more than 80 municipalities have opted to include the motto on government buildings, then proceeded to name each one. Granville County, was the most recent, with commissioners there voting yes on Monday, he said.
Neighboring Scotland, Moore and Montgomery counties have also decided to add the words to their buildings.
“In times of both war and peace, these words have been a profound source of strength and guidance to many generations of Americans,” Lanier said.
He added that 100 percent of the costs are covered by private donations, and that about 70 of the municipalities that have voted do so have completed the addition.
Commissioner Thad Ussery said he was “all for it,” and although there was no action scheduled for the agenda item, made a motion “to put on every government building we’ve got.”
County Manager Rick Sago told commissioners that several projects — including the RSI Home Products manufacturing facility, the Envia Biomass wood pellet plant, the Northside Fire Department station and the Ledbetter Lake dam — are “moving along” and should be on schedule.
He added that they’re hoping to put out for bids on the county’s new 911 center by January.
Commissioners also voted to:
• adopt a resolution for proposed financing to purchase the First Bank building on Fayetteville Road;
• approve the re-appointment of Ussery to the Sandhills Center Board of Directors;
• approve a $3,000 loan to the town of Norman for the construction of a stage;
• adopt a resolution and approve a budget amendment for the fencing project at the Richmond County Airport;
• approve a $250,000 loan from the revolving loan fund to Tri Com Industrial, LLC, to preserve the eight existing jobs and eventual increase of three jobs;
• approve the 2017 fire and mutual aid contracts.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.