Local News

State Inauguration Ceremonies Likely To Come With Big Bill

Posted January 11, 2005

— Gov. Mike Easley and the state Cabinet will take the oath of office this weekend, but the ceremony comes with a big bill.

Easley's second

swearing-in ceremony

on Saturday will draw from a $200,000 fund appropriated by state lawmakers.

"It's a charge that we have to assume great responsibility for, so we are being very, very careful about that," said Julia Carpenter, chairwoman of the inauguration committee.

That fund will pay for everything from contractors to catering to production upgrades for UNC-TV's coverage, but not included in the $200,000 will be time for the Highway Patrol. Following tradition, troopers from around the state will come to Raleigh to provide security and drive dignitaries, donors and their families where they need to go.

"Everybody has their own protocol, so we're trying to incorporate all those to ensure it's done just right," Carpenter said.

Honoring North Carolina's high offices and traditions costs taxpayers on the front end, but on Saturday, the ceremonies are free and open to the public. The lavish balls and galas that follow are privately sponsored. Ticket packages that range from $100 to $5,000 cover costs and fundraising for the Raleigh Junior League.

Gov. Jim Hunt's last inauguration in 1997 cost about $130,000, which included a $30,000 bill from the federal government because National Guardsmen were used for preparations.

One of North Carolina's favorite sons will take also part in this weekend's ceremonies.

Andy Griffith

will read a poem at the swearing-in for Easley and the Council of State.

You can find live coverage of all the inaugural events on the

WRAL NewsChannel

. The swearing-in ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday. At 8 p.m., you can watch live coverage of the Inaugural Gala from the convention center.

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