Council gives all-stars send-off


First Posted: 1/15/2009

LUMBERTON — The mayor and City Council were made honorary members of a championship youth baseball team, complete with baseball caps, during Monday’s council meeting at City Hall.
The state champion Lumberton Dixie Youth AAA All-Stars, coached by Tommy Forrest, presented the hats as a gesture of thanks for the council’s support of the team that will be representing North Carolina at the Dixie Youth World Series next week in LaGrange, Ga.
Council members donated a total of $2,000 from their community revitalization funds, and Mayor Raymond Pennington kicked in another $500 from his to help with expenses, with half going to the Dixie Youth team that’s leaving Saturday and will begin competing Monday.
The other half went to the repeat state champion Lumberton Border Belt Babe Ruth All-Stars team, which left for Theodore, Ala., this morning to compete in the Southeast Regionals, which begins Thursday.
As the caps were being distributed, it looked for a moment like Councilman Don Metzger was going to get stiffed. Metzger gave a look of mock concern before another hat was hustled over to him by team scorekeeper Tim Locklear.
Pennington thanked the team on behalf of the council.
“We congratulate the coaches and the players, but also the parents,” Pennington said. “Now, bring back the bacon.”
In other business, the council voted to renew a service contract with Synagro Central LLC to manage sludge generated by the city’s wastewater treatment plant at a cost of 27 cents per gallon, an increase of 2.5 cents per gallon over last year.
Public Works Director Rob Armstrong told council members during last week’s Policy Meeting the cost increase was reasonable based on higher fuel costs.
The council also approved with a single vote all of the following action that was taken last week.
— Referred a rezoning request from Carolan Inc. to the Planning Board to change a 13.66-acre site that is currently a mix of agriculture, heavy manufacturing and residential single-family zoning, to residential single family use and some multi-family dwellings such as townhouses. A conditional-use permit that prohibits mobile homes was also sent to the Planning Board.
Carolan is selling the land to Pinecrest Developers, which plans a 33-lot subdivision beside Pinecrest Country Club’s golf course. Donnie Douglas, the editor of The Robesonian, is a managing partner of Pinecrest Developers.
— Renewed a one-year contract with the Lumberton Housing Authority to provide police services at the city’s eight public housing projects. The Housing Authority will pay the city $7,395 a month for those services.
— Told staff to apply for a Community Development Block Grant program. The city is among several municipalities in a 25-county region competing for a share of $4 million. The first of two required public hearings was held Monday night, with no one speaking. The second will be held Aug. 11.
— Accepted a $105,350 state Gang Prevention Initiative grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission that would pay for two additional officers to respond to gang problems. The city could provide a required 25 percent in-kind match by supplying the officers with vehicles and covering the benefits at a cost of $16,955 per year.
— Referred a rezoning petition to the Planning Board that would allow Peniel Pentecostal Faith of God Church to establish a cemetery at 2650 McPhail Road.
— Referred a rezoning petition to the Planning Board that would rezone property owned by Smith’s Refrigeration at 2309 Elizabethtown Road from residential single-family to business general commercial.
— Authorized the mayor and city clerk to execute a lease with the Carolina Civic Center Foundation for the Civic Center building on the corner of Fourth and Chestnut streets. Terms of the lease call for the Foundation to pay the city $15,000 a year for use of the building through Dec. 31, 2013.
— Accepted a written agreement for the Lumberton Tourism Development Authority to pay $13,000 a year to the city for the cost of street lighting on Interstate 95.
— Instructed the building inspector to demolish an unsafe structure at 1116 E. First St.
— Deemed as uncollectible taxes totaling $8,818.39 assessed between 1998 and 2007.
— Decided that a donation of $61,000 from the Friends of Recreation and Park Foundation be combined with $35,000 in project funds to enlarge the playground as part of Phase I of the Northeast Park Project.
— Approved taking $200 from Councilman Robert Jones’ Community Revitalization Fund for a bridge at the end of Wilson Street.
— Approved taking $300 from Jones’ Community Revitalization Fund and another $300 from Councilman Leon Maynor’s Community Revitalization Fund for the Lumberton Football Association.
— Approved taking $200 from Maynor’s Community Revitalization Fund for Holly Ridge Housing.
In other business, the council conducted three public hearings required by statute. No one spoke at any of the hearings. As a result, motions in support of a rezoning of property at West Fifth Street and Airport Boulevard carried, as did motions for a conditional-use permit at 2150 E. Fifth St., and a rezoning for undeveloped property on Sanchez Drive near the Robeson County jail.

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