Six public hearings on city agenda


By Sarah Willets



LUMBERTON — A public hearing on electrical rates is one of six scheduled to be held on Monday night during a regular meeting of the Lumberton City Council.

The City Council, meeting as the Council Policy Committee on Wednesday, recommended reducing retail rates for Lumberton electrical customers by 6.7 percent now that Duke Energy has purchased assets held by the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency, a cooperative made up of 32 towns that include Lumberton and Red Springs.

The $1.2 billion deal will lead to an immediate reduction in wholesale electrical rates and will cover much of the debt held by the cooperative, giving municipalities the chance to lower higher-than-average retail rates.

Wholesale rates for Lumberton will go down by 19 to 20 percent immediately, but over the next 10 years will increase about 29 percent. City officials said Wednesday that those increases wouldn’t be passed on to customers.

The 6.7 percent reduction, city officials said, provides respite to customers burdened by hefty bills while allowing the city to generate revenue it needs to pay for maintenance, repairs and upgrades to the city’s electrical system.

Also during the meeting, which begins at 6 p.m., public hearings will be held on a conditional-use permit request from Adelio Cruz for a restaurant that serves alcohol at 3541 Lackey St.; a request by Councilman Burnis Wilkins to rezone Lumberton Mobile Home park, which was condemned earlier this year, for commercial use; and a request from Amar Mustafa to rezone property at 2302 Elizabethtown Road for use as a car dealership. A public hearing required to close out a 2011 Community Development Block Grant will also be held.

Two retiring employees will also be recognized. Michael Sessoms, a water plant operator, is retiring after 30 years and Kenneth Locklear, fire marshal, is retiring after 26 years.

By Sarah Willets

Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.

Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.

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