FAIRMONT — Fairmont commissioners on Tuesday honored their late colleague Amelia Ann McLean by reading a proclamation and a resolution in her honor and fulfilling her wish of appointing her daughter to finish out her term on the board.
McLean died July 23 after battling cancer. She was elected to the board in 2013, with her term to expire in December 2017.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Felecia McLean-Kesler to finish that term. McLean-Kesler works as the kitchen manager at Lumberton Correctional Institution.
McLean-Kesler thanked the town for “a great opportunity” and said she is “very excited to go forward with where my mother left off.” She will be sworn in at a later date.
Commissioner Terry Evans made the motion to appoint McLean-Kesler.
“It was her wish that her daughter fill her seat,” he said. ” … It would be wrong for me to overlook her wish and dream.”
Mayor Charles Townsend read the proclamation and resolution, calling McLean “a positive influence” who “offered herself unselfishly and willingly in the pursuit of a better community for all citizens.”
“Commissioner Amelia Ann McLean loved going into seemingly hopeless areas and creating fruitful and productive people as evidenced by her commitment to provide aid to released inmates and the homeless,” the proclamation reads.
The board also reviewed a proposal by Commissioner Charles Kemp to demolish several blighted properties in town. Kemp said he spoke to a contractor who would demolish and clear four properties for $14,500, and suggested the town look into ways to split that cost with the homeowners.
Commissioner Monte McCallum said he spoke with a contractor willing to knock down and clear three properties for $7,000.
The board took no action, deciding to look into additional bids for the work and the option of having town staff knock down some dilapidated buildings and a contractor clear the debris.
In other business, the board:
— Recognized waste water treatment plant operator Kevin Taylor, who recently earned his utility manager certification. Board members presented Taylor with a $500 bonus.
— Heard from Winona Gause, with the Fairmont Economic Development Committee, who said that Patricia Mitchell, assistant secretary for Rural Economic Development at the Department of Commerce, will speak at the South Robeson Heritage Center on Main Street on Aug. 24 at 5 p.m.
— Adopted a resolution allowing town employees to put unused sick time toward their total years of employment in order to retire and claim post-retirement health insurance benefits if they accumulate at least 2,080 hours of sick leave, equivalent to a year of work.
— Appointed Lynettah Hunt, Gradd Floyd and Stein Ellefson to replace Rod Heasley, Tony Mackey and Kelly Johnson on the Fairmont Economic Development Committee.
— Appointed Buster Jackson, Glenda Jackson, James Rogers and Legusta Floyd to the Bicycle/Pedestrian Steering Committee.
— Voted to give town employees four additional days off — Nov. 23, Dec. 29, Dec. 30 and April 17, 2017 — and a day off for their birthday. The change only applies for a year, when commissioners will revisit the policy.
— Adopted an ordinance, required by the Department of Transportation, saying Main Street will be closed during Farmers Festival on Oct. 15.
— Heard the following updates from Town Manager Katrina Tatum:
Tatum said she sent a letter to Sen. Jane Smith asking for a list of people who had told her they opposed the proposed satellite annexation of two properties near Exit 10. After the town board held a public hearing and voted to ask legislators to introduce a bill allowing the annexation, Smith said she could not support the measure because of opposition in the town, according to Tatum. Kemp said he had been blamed in the community for the measure’s failure and denied speaking to any legislators about satellite annexation in Fairmont. McCallum said there is “a reason it didn’t go through” and no one had named Kemp as the culprit. Tatum said she has not heard back from Smith.
Steve Edge, Solid Waste director for the county, said once per year, the town can haul debris from a residential demolition to the landfill free of charge and that the town can dump additional residential debris at a reduced cost.
The town was issued a civil penalty of $1,659.26 for exceeding the sewer system’s allowable capacity in February.
The town accepted Frank Horne Construction’s bids of $35,000 and $25,000 to demolish the Mitchell and Floyd street bridges.
An undisclosed buyer has expressed intent to purchase the former Munsingwear building on East White Pond Road.
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.