LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council, meeting Wednesday as the Council Policy Committee, voted to cancel the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display, which had been postponed because of weather.
Seven council members voted to cancel the Family Fourth celebration, originally slated for July 3, rather than hold it on Aug. 30 in honor of Labor Day. Councilman Leon Maynor, who represents Precinct 7, voted in favor of the makeup date.
Those who voted against rescheduling the celebration voiced concern that many residents would be out of town that weekend and cited the additional costs of the event.
The city had a $15,600 contract with Pennsylvania pyrotechnics company Zambelli Fireworks. By canceling the event, the city will lose half of that investment — $7,800 — but save on other event costs, like a parachute jump by the All Veteran Parachute Team, and paying city staff that would have worked the event.
Tim Taylor, director of the Recreation Department, said the event had not been postponed or canceled in more than 20 years.
“Of course we appreciate our citizens and know they love it, but just looking at the costs and how many might come,” said Councilman John Cantey.
The council also authorized city staff to work with Rediscover Downtown Lumberton in designing a covered stage in the downtown plaza. Steve Branch told the council the band stand would serve as an alternative to the stage the city rents for $9,000 per Alive After Five season.
The proposed design will be brought back to the council for approval along with a cost estimate, although the city will not contribute money to the project. Rediscover Downtown Lumberton has said it would raise the money privately.
No action was taken during a closed session regarding possible litigation.
In other business, the council:
— Deeded easements at the intersection on Water Street and Elizabethtown Road between Fifth and Eighth streets to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to construct a roundabout.
— Heard a request by Darlene Jacobs, executive director of the Robeson County Church and Community Center, for money to replace the center’s roof. No action was taken.
— Heard a presentation by Stacey Prevette, community director for the March of Dimes’ March for Babies initiative. The organization needs sponsors for a walk in Luther Britt Park on Sept. 27. No action was taken.
— Heard a presentation by David Edwards, who asked that the city consider amending its rules for buying and selling back solar energy to accommodate homeowners and small businesses. No action was taken.
— Designated the following Community Revitalization Funds: $500 to the Godwin Heights Community Watch Program; $1,200 to Academic Excellence & Encouragement Ministry for a back-to-school event; $200 to Communities in Schools; $100 B.B. Thompson Community Choir; $100 to the Rape Crisis Center; $100 to the March of Dimes; and $1,350 to Knights of Pythagoras to go towards food and other expenses at a benefit plate sale for Lumberton police Sgt. Shawn Byrd.
— Accepted $243,766 in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to replace the Lumberton Fire Department’s outdated Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses.
— Approved engineering services contract with Wooten Company for $99,250 to continue mapping the city’s sewer infrastructure. A $50,000 Technical Assistance Grant from the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources will be put towards the project.
— Tabled a request from Murphy-Brown LLC to rezone property at the northwest corner of Contempora and Kenny Biggs Road in Lumberton for use as a livestock trailer washing facility.
— Approved a a conditional-use permit request from the Robeson County Arts Council to use a building located at 910 N. Walnut St. as its office and for art classes and exhibitions. The request will go to the Planning Board before a public hearing is held.
— Allocated $1,100 for Lumberton’s Dixie Youth 12U girls softball team to assist with travel, lodging and food during Dixie Softball World Series in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
— Approved a change-order for the Phase 3 and West Lumberton Sewer Rehabilitation Project, deducting $126,504 from the $1.8 million contract.
— Voted to apply for a $1,195,778 Community Development Block Grant to repair failing sewer pipes in the Lambeth Street area and to provide a $50,000 match to make the application more competitive.
— Voted to purchase and install a $127,500 grit removal system at the Lovett Road Lift Station.
— Allocated $7,958 to replace a deflector plate at the wastewater treatment plant.
— Voted to purchase a $52,451 Ford F-450 utility truck for the Public Works Department.
— Approved three subdivision plats in The Oaks neighborhood and set a $55,000 bond for completion of the project.
— Accepted a $7,788 general-use grant from the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services for the Pine Street Senior Center.
— Tabled a request from the Lumberton’s Sons of the Confederate to “adopt” Norment Cemetery and erect a monument to fallen Confederate soldiers.
— Amended the city’s ditching and piping policy so that a single property owner can request installment of drainage pipes.
— Granted a commercial solid waste franchise to All Points Waste Services Inc. of Laurinburg to operate in city limits.
— Approved an $18,000 contract with Retail Strategies Inc. to attract new businesses to Lumberton.
— Approved a job description for the position of Management Information System administrator.
— Voted to allow an awning to be put up at 405 and 407 N. Elm St.
— Voted to give $15,000 to Robeson County Teen Court.