PEMBROKE — Pembroke’s regular monthly meeting was opened by the town’s mayor for the first time in 18 months on Monday.
Recently installed Mayor Greg Cummings opened the meeting by thanking residents for their support, the council for its dedication and teamwork, and his late predecessor Milton Hunt for his years of service.
“I’d like to thank the town of Pembroke for their vote. We are ready to go forward tonight,” Cummings said. “I’d like to thank the past mayor and his achievements over the past 30 years. He was our statesman. I want to thank him. I know he is gone, but he is still dear to my heart.”
Cummings was sworn in officially at a private ceremony in October; however, there will be a public swearing in Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Entrepreneurship Incubator.
His swearing in has been delayed by election do-overs and protests since last year’s November election. Councilman Channing Jones has been leading meetings since Hunt’s April 2015 death.
Also at the meeting, the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget was adjusted to prioritize sewer line repairs on Third Street. The line has suffered a collapse and cannot be cleaned or cleared. The money to fix this line will be taken from money budgeted to fix the Clifton Street sewer line, which for now will get a temporary patch.
“The intent is to address the Clifton Street line in a future budget year, but the higher priority is Third Street,” Town Manager Tyler Thomas said.
In other business, the council:
— Held public hearings to change zoning ordinances regarding the placement of automobile dealerships. Car lots will be considered by the council in commercial C-3 zoning, which includes areas such as Union Chapel Road, the area surrounding Walmart on one side of town and the Holiday Inn on the other.
— Changed zoning codes so that people looking to establish solar farms in Pembroke must now come to the council to specifically request that land use. Under the change, such industries are now conditionally-approved individually. Previously, the industry was permitted in Industrial I zoned areas.
— Approved a new four-year solid waste management contract. The town has been working on renewing the existing contract with Pembroke Waste and improving the services offered. The new contract, which will come into effect in December, will include white and brown good collections once a month, once monthly dedicated leaf and limb collection and recycling collection. New wheeled receptacles will be distributed to all residents.
Reach Mike Gellatly on Twitter @MikeGellatly.