PEMBROKE — The executive director of the lead organization behind the Lumbee Homecoming asked a slimmed down Pembroke Town Council on Monday for more money for the annual celebration, saying security costs are spinning out of control.
James Hardin, executive director of theLumbee Regional Development Association, said that since the bombings at the Boston Marathon, new federal guidelines have been put in place for public gatherings of more than 1,000 people. As a result, security costs for the Homecoming reached a high of $18,000 last year. Traditionally the cost has been between $5,000 and $10,000.
“It’s good for the region, good for the town, good for the businesses,” Hardin said. “We are looking to ask the town, we are asking the town to increase their support to $10,000. We are asking mainly to help support increased security, the money you give will go to protect the town and the people.”
Only three members of the Pembroke Town Council were present because of severe weather and out-of-town commitments. That meant council members Larry McNeill, Theresa Locklear and Ryan Sampson were left to handle town business, with Mayor Greg Cummings and Councilman Channing Jones being absent.
The 49-year-old Lumbee Homecoming is a week-long festival that celebrates the heritage of the Lumbee people in Robeson County and is held in July. In the past the event has attracted as many as 40,000 people, Hardin said.
No action was taken on the request.
In other business, the town council:
— Voted to accept two changes to the town’s unified development ordinance. The changes are to clarify language in zoning ordinances related to restaurants, assembly halls and special events lasting two days or more. The Lumbee Homecoming is exempted from special-event zoning.
— Announced a Once Upon a Tea event for girls ages 5 to 12 to be held 4 p.m. April 29 at Milton R. Hunt Memorial Park.
— Appointed Terra Sanderson to the town’s Recreation Board.