Red Springs told no need for cemetery commission

Red Springs takes no action

By Terri Ferguson Smith -

John McNeill

RED SPRINGS — The Red Springs Board of Commissioners learned on Tuesday that the town does not have to have a cemetery commission but did not act on the information.

James Bennett, town manager, said the town organized its cemetery commission about three years ago to look at the fees charged for the cemetery. The commissioners last month asked Town Attorney Neil Yarborough to research North Carolina laws about such commissions.

Mayor John McNeill said the response from Yarborough was that the city is not required to have a cemetery commission because the cemetery’s upkeep and maintenance is paid through the town’s General Fund. McNeill said the next step is to decide whether the commission should continue and if so, what are its duties.

“Do we want to redefine the commission, form an advisory commission or something to that point?” McNeill said. “Do we want to continue as we’ve always done or do we listen to our citizens on any criticisms … ? You don’t have to take any action tonight but what’s the will of the board?”

McNeill said the commission has been inactive.

The commissioners turned down a request from the owner of a building on Cross Street to tear down the 8,000-square-foot structure.

Ernest Stephens, code administrator, said the owner had received prices ranging from $20,000 to $30,000 to demolish the building so he can clean up the property and sell it.

“I told him that I didn’t think we could help him because there is a business there,” Stephens said.

The mayor said it is private property.

“I don’t know but I would think — we go on private property and do that, I think there’s a nice jail cell waiting for us,” McNeill said.

McNeill said the city is allowed, under certain circumstances, to tear down a privately-owned building to fight urban blight.

“When we do that, we also put a lien on the property and end up getting a judgment and a property — not that we necessarily want it but nevertheless, that comes with it,” McNeill said.

In other business, the board:

— Heard from Commissioner Duron Burney, who asked that town employees with town-provided cell phones answer their phones on the weekends.

“If you’re on vacation, we understand,” Burney said.

McNeill said if commissioners need to speak with someone on the weekend they should start with the town manager.

— Recognized Billy Currie as the town’s Citizen of the Month.

Currie is a member of the Red Springs Rotary Club, First Presbyterian Church member and opened Currie Insurance in Red Springs.

— Considered the demolition of three houses on Brigman Street. The mayor said during the last two years, the town has demolished about 25 structures.

— Tabled discussion on the farmers market bathroom construction.

John McNeill McNeill
Red Springs takes no action

By Terri Ferguson Smith

Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.

Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.

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