RED SPRINGS — The town of Red Springs has hired a permanent code enforcement officer.
Anthony “Andy” Connor, who was picked to head the town’s zoning and planning efforts, was introduced at Tuesday’s Red Springs Board of Commissioners meeting.
“I would like to thank the town of Red Springs for giving me the opportunity to work with you,” Connor told the board. “I will try to make each and every one of you proud. My door is always open and if there are any questions, please feel free to contact me.”
Connor, a Lumberton native, began his new job on Monday.
Connor’s hiring marks the first time in several years that Red Springs has had a full-time code enforcement officer. The town had been contracting with the Lumber River Council of Governments to provide the town with a part-time zoning officer. That contract was for $12,600 for a code enforcement officer to work about 20 hours a week from April to July.
But town officials argued that Red Springs needed its own employee to handle issues like minimal housing violations; overgrown grass and shrubs; junk and abandoned vehicles; and proper commercial property maintenance.
The town budget approved in June includes $49,000 for a full-time position.
“Welcome aboard,” Mayor John McNeill told Connor. “We have 60 or 70 houses that need to come down. You’ve got a big job in front of you, but I’m sure with your experience, you can handle it.”
Connor had previously served as a building inspector with Columbus County.
Connor, who is 40, is a graduate of Fairmont High School and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He has worked in zoning for about 12 years.
“I feel real good about being here,” he said. “I think it is going to be a good place to work.”
In other business, the town board agreed to allow Town Manager James Bennett to spend up to $2,000 a year on recruiting efforts related to economic development.
The mayor said the money would be used for meals and travel to talk with prospective industries, lawmakers or developers about economic development in Red Springs.
“If we have a developer, industrial client or consultant come to Red Springs and we wanted to take them to Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch, there is no policy that says we can do that,” McNeill said. “That’s why we’re asking for this.”
The board also heard a report on the upcoming Robeson County Arts Council’s Art Cruise, a series of events to promote the arts in the county.
Margie Labadie, the president of Jumbo Arts International in Red Springs, said the local event will include a day of story telling with children and professional artists and a blues concert that night. It will be held Oct. 23 at Red Springs Middle School auditorium.