LUMBERTON — Five police officers, two firefighters and a building inspector were recognized at a retirement ceremony held by the City Council on Monday night.
“It’s a two-sided coin,” Mayor Ray Pennington said after the meeting. “I’m happy to see people retire. It means that Lumberton is a good place to work if they work until retirement. It’s unusual to see so many retire at once, but it’s the start of a new generation.”
Johnny Barnes, a 50-year-old former police captain, was among the retirees recognized by the city.
“After 25 years, I’m going to miss working with the men and women of the Police Department,” Barnes said after the meeting. “I’ll miss a lot of aspects of police work like solving crimes, helping the community and getting rid of the bad guys.”
Barnes offered hope to the future generation of law enforcement — and a promise to continue his service.
“Hang in there — make it a career,” he said. “I’m not stopping now. I’ll be instructing law enforcement at the community college, which will allow me to shape the next wave of officers.”
Also recognized were Elton Tyndall, a battalion chief with the Fire Department; Jens Lutz, fire captain; Don Ward, police sergeant; Burnis Wilkins, police sergeant; Kenneth Sinclair, materials and inventory specialist with the Police Department; Gregory Jacobs, police sergeant; and Joseph Allen, director of Inspections.
All received a plaque and the police officers were given their service pistols.
In other business, the council:
— Approved repair work to lighting and signage at Lumberton Municipal Airport at a cost of $800,000, most of which will be paid for with a state grant.
— Approved $561,332 in sewer improvements to Old Whiteville Road that will be paid for with a Community Development Block Grant.
— Approved the purchase of two spare pumps at the Wesley Pines and Harrill Road lift stations at a cost of about $35,000. money that will come from the Water and Sewer Capital Fund.
— Decided to seek a Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant for a drainage project on First Street that is projected to cost $744,860.
— Approved the purchase of six voltage regulators from Siemens Energy Inc. that will be used to replace existing smaller generators. The cost is $116,040.
— Approved a contract with the Lumberton Housing Authority, which will pay the city $10,293 a month to provide police officers for security at the authority’s public housing complexes.
— Approved the purchase of the vacant Lumberton Dying and Finishing plant between First Street and Town Common as the first step in a drainage improvement plan.
— Approved $200 from the Revitalization Fund for W.H. Knuckles Elementary School’s Positive Behavioral Intervention Support Program., $300 for a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, and $2,000 for school security measures at Tanglewood Elementary.
— Approved an exchange of defibrillators between Southeastern Regional Medical Center and the Lumberton Fire Department.
— Approved the close out of a 2009 Community Development Block Grant used for the installation of sanitary sewers, a lift station and sewer hookups for 72 residents on Old Whiteville Road, work that cost $69,000.
— Approved a conditional-use permit that allows Cape Fear Solar I to install a solar farm on West Fifth Street.
— Approved a rezoning application and conditional-use permit that Carolina Home Care Agency needed to operate a day treatment program for at-risk children at 511 E. Second St.