LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to pass a resolution supporting a local resident’s efforts to have a bridge named for Jeremiah Goodson, a Lumberton police officer who was shot and killed on July 17.
The resident, a Fayetteville police officer identified by City Clerk Laney Mitchell-McIntosh as Stig Larson, asked council members at their monthly Policy Committee meeting to support his efforts to have the bridge, to be constructed at U.S. 301 as part of a new Exit 22 Interstate 95, named for the fallen officer. The bridge will be about a mile from where Goodson was shot to death.
For the bridge to be named for Goodson, the Robeson County Board of Commissioners and the state Department of Transportation would also have to support the proposal. Support from the general community is also needed. A petition seeking support can be found at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/naming-the-exit-22-bridge-at-i-95-the-jeremiah-mem/thank-you.
“This certainly is a good gesture,” City Manager Wayne Horn said. “I think this is very appropriate.”
Goodson was killed while attempting to serve a warrant for the arrest of 27-year-old Marques Brown, who is accused of shooting Goodson multiple times as he approached Brown’s vehicle at the Xpress Depot at 5030 Fayetteville Road.
In other business, after a lengthy discussion, council members decided to wait until at least December before making a decision on whether to do away with a retirement health insurance plan for new employees or possibly having to raise taxes to pay for the costly benefits.
Currently, retiring city employees are eligible for 100 percent of health insurance coverage.
Council members are reviewing a consulting firm’s actuary study that shows continuation of the city’s current plan will significantly deplete the city’s fund balance by 2029. It also shows that the city’s net assets would be overspent by $19 million in 20 years, hurting the city’s credit and ability to borrow money for capital expenditures.
The study’s three options that council members are now reviewing include: providing 50 percent health coverage for employees with 20 years service, resulting after 20 years with the city facing a $2 million deficit; providing 100 percent coverage after 30 years of employment, resulting in the city being $1 million in the red after 20 years; or completely abolishing the benefits package, leaving the city after 20 years with about $7.7 million in net assets.
Current employees would not be affected by any changes in the plan.
During Wednesday’s CPC meeting, the council also:
— Approved $200 of revitalization money for Golden Leaf Lodge’s fall scholarship banquet.
— Approved $500 of revitalization money for construction a handicap ramp to be located at1204 Godwin Ave.
— Approved $60 of revitalization money to pay Scottish Packing for services provided for the 911 Community Day celebration.
— Approved $500 of revitalization money for the Lumberton Junior Service League’s “Stocking Project.”
— Approved asbestos removal bids for four properties at a cost of about $34,000.
— Approved rezoning property on Griffin Street from R-7, single family residential/duplex, to R-3, residential multi-family. Plans are for two sets of duplexes to be developed on the same lot.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.