FAIRMONT — A prospective business owner will be granted a six-month extension to get his building up to code but must pay a fee up front, the Fairmont Board of Commissioners decided on Tuesday.
Phillip Wall, who has owned the Callahan building for 18 months, requested another 18 months to get the building up to code. The board voted unanimously to allow extensions on the property in six-month increments, for which a fee of $125 per month — a total of $750 — will be paid up front. If the job is done sooner, the money will be pro-rated and returned to Wall.
The fee was determined based on the amount of the original purchase price of $500 plus the monthly water and sewer charges the town would have received if the business were operating.
“The key is it starts getting more and more expensive,” Commissioner Wayland Lennon said. “We’re trying to encourage him to finish.”
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board unanimously passed an ordinance which will enact a sliding fee scale for the licensing of Internet gaming machines. The ordinance makes it cheaper for large-scale gaming businesses to move their business into Fairmont. Town officials are looking for new tax revenues to boost the General Fund.
The ordinance was prompted by business owner Walter Jones’ interest in placing 50 machines in a building that used to house Dollar General in the Bo’s Shopping Center, Town Manager Linda Vause said during a budget workshop on June 13. Jones has previously had three gaming machines in a building beside a laundromat on Walnut Street, Vause said.
If the business moves in with 50 machine, town officials expect to collect $46,280 in licensing fees a year.
The board also held a public hearing on the town’s upcoming budget, which will be adopted at a special meeting on June 28. The proposed budget keeps the current tax rate of 73 cents for every $100 property, but includes a $2 increase in garbage collection fees to offset rising fuel surcharges and rate increases from Waste Management, a private company that handles trash pickup for the town.
Also on Tuesday, the board:
— Chose Commissioner Kim Ammons as an alternate representative for the Lumber River Council of Government’s board.
— Adopted the Robeson County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update.
— Agreed to continue participation in the North Carolina Small Town Main Street program.
— Recognized Fairmont High School art students Tayler Warren and Goliath “Luke” Hunt for projects that won state awards.
— Recognized Fairmont High School student Nicholas Brown, winner of the 2012 Farmer’s Festival T-shirt design contest.
— Heard from Kelly Johnson, president of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, who asked the town board to “help get the word out” about the chamber.
“There’s been rumors that Fairmont does not have a Chamber of Commerce, and that’s just not true,” he said.