LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council on Wednesday heard requests from 11 department heads as the city tries to work toward a five-year capital plan.
The council took no action, and only addressed items that might affect the budget that takes effect for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Fire Chief Paul Ivey said manpower is his most pressing concern.
“My top priority as always is personnel,” Ivey said. “We would like to hire an additional six firefighters.”
The department barely has enough staff to operate all its vehicles, according to Ivey.
“Anytime we have somebody who calls in sick or someone gets caught with an emergency, we have a choice to make,” he said. “… We have a choice to pay overtime to keep all the trucks in service, or to take a fire station out of service to accommodate for the shortage we have on that shift.”
He said more firefighters are needed to operate tower and ladder trucks, which primarily operate during emergencies and rescues.
“We’re asking for new personnel so we can operate safely and operate as a crew at emergency scenes,” he said.
The wish list for Joshua Pusser, manager of the Lumberton Municipal Airport, included airfield lighting and signage rehabilitation, taxiways and apron rehabilitation, a hangar roof, land purchase, a map that details all land that is designated as airport property, and an evaluation of the drainage system, which he said is hampered with leaks.
“We have a huge safety concern with our lights,” Pusser said. “The youngest of our lights are about 20 years old, or more than that.”
The airport has already been awarded a grant of $800,000 by state Department of Transportation for lighting. The City Council has agreed to a local match.
Mike McNeill, the chief of police, asked for $425,000 to purchase 15 new patrol vehicles and 10 video cameras to be installed in the vehicles.
Other department heads and their requests for the next fiscal year were:
— Lamar Brayboy, director of Electric Utilities, who requested a total of $580,000 for the replacement of a limb chipper, six handheld meter-reading units and a 55-foot bucket truck.
— Mitchell Pate, director of Emergency Services, who requested $9,750 for three desktop computers, monitors and printers, a ceiling mounted ionizer for the 911 center and a color laser printer.
— Ben Andrews, interim director of Inspections, who requested $18,000 to replace a 1990 Chevrolet Impala with a new Ford Taurus.
— Travis Branch, director of Management Information Systems, who requested $118,000 to purchase new software and to replace aging computers.
— Brandon Love, director of Planning and Neighborhood Services, who requested $42,000 to continue a contract with a consulting firm, and for the purchase of mapping software and two laptop computers.
— Rob Armstrong, director of Public Works, who requested $168,000 to replace a 1993 pickup truck and to continue maintaining street resurfacing programs; $23,000 for solid waste, which includes the replacement of an old pickup truck; and almost $2 million for water and sewer reconstruction.
— Tim Taylor, director of Recreation, who requested $452,160 to build walking trails and to manage repairs at local gyms and cemeteries.