LUMBERTON — Raymond Cummings was elected chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners on Monday, and Berlester Campbell was elected vice chairman.
Both terms are one year.
They were elected by voice vote and without comment at the beginning of a regular meeting that lasted about 40 minutes. Cummings, the previous vice chairman, succeeds outgoing Chairman Tom Taylor.
Board members voted “a couple of years ago” to rotate leadership, Taylor said. The normal rotation is the vice chairman moves into the chairman’s seat, unless the sitting vice chairman declines to be chairman.
Immediately after Cummings was elected he and Taylor switched seats.
“I finally get back over here to straighten you out,” Taylor said jokingly to Commissioner Jerry Stephens as Taylor took his new seat.
There were no comments when the commissioners approved an economic incentives agreement with Campbell Soup that calls for the county to refund 50 percent of the property taxes the company pays in 2018 and make available in 2018 a grant of $6,391 to the company that plans to expand its presence in Robeson County.
The incentives are contingent on Campbell Soup making an investment of $2.1 million in the county, maintaining the current level of full-time employment during the three-year grant period, list and pay its taxes properly and remain in Robeson County for three years from the date of the incentives agreement.
There were few comments during the seven public hearings that took place.
The commissioners approved a request from the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina to rezone five acres of land on Singletary Church Road in the Wisharts community to Residential from Residential/Agricultural for the purpose of building duplex apartments.
“This would be housing for the elderly,” Anthony Holden, of Pembroke, told the commissioners.
The commissioners approved a conditional-use permit that would allow the establishment of a family cemetery on 14.37 acres of land in Union Township. The request was made by James and Samantha Hunt. The cemetery would be located on Wilbert Jr. Drive in Rowland and contain 30 burial plots.
Mitchell Locklear’s conditional-use permit request to allow for the establishment of an auto repair business and dealership in Pembroke was approved without comment. The business will be located on 5.3 acres of land on McMillian Road.
The commissioners approved a conditional-use permit request from Wallace Cox that allows for the establishment of a flea market on N.C. 41 about four miles east of Lumberton. The flea market is to move into an existing facility that was being used for skilled video gaming.
“It’s been emptied out,” Cox said of the building.
“As long long as he changes it to a flea market I don’t have a problem with it,” said Taylor, in whose district the building sits.
A rezoning request for the establishment of a neighborhood grill in Wisharts was withdrawn because the property was sold. Conditional-use permit requests for the establishment of a mobile home moving business and mechanic shop in Philadelphus and for a semi-truck and trailer parking lot in Lumber Bridge were tabled at the request of the people asking for the permits.
The commissioners said they would consider a request from Brenda Hunt, Borderbelt AIDS Resources Team director, for money to help pay for the holiday food baskets to be given to 30 clients. The baskets with about $70 worth of food are given out each year during the Christmas season.
In other business, the commissioners approved:
— A $32,250 contract for the installation of closet doors at Robeson County Housing Authority’s Benton Court in Rowland. The contract goes to Kitchen Cabinet Specialist of Indiana.
— A contract to have Synergy Coverage Solutions, of Charlotte, provide workers compensation claims and loss prevention services.
— A budget amendment of $94,209 for maintenance of Department of Social Services vehicles.
— A budget amendment allocating $400,000 for the completion of the backup 911 center.
— Buying land at 641 Paris St. in Back Swamp Township for $8,154. The land, formerly owned by John Alton Brown, became available after the county initiated tax foreclosure proceedings.
Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]