ST. PAULS — Three incumbents and a first-term member were sworn in Thursday to serve on the St. Pauls Board of Commissioners.
District Court Judge Stanley Carmical gave the oath to incumbents Elbert Gibson, Annie Stephens, Debbie Inman, and newcomer Donna Patterson. The terms are four years.
Patterson defeated incumbent McClure “Buck” Terry Jr. in the Nov. 7 municipal elects to win the right to represent District 4. Stephens also beat off a challenger to keep her District 2 seat. Gibson, District 1, and Inman, District 3, were unopposed.
After administering the oath, Carmical said, “I admonish you, and all the commissioners here, that you were elected by the residents of your district to represent all the residents, whether they voted or not.”
The first act of the newly constituted Board of Commissioners was to unanimously elect Gibson mayor pro tem.
Board members later approved amending the town’s budget to reflect the appropriation of $130,000 for the purchase of a belt press, which will be used at the town’s water treatment plant to remove sludge and process it so it can be taken to the county landfill.
Town Administrator J.R. Steigerwald said the purchase will save the town money.
“We were paying a vendor between $40,000 and $60,000 a year to remove the sludge,” Steigerwald said after the meeting.
The press, which had been retired, was bought from a facility in Dillon, South Carolina, he said. It cost the town $19,000. The rest of the $130,000 will be spent on having the press taken apart, shipped to St. Pauls, having a foundation and building constructed for the press, and installing it.
The board also approved an ordinance authorizing the annexation of the land on which Pepsi Bottling Ventures LLC is building a distribution center.
Steigerwald said it was discovered recently that the annexation was undertaken and the paperwork filed. But an actual ordinance was missing. The 66 acres of land on N.C. 20 west of St. Pauls was annexed in September.
Town resident Michael Griffin rose during the public comment portion of the meeting to praise Steigerwald and the town’s Public Works employees for keeping a ditch bank adjacent to two homes of Lafayette Street clean.
“They are doing a wonderful job,” Griffin said.
The 40-year resident of St. Pauls confessed to being “an import” from California and Germany. He also said he loved living in St. Pauls, where he met his wife, Joann.
As for the ditch, he said, “Hopefully this will control the alligators and the flooding.”
He has killed two alligators, an 8-footer and a 4-footer, in the past four years, Griffin said.
“I could have brought their heads here to show you,” he said.
The board members laughed and assured Griffin it was quite all right that he had not brought the alligator heads to the meeting.
J0ann Griffin added her praise for the Public Works employees and Steigerwald.
“You should keep him. He’s doing a great job,” she said of Steigerwald.
In other business, the board approved:
— Maintaining the current regulation for the maximum height of a building in a residential zone. The height will remain 40 feet as measured from the ground to the coping of a flat roof; to the deck of a mansard roof; or to the mean height level between the eaves and ridge of a gable, hip or gambrel roof.
— An amendment to the town’s definition of a freestanding automatic teller machine. The new language defines a freestanding ATM as “teller machines that are totally separate from bank buildings and therefore generate more traffic.”
— Reappointing Jimmy White to the ABC Board.
— Reappointing Commissioner Gibson and Kenneth Rust to the Tourism Development Board.
— Reappointing Ronny McDonald and Mike Ratley to the Planning Commission. The board tabled finding a replacement for Libby Ferguson, who asked to be replaced because other commitments prevented her from serving on the commission.
Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]