Angel Exchange not on county commissioners’ agenda

By: By T.C. Hunter - Managing editor

LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Board of Commissioners is not expected to take any action toward the possible purchase of the Angel Exchange building on Monday.

The building is not on the agenda for the meeting, and County Attorney Patrick Pait doesn’t expect the issue to be brought up when the board meets at 6 p.m. in its chamber at the county administrative building located at 701 N. Elm St. in Lumberton.

Negotiations continue for the building and the accompanying 29 acres of land near COMtech Business Park, according to Pait. No proposed contract will be presented to the board until “our due diligence has been completed and negotiations finalized,” Pait said.

The board’s attempt to buy the building has been met with public criticism and the Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education has indicated it does not want the building as a permanent central office. The system has been renting it for $9,000 a month after it lost its central office to Hurricane Matthew.

The commissioners voted 4-3 on Jan. 22 to buy the Angel Exchange building and land. Chairman Raymond Cummings and Commissioners Berlester Campbell, Jerry Stephens and Roger Oxendine voted in favor of the purchase, and Tom Taylor, Lance Herndon and Noah Woods against. Commissioner David Edge had an excused absence for the meeting, and has said he is opposed.

The building was not listed as an agenda item that night.

The commissioners reaffirmed their desire to negotiate a price for the building, which is listed at $6 million, during a Feb. 5 meeting during which the public showed up and expressed opposition. Woods this time voted to negotiate.

Included on Monday’s agenda is a public hearing on Project Pine. According to county Economic Development Director Greg Cummings, Project Pine involves a major company investing $20 million in an expansion that will create 25 jobs. Cummings said the company’s name will be announced Monday.

Cummings had intended to retire on Dec. 31, but has continued to work while the county looks for a replacement. The Robesonian has learned there are three finalists for the position, but it’s unclear when the job will be filled.

The commissioners are scheduled to take up a consent agenda that includes budget amendments for Parks & Recreation; Health; Animal Control; Jail; the South East Area Transit System; and Public Utilities. The consent agenda also includes an item about community development funds. No details are given on the agenda.

Items on the board’s consent agenda typically are approved or disapproved without discussion.

The commissioners are scheduled Monday to convene as the Housing Authority Board. Items for discussion include reports on finance, housing and maintenance; resolutions on a smoke-free housing policy; write-offs for delinquent accounts; approval for authorizing check signers; and an audit.

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By T.C. Hunter

Managing editor

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]