MAXTON — Town leaders agreed Tuesday to pursue $170,082 in grant and loan money from the federal government to buy six vehicles.
The total price for the vehicles is $173,082. The town will pay $3,000 of that up front. The United States Department of Agriculture will give the town a $30,000 grant and a loan of $140,000 to cover the cost.
The loan will be for seven years at an interest rate of 3.5 percent, said Larry Sampson, a USDA loan specialist. He urged the Board of Commissioners and Town Manager Kate Bordeaux to sign the loan paperwork quickly before the interest rates rise.
Sampson had the paperwork ready and signatures were attached before the commissioners and Bordeaux went into closed session to discuss a legal issue. Before any paperwork could be signed the commissioners had to approve a resolution saying Mayor Emmett Morton and Bordeaux were authorized to sign it.
Four of the vehicles will go to the Maxton Police Department. The department maintains about a dozen vehicles, two of which are not working.
The Public Works Department will get a new Ford pickup truck, and the sixth vehicle will go to town administration.
The vehicles are being bought from a dealership in Clinton, Sampson said. The dealership was chosen because it could make the vehicles “key ready” upon delivery. There will be no need for the town to go to someone else to place needed equipment in them or place town and department decals and detailing on them.
Sampson is not sure when the town can take delivery of the vehicles. That will depend on how quickly the town and the dealership can work out the purchase and delivery details.
“I’ve already got the money put aside,” Sampson said.
In another money matter, the commissioners approved awarding a $4,000 contract to East Coast Pyrotechnics Inc., of Catawba, S.C., to have the company provide the fireworks display at the town’s July Fourth celebration, which will take place June 30.
“We’ve looked at other vendors and the other vendors are higher in price,” Bordeaux said.
Rep. Charles Graham told the commissioners he is one of the 47 members of the House Select Committee on School Safety, which meets for the first time today.
“This is not about guns. This is not a Second Amendment issue,” the Democratic representative of District 47 said.
The committee will meet to discuss ways of making the state’s public schools safer, Graham said. It is imperative that the state does what it can to ensure children are safe when they are at school.
“I would like to hear from the public as it regards school safety,” Graham said.
The lawmaker gave out his cell phone number, 910-734-7254, and his Raleigh office number, 919-715-0875.
He also is trying to establish a program in which Robeson County residents with criminal records for only minor offenses can have those records expunged. He is working with the county District Attorney’s office, the state Bar Association and Legal Aid of North Carolina in an attempt to have the program in place by May.
In other business, the commissioners;
— Approved the town’s Emergency Operations Plan 2018. The plan establishes procedures for responding to disasters.
— Approved allowing the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport Commission to grant easement rights at a bridge on McGirt Gin Road to the N.C. Department of Transportation. The DOT needs the easement rights so the bridge can be extended.
— Heard from Bordeaux how Metcon, Pembroke-based construction company, has finished installing all the water pipes it is contracted to replace, except in the Brooklyn community. The project, including replacing soil, grass and paving where pipes were installed, should be finished in two to three months. The project has come in under budget and she is petitioning the state for approval to use the remaining money to replace water pipes in other areas of the town.
Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]