Fairmont gets $200K of equipment to aid with street work

Scott Bigelow - Staff writer
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FAIRMONT Members of the Fairmont Board of Commissioners members got their first look Tuesday at about $200,000 worth of new equipment for the Public Works Department.

On display behind the Fairmont South Robeson Heritage Center was a New Holland tractor with mower, a Caterpillar front end loader and an International truck with an arm that an be used to remove debris from town streets.

“Thank you for finding the funds for this purchase,” Public Works Director Ronnie Seals told the commissioners. “It is the first new equipment we’ve had in many years, and something we are proud of. It makes our work a little easier.”

Commissioner Felecia McLean-Kessler was impressed.

“If I need a second job, I hope you will teach me how to drive this,” Kessler said. “To keep the town looking good, it takes good equipment.”

Also on Tuesday, the commissioners approved a contract for the 2018-19 audit with accounting firm S. Preston Douglas & Associates LLP. The contract is worth $13,900, according to town Finance Director Linda Vause.

Vause is retiring on June 14, so her auditing days are over after 20 years of working for the town.

“Last year’s audit had no exceptions,” she said.

The commissioners appointed Cheri Smith, a Fairmont resident and Fayetteville businesswoman, to the Economic Development Committee. Smith asked to join the committee, and her appointment fills out its membership.

Veronica Hunt, a town Finance Department employee, was named treasurer of the Firefighters Relief Fund. She is well trained for the work, Town Manager Katrina Tatum said.

Commissioner Charles Kemp asked that discussion of a cleanup of a burned out warehouse on South Main Street be placed on the May agenda of the board. The warehouse burned two years ago.

“The owner has no money to clean it up, and I’ve tried to work with him,” Tatum said. “Our options are to exercise code enforcement, and if he cannot pay, we will pay to clean it up.”

That sparked a negative reaction from Commissioner Terry Evans, who said, “I’m not paying taxpayers money to clean up somebody else’s mess. It’s a big site out there.”

No action was taken.

During the information session, Tatum encouraged Fairmont neighborhoods to investigate using an internet community watch program called Next Door. The Fisher Park neighborhood is using it successfully, she said.

“It allows neighbors to communicate with one another, and it’s free,” Tatum said. “It allows neighborhoods to define their watch area. I’d like to see all our neighborhoods join.”

Early voting in Fairmont begins on Monday in the Fairmont Fire Hall. It runs until May 4.

There will be a job fair on May 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Heritage Center.

The fifth annual Fairmont May Day Fun Festival is May 5. It begins at 10:30 a.m. with a parade. The event includes a children’s carnival, food, and arts and crafts vendors, a step show, classic car and motorcycle show, a professional motorcycle stunt team, gospel singing in the park, a pound cake cook-off, and more.

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Scott Bigelow

Staff writer

Staff writer Scott Bigelow can be reached at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]

Staff writer Scott Bigelow can be reached at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]