LUMBERTON — Robeson County Commissioners approved on Monday the use of a construction manager at risk, which allows local municipalities and county organizations to begin projects that were years in the making.
The commissioners voted to hire Metcon Construction Inc. to act as construction manager at risk for Hurricane Matthew Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery infrastructure projects. The construction company will work closely to get the best bid prices for projects and will oversee project designs, among other duties.
The county submitted information in 2018 related to the CMR contract and just received the green light from the state and N.C. Emergency Management to award the contract.
“They finally gave us the go ahead today,” County Manager Kellie Blue said.
That means projects such as Pembroke’s Stormwater CDBG project can move forward, she said.
Commissioners approved Cary-based MacConnell and Associates, P.C. to act as the engineering and consulting firm on the Pembroke project, which still in the design phase.
“They’re ready to get started,” Blue said.
The project, funded by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, involves the removal and replacement of a 66-inch metal stormwater pipe with an open channel to increase “peak stormwater flow by more than 200%,” according to the County of Robeson Request for Qualifications-Engineering Services document obtained by The Robesonian.
The project is expected to begin within 30 days of the contract award and be completed within a three-month period, according to the documentation.
In other matters, commissioners heard that more than 300 beavers were removed from the county last year.
During that time, 101 sites were closed and 190 dams removed, said Andrew Taylor, a United States Department of Agriculture wildlife specialist who works in the county. More rain has caused the displacement of beavers and pushed them out of their normal areas of habitation.
The USDA has been unable to fill the extra position the county government budgeted for, he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused hiring to be put on hold, said Butch Adams, USDA Services District supervisor. But, three weeks ago he was told by the state director the position is on the list of hires to be made.
Other wildlife specialists helped him respond to calls in the county this past year, but there is still more to be done and calls keep coming, said Taylor, who asked for time and patience from commissioners as he strives to complete his heavy workload.
Multiple commissioners thanked Taylor for his work in the county.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for those guys,” Commissioner Lance Herndon said.
Taylor said he expects to receive from the N.C. Department of Transportation a list of 15 sites that are flooding, possibly because of beaver activity, to attend to soon. An area in the Union Chapel community and one on Wire Grass Road are on his list.
The commissioners also talked about trash Monday.
Board of Commissioners Chair Faline Dial said Solid Waste has distributed 25,000 bags in the past month and will order 16,000 more for cleanup initiatives.
“A lot of people are taking interest in getting bags and cleaning up,” she said.
The cleanup effort is great, but residents need to change behaviors that lead to littering, Commissioner Wixie Stephens said.
In other business, Commissioner John Cummings said military units from Fort Bragg military base can now rent county surplus properties for training.
“We’re able to now recruit units there in Bragg to start working in the county,” he said.
Doing so will allow federal money to come into the county, he said.
After some discussion, the commissioners approved a request to amend a special use permit to allow 30 vehicles to be placed on property on U.S. 301 in St. Pauls that is the site of a proposed mechanic shop. Approval came with the condition that property owner Herdman Revels Jr. does not own the leased property near the site of the proposed mechanic shop where nearly 100 vehicles are situated in violation of the county’s junkyard ordinance.
Revels said the vehicles are not on his property. However, Dixon Ivey Jr., director of Community Development for Robeson County, said they were and he would verify property lines again on Tuesday. If he does own the lot, the permit will be revoked.
Commissioners also approved language in the county’s new dangerous dog ordinance that addresses dogs with a first offense that occurred while the old ordinance was in effect.
“It wasn’t clear in our ordinance that we could use that first bite prior to that second ordinance,” County Attorney Rob Davis said.
Commissioner Tom Taylor was appointed as a Board of Commissioners representative on the county’s Transportation Advisory Committee and David Edge as an alternate commissioner. Commissioner Stephens was appointed to the Eastpointe Mental Health Committee, and Monte McCallum reappointed as a community representative. Commissioner Judy Sampson was appointed to the Southeastern Economic Development Commission and community representative McDuffie Cummings was reappointed.
On Monday the commissioners also approved:
— A special use permit request from Rebekah Jacobs for storage of materials and equipment for an existing plumbing business on McDuffie Crossing Road in Saddletree.
— Allowing County Tax Administrator Robert Conner to advertise uncollected county taxes and liens on real estate in a newspaper during April. The uncollected taxes in those categories total $5,976,355.26.
— Transfer ownership of the county’s computer operations building on Ninth Street in Lumberton to the River Run Arts Guild for the housing of art exhibits.
— Robeson County Housing Authority’s Moving to Work Plan Resolution, and amendments to its maintenance charges, personnel policy and budget for fiscal year 2020-21.
— A resolution to advertise a bid of $7,000 plus the cost of advertising for property at 5867 Barker Ten Mile Road in Lumberton.
— A resolution to accept a bid of $3,000 plus the cost of advertising for property on J C Hut Road in Pembroke.
— A resolution to accept a bid of $3,000 plus the cost of advertising for property at 2650 Pleasant Hope Road in Fairmont.
— A resolution to accept a bid of $3,410 plus the cost of advertising for property at 106 Lola B Drive in Fairmont.
The next meeting will be held on April 5 at 9 a.m.