City adopts budget

Sarah Willets | The Robesonian Mayor Raymond Pennington reads a proclamation declaring June Small Cities Month in Lumberton during a City Council meeting on Monday.

LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council on Monday night gave the final stamp of approval needed to adopt the city’s next budget.

The budget maintains the current property tax rate of 65 cents for every $100 of property, includes a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for city employees and raises water and sewer rates by 7 percent. The budget also sets aside money to repair city streets, several recreational facilities and sewer infrastructure and build a Memorial Park downtown.

No one spoke during a public hearing on the $82 million budget.

During a public comment period at the start of the meeting, three residents detailed recent crimes in the Cliffridge neighborhood. According to the residents, break-ins and thefts have increased since the Carriage Hill apartments were constructed.

One resident said items left in yards are frequently stolen, while another described unsupervised children playing on residents’ vehicles. About 20 people attended the meeting because of the issue. They said they would like Carriage Hills’ management to pay for a fence around the housing complex, and that they would like neighborhood watch signs to be erected.

The City Council will not meet for its July 8 Council Policy Committee meeting or July 13 regular meeting and will reconvene in August.

In other business, the council:

— Agreed to have three additional police officers patrol Lumberton Housing Authority properties, bringing the total number of officers on the beat to four, and authorized city staff to apply for a grant to help cover the expense.

— Held a public hearing and approved a conditional-use permit for SoHo Asian Bistro to serve alcohol, with the condition that the restaurant be open no later than 11 p.m.

— Authorized the Lumberton Police Department to apply for a $35,345 Edward Byrne JAG Grant to be used for training, equipment and overtime.

— Designated the following Community Revitalization Funds: $500 to Communities in Schools for its annual banquet; $250 for the Knights Boys Basketball Camp; $500 to the Oakridge Association; $500 to the Wycliffe Association; $500 to the Wycliffe East Association; and $2,301 to Sandy Grove Baptist Church for a summer youth academy.

— Agreed to enter into grant agreements with the Department of Transportation for taxiway and apron rehabilitation at the Lumberton Regional Airport. The two grants are in the amounts of $123,076 and $2,263,061.

— Approved a request by Councilman Robert Jones to de-obligate $4,110 in Community Revitalization Funds that had been designated for several purposes but were not used by the recipients.

— Authorized city staff to prepare an application to rezone Lumberton Mobile Home Park for commercial use and authorized city staff to demolish any remaining structures at the park.

— Referred to the Planning Board a conditional-use permit request from Adelio Cruz for a restaurant that serves alcohol at 3551 Lackey St.

— Referred to the Planning Board a request from Amar Mustafa to rezone property at 2302 Elizabethtown Road for use as a car dealership.

— Approved a $295,600 bid, contingent on the city receiving a loan, from Trogon of Whiteville to build an addition at the Lumberton Public Works building and renovate the locker room.

— Approved the final plat for Phase 3 of the Wyndam Estates Townhomes subdivision and set a $23,000 bond for the completion of paving, concrete work and landscaping.

— Approved the final plat for Section 2, Part 3 of the Amberdale Village subdivision and set a $15,000 bond for the completion of grading and sidewalks.

— Approved a $1,327,000 bid, contingent on the city receiving a loan, for Utility Services Co. Inc. to rehabilitate two water tanks and approved financing contracts to pay for the repairs.

— Amended a contract with the Wooten Company for $13,800 in additional work on the Britt’s Farm Sewer Replacement Project.

— Held a public hearing and approved a request to rezone property at 3303 W. Fifth St. for use as an automotive mechanics shop.

— Approved a $24,935 bid for Stone’s Painting Corporation to repaint Electric Utilities Department buildings.

— Designated as surplus two refuel trucks used by the Lumberton Regional Airport.

— Authorized airport staff to purchase an aviation gasoline truck from Lumberton Ford for $31,390.

— Authorized May 2015 property tax releases.

— Proclaimed June Small Cities Month.