County delays call on pawnbrokers ordinance

By: T.C. Hunter - Managing editor

LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Board of Commissioners tabled on Monday discussion of a proposed update to an ordinance related to pawn shops after a local pawnbroker raised concerns.

“We would like a little more time to research what it would take to meet the ordinance’s requirements,” said Larry Stone, owner of Pawn Plus.

The proposed ordinance also would apply to precious metal dealers, scrap metal dealers, and secondary metal recyclers. It would require these businesses to use an electronic system for submitting records to the Sheriff’s Office, which would allow the Sheriff’s Office to better track stolen items.

The proposal was crafted after the Sheriff’s Office approached him, said Michael McDonald, assistant county attorney.

“This came at us really quickly, so we haven’t had time to research,” Stone said.

He uses a pre-printed reporting form at his Lumberton business, Stone said. That form does not have some of the reporting requirements in the proposed ordinance.

Board Chairman Raymond Cummings asked McDonald if postponing discussion of the ordinance until the May 21 commissioners’ meeting would create a problem. McDonald told him it would not. The commissioners then voted to table the ordinance.

The commissioners did give unanimous approval to a $705,821 fiscal year 2018-19 budget for the Robeson County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. The state Department of Public Safety is to provide $426,621 of the total budget.

The budget calls for the county to contribute $109,161, $50,000 of which is to go to Robeson House, a facility that provides up to 90 days of housing for children who can’t go home after being referred by the court system or the Social Services Department.

“Robeson House is the only one that receives county money,” said Kellie Blue, assistant county manager.

The budget also calls for the county to give $39,895 to the Teen Court program.

But that is money recycled to the program after it pays rent for use of county facilities, County Manager Ricky Harris said.

The $20,000 in county money that is to go to the Parenting Wisely program flows through the county Health Department in the form of grants, Blue said.

The Juvenile Crime Prevention Council budget also calls for $31,873 in local matching funds, but that comes from any number of local sources, Blue said. Another $138,166 in the budget is from in-kind services donated to the council’s various programs.

The commissioners approved all five conditional-use permit requests on Monday’s agenda.

A request by Fermin Gil Mendez was for the establishment of a mechanic and body shop on 1.1 acres of land in St. Pauls. Dixon Ivey, director of county Planning & Inspections, explained the request first came before the board in 2016. Monday’s request reflects some name changes.

Juan Sosa came before the board for a conditional-use permit to establish a mechanic, body shop and tire sales business on 14.16 acres of land in Shannon. Speaking through an interpreter, Sosa said he already had a facility but the lease contract is about to expire and he needs to move.

Patrick Lowery asked for a permit that would allow him to establish a used-car dealership on 1.59 acres of land in the Burnt Swamp Township. Lowery explained that he was a general contractor, but deaths in his family prompted him to leave the business.

“Just changing careers,” he said.

Willis Walters Jr. requested a permit for the establishment of a used-car dealership on 4.4 acres of land in Britt Township. Walters’ son-in-law Brett Young spoke on his behalf Monday. Ivey told the commissioners the dealership will be across the road from Long Branch Baptist Church.

“I don’t think they are going to oppose it because this is their pastor,” Ivey said of Young.

Ilene and Ralph Haywood were given the OK to establish a 26-plot family cemetery on 25.5 acres of land in Union Township.

In other business, the commissioners approved without comment a consent agenda that included:

— The transfer of $15,000 in the Sheriff’s Office budget to cover telephone bills for May and June.

— The transfer of $6,000 in the Human Resources budget to cover year-end invoices.

— The transfer of $3,500 from Salaries to Supplies/Materials in the county Health Department’s budget to pay for “Sample Collections for Contamination.”

— The donation of nine surplus Sheriff’s Office laptops to The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Police and Public Safety Department and to the Red Springs Rescue Squad. Five laptops will go to UNCP and four to the rescue squad.

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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]