City OKs $361K contract to replace pump station

By: T.C. Hunter - Managing editor

LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council on Monday approved a $361,000 contract for the replacement of a pump station force main pipe.

The contract was awarded to Frank Horne Construction of Fair Bluff during the City Council’s regular meeting at City Hall, which submitted the lowest of three bids for the project. The winning bid came in below the city’s estimated project cost of $375,000, according to Public Works Director Rob Armstrong.

The project calls for the replacement of a force main pipe from behind the old Ramada Inn on Kahn Drive up to 35th Street and Rowland Avenue. The work will be paid for using money from a Principal Forgiveness and Loan provided by the North Carolina Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

Council members also approved allowing the Public Works Department to buy two 2018 Peterbilt tandem dump trucks for $110,588 each.

The 911 Backup Center project was given an infusion of an extra $28,039.32 by City Council that will cover a project budget deficit. The project was budgeted at $87,846 in August. The budget deficit was caused by a need to buy a larger-than-planned-for generator, adjustments to the electrical and mechanical plans for the center, and changes to the center’s radio system.

The center is nearing completion, according to Emergency Services Director Bill French.

Keith Pittman, a 39-year-old resident of 10th Street, asked council members to rescind an ordinance that forbids residents of Eighth and 10th streets between Cedar and Willow streets from parking on the north side of the streets.

“I don’t think it is right that I can’t park in front of my home but have to park in front of my neighbor’s house,” Pittman said. “It’s an inconvenience.”

The ordinance, adopted at the end of 2017, was in response to emergency services personnel saying that when people parked on both sides of the streets it effectively turned them into one-lane streets and made it difficult to get emergency vehicles down the streets.

“The council has heard what you said and will take it under advisement,” Mayor Bruce Davis told Pittman.

The council members also took under consideration a donation request of $5,000 from Communities in Schools Executive Director Denice Lambdin. The money would be used to help fund a program that provides weekend food packets for 107 students in the county’s public schools.

“We know how to stretch a dollar,” Lambdin said.

One city employee was honored for 29 years of service. Sharon Hunt, administrative assistant to City Manager Wayne Horne, was presented a plaque and showered with praise during a recognition ceremony.

Davis praised Hunt for her work in running the warehouse the city opened and used to help get food, water, clothing, furniture and many other needed items to Hurricane Matthew victims.

“She ran that warehouse from the week it opened until the week it closed,” Davis said. “It ran like a well-oiled machine.”

All of the people who received help through the warehouse and spoke to him about the experience praised Hunt, the mayor said.

“She will not be replaced. I don’t think we can afford four or five other people,” Councilman Leon Maynor said.

Hunt was always there saying “I can get that done,” Maynor said.

Hunt returned the praise.

“I can truthfully say there is no better organization in the country than the city of Lumberton,” Hunt said. “… I love you, and I thank you,” Hunt said.

The city plans to allow county government to conduct inspections at the new administration offices being built in the BB&T building at 500 N. Chestnut St. in Lumberton, City Attorney Holt Moore said.

Moore made the announcement after City Council came out of a short closed-door session.

“It will free up our people, who already have a lot of work,” Davis said.

Money for a sponsorship sign to be erected at the Lumberton High School athletics fields will be sent back to the Council Policy Committee for discussion. Council members voted to send it back to the CPC after Maynor said he would like the agenda item to read that the money is coming from the entire council.

The agenda item originally read in part, “Mayor Davis would like to contribute $500 of discretionary funds to Lumberton High School for a sponsorship sign at the athletic fields to read ‘The City of Lumberton.’”

The council approved a request from Donovan Oliver that property at N.C. 711 and Deep Branch Road be annexed. The proposed use of the property is a gas station and a rezoning is not required, according to Brandon Love, director of the Planning & Neighborhood Services Department.

Davis accepted a $600 check from the Exchange Club of Greater Fayetteville on behalf of the North Carolina Baptist Men chapter in Robeson County. The money was in recognition of all the help the Baptist Men gave to the victims of Hurricane Matthew.

In other business, the council members:

— Accepted the donation of of three parcels of vacant land near Public Works from Irene O’Neal Campbell and Sue O’Neal. The land is in a 100-year floodplain.

— Referred a rezoning petition to Planning Board for property located at 4828 Fayetteville Road.

— Set a June 11 date for a public hearing on a non-contiguous annexation petition for property at Pine Log Road and N.C. 72.

— Accepted a $1,997,500 grant the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Infrastructure to help fund the extension of sanitary sewer to the Rosewood Mobile Home Park.

— Authorized the Lumberton Police Department to apply for a $38,415 grant, with a 50 percent local match, to assist with purchasing 65 bulletproof vests.

— Authorized staff to investigate a subdivision ordinance amendment allowing tracts intended for utilities to be divided without direct access to a public right-of-way.

— Designated $400 of Community Revitalization Funds to Wycliffe Homeowners’ Association; $1,250 for Precinct 2 Community Day; $800 for Chrysolite AME Church; $700 for a Community Day in Precinct 5; $100 to Anointed Believers’ Ministries for a Community Day; $500 to West Lumberton Elementary School; and $800 Team for Kids in Honor of Joseph Frederick — Marathon Runner.

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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]