Laurinburg council to get finance update on City Hall proposal

By Terri Ferguson Smith - [email protected]

.LAURINBURG — The Laurinburg City Council could hear a report tonight that may help it decide whether to build a new City Hall and police department.

Council will meet at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building at 303 West Church St.

Davenport & Company LLC will give a debt affordability — capacity and financial analysis presentation, according to City Manager Charles Nichols . The presentation is expected to give the city a clearer picture of where it stands financially and if construction of a new municipal building is feasible, Nichols said.

Estimates have projected the proposed building to cost as much as $11 million.

“The financial report will come in and really give an idea on where we stand from a financial standpoint. How much debt do we have? What is our debt capacity?” Nichols said.

The city council has drawn fire from Mayor Matthew Block and residents opposed to new construction.

All five council members say they favor of the plan, but only if it can be done without raising taxes or other fees. Critics say that will be impossible.

Also tonight, council will also consider a plan to begin taking the city’s municipal solid waste to a facility in Robeson County.

The city pays currently Scotland County $55.75 per ton to handle its municipal solid waste and $31.50 per ton to handle its yard waste, such as tree limbs and other outdoor debris.

The city can save about $138,000 annually by taking its garbage to Robeson County’s facility in St. Pauls, Nichols said. Robeson County will charge $38.50 per ton for solid waste, although Nichols said the city is hoping to negotiate a discounted rate. The $138,000 in savings includes the extra costs the city will incur in gas an vehicle maintenance by driving its garbage trucks to the landfill in St. Pauls.

In other business, Police Chief Duke Williams is scheduled to give an update on the police department. Williams said it will focus on what Laurinburg officers have been doing over the last year to build community relations. City officials asked for the report in the wake of recent police tragedies.

“I’m going to talk about our work with the community, gaining allies and making partnerships,” Williams said.

Also on tonight’s agenda, is a request to approve a conditional use permit for a solar array on nearby 90 acres of land near the U.S. 15 -401 bypass. Those living near the proposed solar farm say they worry about what happens if the business closes.

Strata Solar Development has included in its paperwork to the city a decommissioning plan, in case it is needed in the future.

In June, the Laurinburg Planning Board deadlocked 2-2 on whether to recommend the request for council approval. The city council will have a public hearing tonight.

The council will also a hear funding request from the Scotland County Arts Council, which has asked for $7,500. According to the request, the Arts Council is seeking $1,500 for an arts council membership;$1,500 for assistance in organizing Christmas on Main; $1,500 for a spring art event that promotes downtown and art garden; $1,500 for facility support; and $1,500 for arts education support.

By Terri Ferguson Smith

[email protected]

Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-506-3169

Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-506-3169

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