Citizens group to address city council

By Terri Ferguson Smith - [email protected]

LAURINBURG — A group opposed to the construction of a new municipal building will take its case to the Laurinburg City Council later this month.

James Garby is among opponents of the plan which is under consideration by the city council who have formed Delegation Against a New City Hall. During the July council meeting, Garby and other opponents used the public comments portion of the meeting and strongly voiced their concerns over whether the council would go ahead with a plan to construct a building that could cost more than $10 million.

At that meeting, Garby presented a petition with nearly 2,400 signatures of people opposed to the project.

“We have so much to discuss 15 minutes is really not enough time but we will do our best,” Garby said in an online post. “The city council needs to understand that tying up all of our borrowing power on one project should have never been considered.”

Charles Nichols III, city manager, confirmed that Garby’s request to be on the agenda has been approved.

“He wanted to be on the agenda so he could formally express his concerns with the new city hall project. He did it within the time the agenda needed to be finalized,” Nichols said.

Nichols said he replied to Garby that he would be added to the delegation portion of the Aug. 16 agenda.

The council also heard at its July meeting from a financial consultant who said Laurinburg is capable of borrowing the money needed to construct the municipal building.

Ted Cole of the consulting firm Davenport and Company, told the Laurinburg City Council that Laurinburg has just over $300,000 in taxpayer supported debt and about $10 million in utility debt. Cole’s firm was hired by the city to help determine if it could afford to build a new City Hall.

According to the report, Laurinburg is in a “very strong” position to borrow the money needed to construct a facility that estimates would cost between $10.3 million and $10.8 million to house all city departments.

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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