Willis: Laurinburg should not meddle with other boards


LAURINBURG —At least one Laurinburg councilman said Tuesday that he was not comfortable with Mayor Matthew Block’s recommendation that the city involve itself with a proposed school consolidation plan.

Block used a portion of his report to council to ask board members if they wanted to schedule a meeting with county commissioners to talk about the proposed school consolidation.

The school system is considering closing a number of underpopulated schools and building a new one as part of $41 million consolidation plan. The county will have to sign off on any plan before it can be finalized.

Block, who is on record as opposed to the consolidation plan, said Laurinburg should have a voice in the decision because it would affect several city schools such as I.E. Johnson, North Laurinburg and South Scotland.

“The question is do we have an obligation to be involved?” Block said. “Maxton’s mayor and council recently spoke out against Robeson County consolidation.”

But council member J.D. Willis said members of the school board and county commissioners were elected to make the decision on consolidation. He added that residents should be the ones to contact their representatives on those boards.

“I don’t think the city should be involved,” Willis said. “I’ve never been one to tell the school board or the county commissioners what to do and I don’t think we would like it if they were trying to tell us how to conduct business. I don’t see us jumping in when we don’t have a dog in the fight from a financial standpoint.”

Block also asked the board to consider the use of satellite police stations and a curfew for young people. Council recommended that both ideas sent to the Laurinburg Crime and Drug Committee for recommendations.

In other business, council set Oct. 18 as the date for a public hearing on an ordinance imposing a moratorium on solar farms within the city’s planning jurisdiction for a period of 60 days. The council gave tentative approval to the moratorium during a special-called meeting last week. City officials plan to use the time to establish regulations of the placement and proximity of solar farms in Laurinburg.

n other business, council approved two rezoning requests. One to rezone a property at 1327 Atkinson St. from general business to office/institutional for a home or business.

The approval rezoned a property at 323 N. Gill St. from residential to general business for a small convenience store.

Also on Tuesday, council reappointed Terry Purcell to the Laurinburg Beautification Committee and Maria Dudley to the Laurinburg Housing Authority. Council will also consider appointed council member Drew Williamson to the Scotland County Economic Development Corporation and council member Dee Hammond will represent the city at the North Carolina League of Municipalities CityVision Conference.

By Scott Witten

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Reach Scott Witten at 910-384-6949

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