Council to hear details of grant

Johnny Woodard Staff writer

September 16, 2013

LAURINBURG — The Laurinburg City Council will hear at tonight’s meeting about a grant designed to help low income families make emergency repairs to their homes.

Adrian Lowery, housing coordinator with the Lumber River Council of Governments, will present details of the $75,000 grant, that can be utilized by low income Laurinburg homeowners in need of funds for home repairs.

“The grant will allow Laurinburg citizens to apply and receive funds for emergency home repairs and modifications to very low income, owner-occupied homes,” City Manager Charles Nichols said.

Administered by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the Urgent Repair Program money is awarded yearly for important repairs to houses.

According to Lowery, roof repair is commonly funded by the program. He said municipalities in some counties offer the funds to visiting charity building groups, like those operated by Christian missionary organizations.

City council members are also expected to take one of the final steps in securing financing for the $11 million infrastructure project adjacent to the new FCC paper plant off US-401. The council will be asked to agree to award an “installment financing contract to (a) responsible responsive bidder for $8.3 million installment financing” for the FCC project. The rest of the project will be paid for by grant funds.

FCC is currently constructing a paper plant that will be used to manufacture an important element of the company’s friction clutch disc product. The plant will bring with it 96 new jobs and $57 million in new investment, and once online the plant will make FCC one of the city’s largest utilities customers.

The paper plant will use a water-intensive manufacturing process that requires additional raw water, sewer and electric infrastructure from the city to be added near the site.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday, the city council will receive a report from Jim Willis, chairman of the Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation, and Miller Slaughter, the new director of the Laurinburg Farmers’ Market.

Over the weekend the market launched what Slaughter said will be a series of weekly educational exhibitions with a cooking presentation from staff from The Gill House, a Laurinburg restaurant.

“We are excited about Miller’s plans for the future,” Willis said. “She has a great vision for the future of the market.”

The farmers’ market was left leaderless following the resignation of Councilman Kenton Spencer in June.

In his weekly manager’s report, Nichols is scheduled to ask the council to consider awarding a bid for long-awaited audio-visual improvements to the council chambers in city hall.

Draughon Brothers’ $10,043.02 bid for the improvements will be submitted by Nichols for consideration.

Based on city council discussion, the improvements are likely to include an improved presentation screen and speaker system, as well as enhancements to aid in the recording of meetings for playback on community access television.

The Laurinburg City Council will meet tonight at 7 p.m. inside the Laurinburg Municipal Building.