MAXTON — The town manager told Maxton commissioners Wednesday that an emphasis is being placed on increasing the town’s tax collection rate and making owners clean up their properties.
Kate Bordeaux credited the town’s tax collector and code enforcement officer, Angela Pitchford, for leading an effort to clean up the town and collect taxes from property owners who are delinquent.
“Our tax collection rate is higher at this time of the year than it has been in years,” Bordeaux said. “Angela has used wage garnishments, different agreements with people, and some debt-offset plans. We are moving ahead.”
Pitchford said after the meeting that the collection rate currently is about 80 percent. Taxes for 2016 are now delinquent, but any collected before June 30 count toward the collection rate.
The manager said that when properties are identified as not being kept up, the owner is sent a letter advising them to clean up the property within 15 days. If the property owner doesn’t meet the deadline, the town will clean up the property and send the owner a bill.
“We need property owners to be responsible and do what they have to do to help keep the town clean,” Bordeaux said.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the commissioners decided to tear down the old water tower on Water Street. According to Bordeaux, the structure has “deteriorated to the condition where it can’t be repaired.”
The cost of will be about $46,000.
The commissioners also voted to move forward with closing the landfill located behind the town’s water treatment plant. The landfill was used only for the disposal of leaves and limbs, said Mayor Emmett “Chip” Morton.
The closure will be overseen by Anderson Engineering, of Lumberton.
To improve the town’s water and sewer systems, the commissioners chose McGill Associates, of Pinehurst, to move forward with an Asset Inventory and Assessment project. The project is being funded with $208,000 in grant money.
“The grant will let us fix sewer and water lines and map all of our lines,” Morton said. “When we are finished we will have a diagram of where the lines are plus fixed lines.”
In other business, the town commissioners:
— Approved the sale of about 29 acres at the Laurinburg/Maxton Airport to the Scotland County Economic Development Commission for $14,500. Sixteen of the 29 acres is a pond.
— Heard a presentation from Dallas Everette, owner and operator of the Maxton Fitness Center, and Rodney Dowdy, overseer of the center’s boxing program, about the creation of a youth boxing program. They asked town officials to support the development of the program. Dowdy said a boxing program teaches discipline.
Everette said six boxers can be outfitted for $800. Morton advised against the town putting money into a private business, saying other businesses would follow with the same request.
Morton pledged $200, and said he would work to find other donors.
— Heard a presentation by Francine D. McLaurin about a health fair being held from 10 a.m. to noon on May 20 at the Maxton Resource and Community Center, located at 103 N. Florence St.
A variety of free medical screenings will be provided.
— Rescheduled their next meeting for May 23, the fourth Tuesday of the month. The board normally meets the third Tuesday of the month.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.