It is somehow appropriate that one of this city council’s last acts will be demolishing the Barrett Building (City Hall) this September. Council has no use for it. Not only is it named for Laurinburg’s longest serving Mayor, Charles Barrett, but it also houses the Mayor’s office. By destroying it, and building a new City Hall, one that will not have a Mayor’s office, they can show the citizen’s what they think of the office of the Mayor, past and present.
That is all well and good and it is within their right to do so. After all, the mayor certainly cannot expect this city council to treat him any better than it treats the citizens. Over the course of the last two years of this new City Hall saga, city council has tried to ignore, delay and, lately, now even suppress the almost universal public opinion against their plans for a $10 million City Hall.
Over the course of the past two years, council has learned of the dire state of the city’s infrastructure. If any citizen wonders why their home or business computers and machines have so much trouble, don’t worry, Council has been made aware that the city’s electrical system often borders on complete failure. If any citizen is put out by the flooding after rains, or bumps in their roads, don’t worry council has been made aware of our aging and decaying sewers and roads. Don’t worry, council says, they will get to it right after their new City Hall.
Over the course of the past two years, council has learned of the citizen’s desire for more activities for the kids and a Community Center. Don’t worry, says council. They will get to that right after they build themselves new chambers in a fancy new building with eight conference and break rooms and a gym. Council has learned of the citizen’s concerns about crime. Again, don’t worry, says council, the police already have crime under control. But just in case any citizen worries about Council’s commitment to fighting crime, they just agreed to spend a whole $2,000 to help find stolen goods.
Over the course of the past two years, council has heard citizens complain about their high utility bills. They have heard citizen’s complain about the lack of jobs and the deserted downtown. Don’t worry, council says, the bills will go down after the New City Hall is paid for. And the downtown? Don’t worry says Council, we just put up a little platform stage at the art park, what more do you want?
So, this November, while the Barrett Building is being destroyed, there will be an election. City Council will try to make their case to the citizens that they need to be re-elected to finish the new City Hall project. Then it will be the citizen’s turn to answer them with their vote. And what will the citizens say? You guessed it; ‘don’t worry, you will not be re-elected. You should have listened to us when you had the chance.’
And what will the citizens say? You guessed it; ‘don’t worry, you will not be re-elected. You should have listened to us when you had the chance.’
Matthew Block serves as mayor of Laurinburg. He writes a bi-weekly column on the city and municipal issues.