LAURINBURG — Mary Evans, who was elected last week to a District 1 seat, said she plans to ask the Laurinburg City Council Tuesday to halt construction on the $9.1 million City Hall.
Council will meet at 7 p.m. at council chambers in the municipal building at 303 West Church St.
Evans and at-large challenger James Garby, Jr. and District 2 incumbent Drew Williamson will be sworn in as members of city council next month. Evans will speak as a member of the public at tonight’s meeting.
“I intend to ask council to immediately stop the new City Hall project,” Evans said. “There are several more important jobs that need to be addressed first.”
Evans said the safety of residents should be Laurinburg’s first priority. She said she would like to work with the Laurinburg Police Department and the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office “in implementing new ideas in fighting the crime problem in our community.”
The city also needs to focus on a community recreation center, job creation and infrastructure needs, including flooding and unpaved street issues, according to Evans.
“These items are far more important than a new City Hall,” she said. “As the election results showed, more people voted against the status quo of the new City Hall than voted for it.
She also said Laurinburg must build a new electric substation considering that “council was told more than a year ago that it was needed immediately.”
Alan Cobb with Progressive Engineering Consultants in Mint Hill told city officials in September 2016 that its current electric distribution system, built in 1979, is inadequate.
Cobb recommended that the city purchase and install a new 230/25kV substation to continue to “provide reliable normal and emergency levels of service” to the city’s electric customers.
The estimated cost of the a new electric substation would range from $2.7 million to $3 million and take about two years to complete. City officials said the project would be paid through the Electrical Fund Balance.
In other business, the Laurinburg City Council will hear from an economic-development consultant.
Crystal Morphis, founder and CEO of Creative Economic Development Consulting, is expected to talk about strategic planning for Laurinburg.
Morphis, who has almost 20 years of economic development experience, including leading a county economic development office and 10 years as a managing partner in a consulting practice, started Creative EDC in 2012.
The company most recently provided free help to the city of Graham with its economy and downtown business district. One of the things that Graham had asked for was assistance in setting up a revolving loan fund to be used for the redevelopment of underutilized buildings, capital for new businesses, and tied to education, mentoring and support services.
The consulting company does one free project a year with ideas that can be applied in other places.
According to the Creative EDC’s website:
“We are a firm that likes to color outside the lines – addressing the challenges communities face with creative solutions. We like to look at a cardboard box a little different – we like to see the opportunity to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary. We believe that the challenges most communities face in economic development are the same, what sets us apart is our approach to helping you overcome those challenges.”
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023