Letter: City ignores citizens

Is Laurinburg the center of the “Twilight Zone”? It appears that city council is on an urgent mission to demolish the current City Hall and the Barrett Building. They continue to ignore citizen input in opposition to spending up to $10 million for a new City Hall. Why? A quick glance at the proposed new building’s floor plan can provide a clue—the new, plush council chambers, which, of course, is the largest and most underutilized room in the building.

The necessities of city government are (1) to provide police and fire protection (2) to provide water, sanitation and electricity and (3) to maintain public streets and property. Those necessities are being met by the current City Hall and Barrett Building. These buildings aren’t plush and fancy, but they are adequate. In today’s economic situation in Laurinburg and Scotland County, adequate is enough. After all, we were recently named by a national newspaper as the poorest county in the state of North Carolina.

Since City Council has seen fit to spend a reported $140,000 of the taxpayers’ money on the Sanford Building (without benefit of a bidding process) to make it a “temporary” location for city administration, I would suggest that the city administration should just stay there permanently. If more space is needed, the current council chambers could be converted to office space. As do the county commissioners, the council meetings could then be held in the A.B. Gibson Center where adequate space and parking are already available and already being paid for by the taxpayers. This would not cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. The Barrett Building could then house other offices or, as some have suggested, a Children’s Discovery Place.

The citizens have spoken—over and over. Based on public input at council meetings, more than 90 percent the citizens do not want a new City Hall. Yet, it was revealed at the recent council meeting that they have already spent over $640,000 of the taxpayers’ money and voted unanimously to proceed with the project that is unwanted and unnecessary. Wake up, Laurinburg. Are we going to let this small group burden us with more debt when our population is shrinking?

Doug Huntley