Rrview of November 4, 2014 Meeting: The Dumb and Dumber Edition
The first agenda item was to review the contract with Media 3. The City of Lumberton has not been getting timely payments from Media 3 because the contract has not been renewed. The vote on this matter was a tie and Mayor Winston refused to exercise his duty as a mayor in a code charter municipality and break the tie. Now, I hate using the word dumb when referring to a person but for someone, that is not new to politics, to have such a vast lack of knowledge regarding their duties and responsibilities is mind boggling. So, instead of breaking the tie so Lumberton can begin collecting franchise taxes from Media 3, Winston let the matter stay tied which means no action will be taken. Sidenote: I find it ironic that a city clerk that fails miserably at paying insurance and other debts in a timely fashion is so upset that Media 3 also has the same problem when it comes to payment of bills. The board then approved to pay $18,000 in engineering fees for a 2014 FAA AIP Grant. The board voted to file a pre application for a 2015 FAA AIP Grant. The only problem is the 5% matching funds needed for the grant. The City of Lumberton is not collecting enough rent to cover the fees needed to cover a grant thats going to benefit those renting the airport. The board paid $6,000 to Carter Law Office for legal services rendered on a land project. The order to approve the minutes for the October 7, 2014 and October 21, 2014 meetings was tied. Again, Winston refused to break the tie and the minutes cannot go into the records until a majority favorable vote is taken.
The order to pay $85 registration fee to allow Alderwoman Cora Rogers to attend the 2014 Small Town Conference in Hattiesburg failed. Alderwoman Rogers wanted to know why it was not passed and Crider replied that it was not in the budget. Somehow, the budget had enough money to pay Richard Rose $1,600 to prepare a budget for the city clerk but there wasn't $82 available to send Rogers to a conference. Interesting. I guess she's not as big of a priority as she thought. The measure to disband the planning and zoning failed. Well, actually it was a tie vote but guess what? Winston refused to break the tie. The department heads gave their reports. You can see what they discussed on the video posted on the Lumberton Informer Facebook page. While the department heafs were giving their reports, one thing stood out. Merlene said the unemployment account had $921. Keep in mind, there's several employees drawing unemployment. What are they going to do when it comes time to pay those claims? For the record, at this rate, the City of Lumberton will not have any sales taxes come February 2015; they're too far in debt and I believe the State is going to take the sales taxes to pay off some of those debts. We will just have to wait and see. Another interesting report came from Assistant Fire Chief, Brad Greg. I don't know why he's not the Chief. He seems very concerned about the department but he's frustrated by the control issues of the fire departments's board of directors. I guess I need to file a request to get their names and expose those that are jeopardizing our public safety for political reasons. Greg said that if an emergency call was made Monday-Friday; chances are, no one will respond. But the board of directors are turning away applicants that could resppnd to those calls. Wowzers!
There was an order to approve the month of October, 2014 unpaid claims $45,914.12, paid claims $53,026.99 and payroll $48,340.15. The vote on this matter was also a tie and once again, Winston refused to break the tie. Thankfully, the employees will still get paid but their insurance and other bills will not get paid unless a special called meeting is held and a majority favorable vote is taken. The board approved the transfer of the deed and donated Wood-Hinton Park to Lamar County. There was a discussion to transfer a Ford F 150 from the police department to the public works department. For some reason, Winston want all five public works employees to have their own vehicle but he's not concerned that the police department has one vehicle that is shared by all officer's; including the chief. Danny Davis of the public works department suggested trading his work truck for the F 150 so the police department could get a better trade in value and get another car but the matter failed. The board then voted to go into executive session for legal purposes; despite the fact that the city attorney was not present. The board reconvened, stated no actions were taken in executive session and they voted to adjourn the meeting.