F**k the Police: Lumberton Style
Next on the agenda was a presentation from Delta Water, LLC. The presentation was made by Nick Walters and he claims that they're able to help cities make money through unaccounted for water. It is their belief that cities are losing money because they're losing money that getting pumped but not billed. Walters also said the system, that requires the installation of new water meters, does not generate funds through watre rate increases but it pays for itself by making sure all water pumped is charged. Sounds like double talk. The water rates are not going to increase but there will be higher bills. So6nds like the same thing to me. But here's the bright side, the meter reader can sit in the truck and a computer will scan the new, wi-fi enhanced water meters. Well, that's not really a bright side for the citizens but it will free up public works employees to do other things like avoid weed-eating the cemeteries, neglect the parks and take longer lunches. Sounds like a good plan for them. Also, the new meters need to be financed. They said earlier they had no money but they're moving full steam ahead to implement this new water meter system.
The board then went to the next agenda item, an order to reinstate Ms. Betty Speights from 20 hours to 40 hours. If you watched the video, you know the motion failed. Interestingly, when the board reached this portion of the meeting, C. Rogers and Dukes didn't have an agenda. Alderman Quincy Rogers and Kent Crider were not present because they had other matters that required their attention. The board failed to give a motion to allow Chief Cowart to sign an agreement for a software program to collect old fines. Please keep in mind that when Speights is allowed to work full time, she collects enough in old fines to support her position as well as additional police officers but tne board does not seem to care. It's also interesting that a deputy clerk resigned after an altercation with McGraw and her full time salary was budgeted but instead of using that money to allow Speights to work full time, the board rather leave uncollected fines on the books. In essence, they're throwing away money they claim they desperately need. Next on the agenda was to hire two part time police officers, Victor Davila and Delandoe R. Watts but both measures failed because there wasn't a motion made by Jay McGraw, Tommy Dukes or Cora Rogers. The board thn voted unanimously to adjourn tne meeting.
After the meeting was adjourned, Mayor Winston allowed a police officer to address the board. If you watched the video, you see Dukes get up to leave the board room as the officer was pleading for the need for backup police officers. The board said they don't have the money but they're borrowing money for pipes and water meters but they showed the officers and the citizens that they don't value the lives of the police officers that put their lives on the line to serve and to protect. At that moment, I knew this was the worst board ever. It wasn't a week ago that two Hattiesburg Police Officers, Deen and Tate, were murdered while on duty and this officer asked how do you put a price on human life while one alderman grabs his paperwork to leave. How disrespectful! In another, I just can't believe what I heard moment, Cora Rogers said she was stopped on the side of the road and an officer didn't stop to see if she was okay. Say what? She said what "if" she was having a heart attack. First of all, a heart is required to have a heart attack. Her statement showed that her lack of support of the police department is personal. For the record, I stop on the side of the road to text, make a phone call or to pick up my phone that dropped on the floor. If there was an emergency, call 911. The police department is not there for road side assistance and since there are so few police in Lumberton, the officer could have been responding to a call. The noard spends money for cameras at city hall and it was in the budget, the board paid Richard Rose $1,600 to prepare a budget and it was not in the budget, the board sent Merlene for additional training that wasn't budgeted and they paid BBI to perform the work she was trained to do and it wasn't budgeted. What's clear is this board pays for the things they want to pay for despite its absence from the budget. Another thing that's clear is the lack of regard this board has for the officers that put their lives on the line everytime they clock in and they don't care about the citizens or the few remaining businesses. It's time for the citizens to contact WDAM and demand answers. Police officers are under attack and they need backup and support from this administration; something they're not getting. #BlueLivesMatter but apparently not in Lumberton. I inboxed WDAM and they said they will see what they can do. If anyone has the number to their news desk, please share. We all need to call requesting coverage of the severe police shortage in Lumberton. Thank you to all the officers serving and protecting. We salute and support you even when the Mayor and Board dont.