Special Call Meeting: The When Ignoramuses Are In Charge Edition

Today at 2:30 p.m. there was a special call meeting at Lumberton City Hall. I barely made it to the meeting on time because I didn't see the posting until after noon. At the meeting, there was a couple there that also said they almost missed the notice of the meeting posted at the library. It was a short agenda but there was plenty of propaganda being spread. The first agenda item was discuss and vote to receive quotes to purchase two diffused air type aerators for use that the city's sewage lagoon as part of the CDBG Sewer System Improvement project. It was said that the aerators are being paid for using the $150,000 grant that was obtained to provide sewer services to residents of Lower Airport Road but since they rejected the project, the money is now being used to improve the city's sewer lagoon. Well, the next agenda item was to allow the mayor to sign the order of settlement with the MDQ for payment in the amount of $50,650.45 and subsequent payments of $15,687.71 every other month for 17 repayments totaling $266,198.07 and to transfer $60,000 from the general fund to WSOM. Now, this matter should concern ALL the citizens of Lumberton. A lot of the concerns that I'm going to refer to are recorded in the video posted on my Facebook page. One of the first things that stood out in my mind was the fact that they were transferring $60,000 to secure a repayment agreement of $50,650.45 for a defaulted loan caused by Mayor Ben Winston. What is the additional $9,349.55 being used for? Why are they transferring more money to another account that the amount needed? Didn't they say they didn't have the money to allow Betty Speights, court clerk, to return to a full time position? Again, why are they transferring an additional $9,349.55 without any explanation?

During the meeting, Mayor Winston attempted to explain what happened. The City of Lumberton defaulted on a loan and now Mayor Winston, the one who orchestrated the default by refusing to allow payment, now has caused the City of Lumberton more money because we are now paying penalties and interest on a loan that should have been closed out by now. For over 15 months, Mayor Ben Winston refused to allow the monthly payment of $15,687.71 to be submitted to MDQ. As a result of the defaulted loan, the MDQ has filed and was granted a lien against the City of Lumberton's sales taxes. In order to prevent that from happening, Winston has put the City of Lumberton in debt for another 17 payments, most of which are penalties and interest, in the amount of $266,198.07. That's money that could have been used to employ a full time police department (not just one officer per shift), it could have been money used to purchase patrol cars, it could have been used to return the court clerk to her full time position and it could have been used to give the guys in the public works department a much needed raise but under the misguidance of Ben Winston, we are stuck repaying interest and penalties on a loan that should have been closed out by now. Keep in mind, this mess was created by Ben Winston and this is the person that want you to allow him to have a decision on a county level with a much bigger budget. Seriously?

The problems regarding repayment of the MDQ loan started when all the necessary accounts were closed. The City of Lumberton have multiple accounts for a reason. The money for the MDQ loan is supposed to be transferred to the WSBI account every month but since the board wants to accommodate incompetence, the accounts were closed. This is a municipality and money comes from various accounts every month. The City of Lumberton cannot be managed like a household and every bill cannot be paid from one account. It seems that everything is coming from the general fund and that's why we are being penalized with an additional 178 payments on a loan that should have been paid off by now. But when the city is being governed by the ignorant, the citizens are stuck with the bill. Today showed a total lack of fiscal responsibility and the board members that voted to close the needed accounts in order to simplify the budgeting process for a simpleton should be ashamed of their utter lack of due diligence but look at what we're dealing with here. During the meeting, Winston said that WSOM was on the verge of sustaining itself. Wait a minute? Did I just hear that? Why is WSOM not sustaining itself? We pay the highest water bills in the region and they claimed that outsourcing garbage collection, which eliminated several jobs, was supposed to save us tens of thousands of dollars. So, why can't WSOM sustain itself? Oh, because we don't know what's in which account. This board allows everything to get clumped into general fund and then transfer it to other accounts when needed. Pure insanity! Why haven't the state come in and take over this mess? Wait, Stacey Pickering is too busy retaliating against the Mayor of Madison for running against him in the Republican primary. In the meantime, the City of Lumberton continues to falter in the water like a ship with a hole in it and Captain Ben is trying to jump ship before it completely sink despite the fact that he's the one that ran us into the iceberg.

True to form, Winston has pushed back the start date for the $2.5 million dollar Army Corp of Engineer Grant. According to Winston, we should have the money needed for the matching portion some time next year. Are you guys still falling for this cock and bull story. It's evident that we no longer are in the running for the grant and there's no way the City of Lumberton can come up with the $625,000 needed for the matching funds but I guess he's going to ride that unicorn story until the election. If you watched the video on my Facebook page, you will notice a point in the meeting where Alderwoman Cora Rogers asked how much was in the WSOM account. Well, the person that's supposed to have a record of the accounts did not know but Alderman Jay McGraw knew the amount of the account. Did anyone one else find that strange? I guess so much time is spent staling my blog and Facebook page that it's rather difficult to deal with pesky information like what's in an account that's under your control. Again. Interesting. Another thing, it seems that the City of Lumberton owes over $15,000 to Lamar County for housing inmates. Once again, the safety of the citizens of Lumberton has been jeopardized because people that are arrested cannot be taken to jail because of the delinquent jail bill. Just when you thought Ben Winston couldn't do any worse. The atrocities committed by this board continues to boggle the mind. I hope you all begin to realize the seriousness of this foolishness but I will continue to blog, despite their attempts to take away my first amendment rights. On more thing, after the meeting, I went into the office to get a copy of the curfew ordinance. It seems that there was a meeting after the meeting. while sitting there waiting for my request to be process, Mayor Ben Winston, Alderman Jay McGraw, Alderman Tommy Dukes, Alderwoman at Large Cora Rogers and Danny Davis were all huddled in the office. I guess Cora Rogers felt she was abiding by the law since she sat at one of the desk eating doughnuts while the others discussed some matter that obviously couldn't be discussed in an open forum. Well, what's another broken law to this group?

Comments

  1. When will the people of Lumberton wake up. One person is fighting for this city and no one want to put him in a position where he can make a difference. Instead the people sit fackike this is a Tyler Perry show. I wish I was in Lumberton because I would join you.

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