Review of the June 7, 2016 Board Meeting: The TROLL in ConTROLL Edition

I'm a little late posting a review of the latest board meeting but not much has changed. As I was sitting there I was thinking about the sheer incompetence of the city clerk, Merlene Wall and that fact that she's going to become a certified clerk in a few weeks and she has no idea of how to operate the BBI system. She's totally incompetent and has the full support of an idiot board; as a matter of fact, they're actually planning on hiring an accountant to do her job in a city that does not have enough money for a full police department or public works department but they have plenty of money to fix the problems of Lumberton's money pit, Merlene Wall. Of course the board members are aware that this is their final year in office and there's another election coming up in 2017 so they're scrambling to purchase police cars and other things in hopes that the shiny new things will help you forget about their ineptitude over the past three years. As I listened to them crunch the numbers for the new patrol car, I realized that they're doing like many of the other previous boards; they're making purchases that the next board will have to pay for. Classic moves in Lumberton.

Over the past week, I was hearing information about the so-called land purchases made by the Shell Oil Corporation and the promise of over 2,000 jobs coming to Lumberton. I know a lot of people get their news from Jiffy Express, Big K or whatever the new name is but I went to the Lamar County Chancery Clerk's Office and was informed that there was no sale of commercial property in the City of Lumberton this year. She's still researching but the sites that were rumored to have been sold are still owned by the same owners that originally purchased the land. I wasn't ready to give up on the rumor and thought it would be something discussed at the board meeting but Mayor Crider did not boast about any new business potentials, however, he was very happy to share that his funeral home had serviced over 15 families at Trinity Funeral Home but no job growth or developments in any other areas. I guess death is king in a city with a mortician as mayor. On a lighter note, the board approved the order to sign the public notice for the CAP loan application. The board is now looking to borrow the money needed for the Army Corp of Engineer Grant; Lumberton must pay $250,000 in order to get the grant. Again, at the end of an administration, they're putting more burden on the next board before the new board is elected in an effort to show they're "making Lumberton great again." Tommy Schwartz resigned as prosecuting attorney for the City of Lumberton and Brad Touchstone was hired as his replacement. Interesting. The department heads gave their reports. Well, Chief Elsie Cowart was the only one that actually gave a report, Merlene Wall, gave another report on how many water bills were mailed and how many accounts were shut off. I guess she's waiting for them to hire the accountant so he or she can access BBI and tell her what's actually in the bank.

They're having a public hearing on June 21, 2016 to revise the water meter ordinance and to set the guidelines for the accountant they're hiring to perform Merlene's job because she's not capable of maintaining the city's budget. Despite not knowing what's in the budget, the board approved the following: pay unpaid claims for May, 2016 in the amount of $51,815.38 (general fund) and $26,451.31 (WSOM); paid claims for May, 2016 in the amount of $33,694.10 (general fund) and $46,720.30 (WSOM). In fairness, Alderwoman Cora Rogers asked prior to voting yes if there was money in the budget to pay these items. Crider asked her if she meant the budget or the bank and before she could respond, Merlene Wall, the one that can't access BBI, responding saying the money was in both. Water deposit refunds were approved, they accepted Bancorp South's did for the depository for the City of Lumberton since they were the only ones that submitted a bid, the voted to allow the Dixie Youth to use Wood-Hinton Park on June 18, 2016 (I don't know why Lumberton had to give them permission since the park is under the jurisdiction of Lamar County) and they're looking to create an Emergency Shelter Plan for Lumberton for Hurricane Season which started on June 1, 2016. Hopefully, they'll come up with a plan before November 30, 2016, the end of Hurricane Season but I seriously doubt it. I will post later about the reason why the board has decided to change the water meter ordinance, I will also post the statutory duties of the city clerk so you can compare them to the duties they're trying to hand off to an accountant, I will also give you a review of each elected officials because now is the time to get your candidates ready for the 2017 election. I said I wasn't going to mention it but I see Ben Winston is ready to throw his hat back in the political arena. I will blog about that as well. You won't believe what' position he's thinking about now but I'm sure you already know because he's probably gotten your signatures.


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