LAURINBURG, NC (WBTW) – Nearly $11 million–that’s the price tag for a new city hall building that developers quoted to Laurinburg city leaders at a meeting Thursday.
Vernon Johnson left Thursday’s city council meeting frustrated.
“They’re not listening to us,” he said. “We’re the highest taxed county in the state and they want to raise our taxes again!”
City council listened on as representatives from Creech and Associates–the developer involved in the project–detailed the plan for a nearly 22,000 square foot space.
Improvements include technology upgrades, new security enhancements, and extra space for staff and police officers to use. Council members discussed the plan for nearly an hour and a half, discssing whether or not the current facility–built in the 1950s–is still adequate.
Those in favor argued that the space needed for record keeping, minutes, and city planning–that must be kept in written form for decades–meant that the upgrade was needed.
One major disagreement: where to get the money.
Most agreed the cash will have to come from either utility payments or from taxes. Both put a strain on the people of Laurinburg.
Johnson says there are much better ways to pay for it.
“Find something for the kids to do and reduce our taxes,” Johnson said. “There’s nothing here; we don’t have restaurants, we don’t have a decent theater, and like the mayor said: people are leaving this town.”
For now, the council approved a motion to have city manager Charles Nichols and the finance director meet with the Local Government Commission–a division of the N.C. Treasury Department–and find out how much the city can borrow toward the new city hall without raising taxes.