Robbins Is Facing Important Choices
R obbins faces many challenges, and its current town board has addressed them thoughtfully. We know it will apply those same qualities in filling the vacancy in its own ranks.
Mayor Lonnie English and the rest of the board wisely postponed adding a new member until they could get their budget work done. Among the many problems the town government has to face is the necessity of having one of the highest tax rates in the county. There's a Catch-22 involved. Because the upper end of the county is hardly a pocket of wealth, that means lower property values than elsewhere. But that, in turn, means that bringing in enough money to cover fundamental town services requires a higher base rate, which many town residents can ill afford.
The current board is taking the right stance with its proposed new budget. It has managed to cut taxes without doing so at the cost of town workers.
Now that the budget situation seems under control, English and the board will be turning their attention to filling the vacancy in their own membership that was created when Commissioner Claire Barrow moved out of town and had to give up her seat.
Chance to Mend Fences
The board members have an opportunity to mend some fences and add a more than well-qualified Robbins resident to their numbers. Much depends on picking a forward-thinking individual with the strengths and background necessary to tackle the issues that still lie ahead - not the least of which involves the water negotiations with Moore County.
For years, the tradition in Robbins when a board vacancy occurred was to offer the seat to the individual who placed second in the last election. This time around, that would appear to argue for former Mayor Theron Bell. She was barely edged out of office by Mayor English in last fall's municipal election. With 16 years of service to her credit, no one can question her experience or qualifications.
Hardly anyone in Robbins has had a greater impact on that community than this doctor's wife. Take a look at the Robbins Area Public Library, or any of the many fruits of the town's NC STEP participation. So many things around Robbins can be cited to the credit of Bell's perseverance and tenacious efforts. She would be an excellent choice.
Several Come to Mind
But are there other strong possibilities? There are. Former Mayor Mickey Brown, now on the board of Sandhills Community College, comes to mind. For common sense and business world experience, there's John Maness. Mark Garner, now running a new business in Robbins, introduced the NC STEP opportunity to his hometown.
When Carthage had a vacancy to fill, the town put out forms and encouraged anybody in town interested in serving to make application. The board took its time reviewing applicants, extended the deadline, and finally made a well-considered choice in Pat Motz-Frazier.
Whatever way Robbins proceeds, and whomever current commissioners pick, this is an important decision. While it is pending, Robbins is lucky to have in Jeff Sheffield a police chief who can also handle, at least in the interim, a second job as town manager. It wouldn't hurt for commissioners to seek his common-sense counsel on this and many other matters before them.
More like this story