Robbins Fills Vacant Town Commissioner Seat
Robbins has a full Town Board now.
On Thursday, commissioners chose Nicole “Nikki” Green from among three applicants to fill the seat made vacant when Commissioner Claire Barrow moved out of town.
Former Mayor Theron Bell, who had served 14 years previously as commissioner followed by four years as mayor, was supported for the seat by former Mayor Laura Ann Brady, Jean McSwain and others who have been active in the Small Town Main Street program and the Robbins Village Theater Foundation.
McSwain spoke to the board and asked them to bring the long-serving commissioner back on the board.
“She knows the ropes,” McSwain said. “She is very qualified, very interested in Robbins. She always attends meetings. She is very accessible, has served as commissioner before. I would sincerely hope you would consider her as your appointee.”
There were no comments about either of the other applicants: Green and James Stewart.
“You know that each one of you has one vote,” Mayor Lonnie English told commissioners. “The one with the majority will be appointed to the vacant seat. I hope you all have looked at the package and seen the qualifications on each one of these individuals, took time to read it.”
Rocky Davis voted for Bell. Joey Boswell was absent, out of town on business. Terri Holt and Kevin Stewart raised their hands for Green. English declared Green the winner, and she took the oath of office from the mayor and took her seat immediately.
Green lives just around the corner from Town Hall and works for Unilin in Mount Gilead as human resource manager. She has an associate of arts degree from Sandhills Community College and is treasurer and secretary for the Sandhills Emergency Services Seminar Associ-ation. She had been attending board meetings for months, familiarizing herself with the work of the board before asking to be considered for the appointment.
The board moved on to amend the town code of ordinances to restore parking limits in midtown Robbins. The new ordinance sets two-hour parking limits downtown along Middleton Street between Salisbury and Elm streets and along Salisbury Street between Middleton and Rockingham streets — the well-known “downtown L” of Robbins — between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
An exception are the spaces in front of the municipal building where parking will be more limited, restricted there to 15 minutes between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Town Manager and Police Chief Jeff Sheffield had reviewed and approved the changes. Signs will go up informing people of the new limits. This will help downtown business owners who have complained about people parking cars all day in front and keeping potential customers out.
One merchant was Paula Burgess, who spoke to the board during the period set for public address to the board.
“We have parking in the rear of businesses on this street, and we have overflow parking,” she said. “I would like to have two-hour signs put up, so we can have more customers come to our businesses. Yesterday I had an elderly lady that made three laps to get a parking place and eventually left, because she couldn’t get a parking spot.”
Sheffield said the parking limits would be enforced, and he will instruct town employees to park off the main streets during their work hours to free up spaces for visitors and customers.
In other business, Sheffield told the board that core drilling had found more contaminated soil beneath the area where a parking lot for the new fire station is to go. More than 400 tons of soil would have to be moved if Robbins is required to move that soil before continuing with construction.
“That could cost $30,000,” Sheffield said, adding that the town could hardly afford that additional cost. He recommended the board write a letter to the state Depart-ment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) informing them what the tests showed, but requesting that the town not have to move this dirt.
“It is going to have a lot of dirt cover over it,” Davis said. “Then, it is going to be paved over completely with asphalt.”
The contamination came from leaks of diesel fuel used by a sawmill that stood long ago on the site. The board voted to send the letter to DENR.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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