SP Council OKs Funds for Chinese Orchestra Performance
BY TED M. NATT JR.
Southern Pines Town Council member Chris Smithson had mixed emotions about efforts to bring the China National Orchestra to the R.E. Lee Auditorium at Pinecrest High School for next month's joint concert with the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra.
"I do think this event is a good thing," Smithson said Tuesday at the monthly Town Council meeting.
But Smithson was the only council member to vote against allocating $2,500 to sponsor the event.
"This perhaps is not the most appropriate way to spend taxpayer funds," he said before the vote.
The Arts Council of Moore County is seeking sponsors for the Feb. 15 concert to raise the $16,250 needed to make it a free event.
The village of Pinehurst has also committed $2,500, while the town of Aberdeen has pledged $1,250. The Moore County Board of Commissioners has yet to make a decision.
Greg Zywocinski, a Southern Pines businessman, questioned the decision-making process because his past requests for financial help from the town for events like the annual Christmas parade had been rebuffed.
"I've been told 'no' repeatedly by the town," Zywocinski said. "I am in favor of bringing entertainment of this kind to Southern Pines and Moore County. But why is this (concert) a lot more important than putting money into (the parade)? On what basis are town funds donated to nonprofits?"
Mayor David McNeill said requests are considered on a case-by-case basis, adding that the concert was a "once-in-a lifetime" event that was being held in Southern Pines and would benefit local students.
"We all had to give it some thought," McNeill said. "You can always make a request, Mr. Z."
In other business Tues-day, the council:
n Appointed Chequilla Ledbetter and Melanie Gayle to the Library Advisory Board for terms that end Dec. 31, 2015.
n Accepted the annual audit for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. "It was a clean audit again this year," Town Manager Reagan Parsons said.
n Accepted a $1,000 donation from the Southern Pines Garden Club to purchase plants.
n Renewed the lease allowing the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills to operate out of the Recreation Center on Memorial Park Court.
n Approved the architectural review for the proposed Waffle House restaurant at the corner of U.S. 1 and Murray Hill Road after the company complied with a request from the council to use red brick and change the color of its awning. The company, which preferred a red awning, chose green.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the pilot.com.
More like this story