The appointment of a new commissioner raises the concern of some commissioners



Robeson County Director Kellie Blue

Blue said she had learned more effective ways in 2021 to conduct county government business in a COVID-19 climate when people couldn’t always meet face to face. She also said she had looked at the services provided by the county and ways to improve them.

She said she hopes to improve customer service in county departments by improving the means of accepting payments in the New Year.

Blue said she also hopes to see the Robeson County Public Schools project to build a career and technology center move forward in 2022. The county and Robeson Community College plan to work with the PSRC to help to make the project a reality, she said.


Wayne Horne, City Manager of Lumberton

The city of Lumberton’s achievements in 2021 and its goals for 2022 go hand in hand, as Horne said the city’s goals are continued progress on several projects underway in the city.

This includes the construction of a gate under Interstate 95 and the Tanglewood Drainage Project, both of which will help mitigate flooding during potential future natural disasters, and further development of the I-74 / I- Industrial Park. 95.

The city’s broader focus continues to be long-term recovery efforts from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. In addition to the floodgate and Tanglewood projects, this includes affordable housing programs in the city, and a redevelopment plan for south and west Lumberton is expected to go live in 2022.

“(Housing is) a priority set by the Council,” said Horne. “These are the kinds of ongoing projects that we are continuing, and we hope to restore all of these neighborhoods to their pre-hurricane condition.”

These efforts were aided by “unexpected” funds received by the city in 2021 – $ 6 million from the American Rescue Plan Act and $ 10 million from the state budget.

“I think the injection of additional resources will be very beneficial for the city to help us move forward with these projects,” said Horne.

Other projects planned for 2022 include widening Interstate 95 by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, expanding the Lumberton Civic Center and creating a memorial park, Horne said.


Debra McNeill, Clerk of St. Pauls and Acting City Administrator

McNeill thanked city employees and commissioners for their help with city operations during COVID-19. The interim city administrator said luckily the city had not had to cease operations due to the COVID-19 outbreaks in 2021.

The city has several improvement projects underway and will focus on the project to relocate and build a new wastewater treatment plant in the new year.

“We just hope they keep moving forward,” she said of the plans.

McNeill also said the city will continue its search for a grant administrator in 2022. The grant administrator’s duties will focus on securing grants for infrastructure and revitalization, among other projects.


David Ashburn, City Manager of Red Springs

The city worked in 2021 to improve the economy, the streets and its water and sewer systems. The new water treatment plant is up and running providing even cleaner water than before, he said.

The city has also mapped its sewer system and is working on a project to map its water system. Funding has been allocated to the city that will allow it to further modernize its water and sewer systems and improve drainage for the city and Little Raft Swamp, he said.

The city has learned the value of grants through several projects and will continue to seek more funding.

“It helps reduce our costs and improve the quality of life,” Ashburn said of grant funding.

The city requested $ 30 million in federal funding to improve the downtown landscape and upgrade the city’s electrical system, but the funding was not provided, Ashburn said.

The city will continue to work to upgrade its systems and seek funding to do so in the New Year, he said.


Greg Cummings, Mayor of Pembroke

This town has seen a historic amount of private investment in the community through development, including a new Hunter’s Run apartment complex; Apartment development 698, chemin Prospect; Development / Mixed-use Lofts of the AS Thomas Center; Scotland Health New office building; and the addition of a Cook Out restaurant.

An official said the city has received more than $ 21 million in grants that will enable historic public investments in much-needed capital infrastructure such as sewage treatment, roads, improved transportation and parks.

The city’s accomplishments are due to the hard work of Pembroke council, staff and residents, said Mayor Greg Cummings.

“I am very proud of the board. They’ve worked very closely with all of these major projects and I just thank them, ”Cummings said. “These projects cannot take place on their own. You have to have a good working staff so our staff and the board have done a wonderful job this year. “

Cummings looks forward to seeing the growth and development of downtown Pembroke in 2022.

“I think there’s going to be a big difference there,” Cummings said.


David Townsend, Town Clerk of Rowland

Funding for some needed city-wide projects has been made available in the year 2021, Townsend said. Several grants have been made to the Town of Rowland, including a $ 2 million Community Development Grant to improve the town’s water and sewer infrastructure.

Townsend said the city was told it was also vying for a $ 200,000 drainage grant.

“We’ll be hearing about it the first of the year,” Townsend said.

The Rowland Train Depot could also undergo renovations next year with $ 300,000 in the state budget signed by Governor Roy Cooper in November.

The city also saw one of the first beatification projects come to fruition with the installation of artwork at City Hall by three local artists, Townsend said.

The Clerk also looks forward to working with the new Mayor and City Commissioner, Robert McDougald and Jackie Davis.

“We’re getting a little bit of enthusiasm about future events in the Town of Rowland so we’re pretty positive here,” Townsend said.


Angela Pitchford, City of Maxton Director

The Maxton Police Department experienced a turnaround for the better in 2021 thanks to the efforts of Police Chief Na’Shayla Nelson, Pitchford said. The service is now state approved and up to date with regard to equipment.

“She saved the city a lot of money,” Pitchford said. “She went above and beyond.”

Nelson submitted his resignation letter in December and the city will begin the search for new leadership for the department in 2022.

His work as well as that of the other department heads in Maxton is the reason for the city’s success this year.

“All of my department heads have done an absolutely brilliant job,” said Pitchford. “They have been great in moving the city forward. “

The residents who volunteered their time as well as the commissioners and the mayor were also among those who contributed to the highlights of 2021 this year as well, Pitchford said.

The city manager said she hopes to see more businesses, grants and infrastructure improvements in Maxton in 2022.

“We’re looking forward to more growth… and we can use a little more unity,” Pitchford said.


Charles Kemp, Mayor of Fairmont

“I have learned [in 2021] that our community needs a new vision, ”said Kemp.

Kemp said he has several goals for the coming year.

The mayor said he was working to “provide jobs to citizens who want them”.

Career fairs will be held at Fairmont every Wednesday in January, he said. All will be virtual, with the exception of the job fair on January 19.

Another objective is to renew and revitalize the city center. Kemp also plans to beautify and clean up the community.

Fairmont residents on the Mayor’s mailing list can also expect to be better informed in the New Year, as he sends out weekly emails on the city’s latest events. He also plans to use Facebook, meetings and personal contacts to keep residents informed.

The mayor also plans to “unify Fairmont” and “bring together all citizens of Fairmont” through events over the coming year.


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