Whiteville okays new police reimbursement policy, sells land to DOT for right-of-way
By Allen Turner, The News Reporter
In a routine meeting that was held a day earlier than originally scheduled so members can attend an out-of-town conference, Whiteville City Council Monday unanimously adopted a policy under which new police officers will sign an agreement to reimburse the city for costs associated with equipment and training if they voluntarily leave employment after less than two years on the job.
The policy was proposed by Police Chief Jeffrey Rosier. Many other municipalities, including at least two in Columbus County, already have similar policies. Although some council members expressed a concern that such a policy might hurt efforts to recruit new officers, Rosier said that he had recently interviewed five potential officers, all of whom said they would have no reservations about signing such an agreement.
In other business, council unanimously approved the transfer of two parcels of property to the N.C. Dept. of Transportation for rights-of-way for the U.S. 701 Business widening project. The agreements, approval of which were added to the agenda only Monday afternoon, call for the DOT to pay the city $50,000 for one parcel and $1,000 for the other.
At the request of Rosier, Mann issued a proclamation designating the week of May 12-18 as “Law Enforcement Officers Week” in Whiteville. Rosier said the proclamation would mean much, not only to members of his department, but also to him personally because during his career he has lost six colleagues in the line of duty. None of those deaths occurred here.
City Manager Darren Currie updated council on various issues and said he expects the city government to be able to move into the new city hall sometime around the middle of June. While most work at the new building at the corner of Madison and West Columbus Streets has been completed, the facility is not quite ready for occupancy and a mid-month move is less disruptive to city activities than relocating at any other time during the month.
Currie also told council that one phase of thee storm water project has been completed and that design work on another phase is being finalized and bids are expected to be let by late summer. Currie said he and Finance Director Coburn Brown are wrapping up work on a proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. “We will have a balanced budget for you to review at your next workshop,” Currie said. That workshop is scheduled for May 28.
Painting the exterior of the fire department has been completed, Currie told council, and exterior painting of the police department will begin next week. Currie earlier had set a goal of completing those building maintenance projects before the opening of the new city hall.