St. Pauls commissioners talk Gumbo Branch drainage during budget workshop

Not sure project will stop flooding

Jessica Horne Staff writer





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    ST. PAULS — Commissioners here discussed moving forward on the project to clear the Gumbo Branch basin during a special called meeting Monday to talk about the town’s proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget.

    Commissioners learned Friday during a meeting with project engineers that extending the project 600 feet into the basin would not guarantee flooding would not occur. Engineers could do an additional $8,000 to $10,000 worth of work and still not know the extent of future flooding, Mayor Elbert Gibson said Monday.

    Commissioners voted to continue the project to clear the ditch areas from Gumbo Branch to Sanford Street.

    “I like the idea of let’s just go on with what we’ve got,” said Commissioner Jerry Quick.

    It was decided that as the project continues, the town will apply for more grants to cover additional costs.

    “We need to be proactive and pursue it,” Commissioner Deborah Inman said.

    The project should be finished and the town aggressive in securing grant funding, Inman said. She also suggested that the N.C. Soil and Water Conservation, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers be contacted to help the project move forward.

    In other news, the St. Pauls Police Department will apply for a $5,000 grant from Duke Energy to buy a new drone, police Chief Steve Dollinger said. The department also will pursue grants from the Golden LEAF Foundation to upgrade its 911 system.

    The police department also hired Piedmont Communications to maintain 911 services, which will save $500 in expenses each year, he said.

    Also discussed Monday, was increasing town salaries to a total $238,000 in fiscal year 2020-2021. Commissioners also discussed adding $8,000 to the current fiscal year budget to help cover the costs of renovations to Sugar Memorial Park.

    No comments were made about the 2020-21 spending plan during the public hearing portion of Monday’s meeting. Commissioners also took no action on the proposed spending plan before The Robesonian’s print deadline. The proposed budget is calculated based on revenues of a little more than $3.4 million.

    Reach Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected]