FAIRMONT — Commissioners here heard from local business leaders that 60 new jobs will come to town in the near future.
Marvin Frink, the president of Briarwood Custom Meats LLC, told commissioners that the business on Marion Stage Road, which will open Feb. 14, will add 30 new jobs in its first year and 30 more the next. Frink and his wife Tanisha, who serves as the company CEO, delivered the news Tuesday to commissioners.
“So that’ll be 60 additional jobs that we are adding here in Fairmont,” Marvin Frink told commissioners.
The business is a meat processing facility, which will process cattle and swine for customers at the building. On Aug. 19, the Rural Infrastructure Authority Board approved a $200,000 grant to support the reuse of the building for the business. Briarwood Custom Meats plans to invest $1,248,874 in the project.
The building, which is 27,432-square-feet, will also have a classroom for students studying animal science at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to learn about meat processing. The company plans to hire those students once they graduate, Frink said.
The company is also reaching out to reentry programs to help employ formerly incarcerated people.
“I would like to thank you and your wife for choosing Fairmont to start your business,” said Terry Evans, a Fairmont commissioner.
“I’m very excited about the new business coming to town,” said Heather Seibles, a Fairmont commissioner.
In other matters, commissioners approved a request from the Fairmont Rotary Club to place a free library at the Fairmont Community Park, where members of the community can take books to read for free and return them once finished.
“We have, as a club, built a free library and we would like permission from the commissioners to place it at the community park,” said Phillip Wall, a member of the club.
Wall said the library will be placed by the bicycle racks at the main gate and maintained by the club. Wall hopes to place the library in the park sometime next week.
Commissioners also approved a contract with VC3 to provide information technology services to the town. The one-time fee of $25,930.62 will be paid through the town’s American Rescue Plan allocation.
“I have negotiated this contract with VC3 so that we will not be charged a monthly fee until a reduction in cost is realized by Fairmont,” Town Manager Hank Raper wrote in a memorandum to the mayor and commissioners.
Raper said the monthly fee of $3,221.79 will be sustained “through ongoing operating revenues and expenditures.”
He wrote that the one-time fees will support improving the water and sewer system and protect the “integrity of the system from potential hacking and ransom ware by outside parties.”
Also approved by commissioners was a Community Development Block Grant Infrastructure contract with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality for Brown Street pump station improvements. The initial grant is up to $97,000 and the second construction grant is $1,903,000.
Commissioners also approved naming LKC Engineering as the grant administrator and engineer for the pump station project.
Mayor Charles Townsend acted as the tiebreaker in the vote to appoint Butch Lennon to the Fairmont ABC Board. Lennon will serve a three year term on the board and take the place of Steve Floyd, whose term expires this month.
Mayor Pro Tem J.J. McCree and Commissioners Charles Kemp and Heather Seibles voted in favor of Lennon. Commissioners Felecia McLean, Monte McCallum and Terry Evans voted in opposition.
Evans nominated Khairalla Aziz, also known as Mr. G, to the ABC Board. Commissioners McLean and McCallum also voted in favor of his appointment to the board. Aziz operates Mr. G’s Mart on Iona Street in Fairmont.
Evans said Aziz could add to the board with his experience in the business and sale of alcohol. He also said Aziz was a prominent member of the community. The commissioner also said he intended to promote racial diversity on the board and make all races feel at home. The nomination and votes for Aziz failed as a result of the tiebreaker vote in favor of Lennon.
“You’re in the same old rut because your mindset is still the same it’s not going anywhere. You got to think outside of the box,” he added.
Also on Tuesday, commissioners were told that the Fairmont Farmers Festival Pageant will take place on Nov. 6 around noon at Rosenwald Elementary School in Fairmont. Madison Davenport is the director of the pageant, which has not been held for two years, after the festival was canceled because of health concerns related to COVID-19.
The Rev. Leslie Sessoms, a member of the Ministers for Justice group, introduced the group to commissioners Tuesday. The group of ministers was formed shortly after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 and seeks to provide prayer and support for local police departments. The group also seeks to promote racial unity in Robeson County.
“We are seeking peace,” she said. “We are seeking reconciliation.”
Commissioners also returned from a closed door session to discuss acquiring property, but took no action.