June 16, 2024

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New billing software is coming to Red Springs

RED SPRINGS — The town manager here told commissioners and community members of a software upgrade in June for the town’s Finance Department.

The new software called Tyler Technologies will allow residents to pay bills online, access their utility usage and view bill information, according to Sharon McFarland, the town’s Finance director. The town’s current system, called Harris, allows customers to pay online.

The city of Lumberton’s Public Servies department transitioned to Tyler Technologies in January.

The process is already underway to begin the upgrade, said Town Manager David Ashburn.

The department will begin using the software for billing in June.

Juneteenth event

In other business, commissioners heard of a Juneteenth event planned to commemorate the end to slavery in America.

Eva Patterson-Heath and other members of the Juneteenth Committee asked commissioners for support including funding, police officers and other resources to help make the nine-day event possible. Among activities included in the event are a 5k race or walk and a one-mile walk on June 18.

“We have big dreams for our Juneteenth Celebration so it’s going to take big funds for that to come to fruition,” she said.

Committee member Tim Heath told commissioners the budget is $50,000 and work is underway to raise that money.

She asked commissioners for a statement of support to use the town logo and approval from the town manager and police chief to move forward with the event. The approval is needed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, she said.

Patterson-Heath also requested officers for the parade and other activity portions of the event. She told commissioners she needed 36 hours of coverage, and is willing to pay for services of officers.

Red Springs Chief of Police Brent Adkins said the event would need more than four officers. Adkins and a police captain plan to volunteer some time to the event, but Adkins said he was unsure if the town could provide enough manpower.

Mayor Pro Tem Ronnie Patterson asked Adkins to look into using the department’s two auxiliary officers.

Commissioner Duron Burney, who is employed as a detective at the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, said that Sheriff Burnis Wilkins will help provide law enforcement officers at the event.

No action was taken concerning Heath-Patterson’s requests.

“We’re gonna see what we can do and what we can work out to make this happen,” said Mayor Edward Henderson.

Other matters

Also on Tuesday, commissioners learned that the first day of curbside trash pickup was a success on Tuesday.

Ashburn also said the town’s improved website is up and operating.

Commissionr Caroline Sumpter said the town is working to improve its water system and thanked employees for their work to repair a Feb. 23 water outage caused by water line breaks.

“It was a painful process,” she said of the outage.

“We have been working diligently in making improvements,” she added.

The town also has applied for a $12 million grant funding to help fund more improvements, Ashburn said.

Work has been underway to complete an inventory and assessment of the town’s water system, which will help it map out lines and be better prepared in the future, Ashburn previously told The Robesonian.

Red Springs has previously been approved $6.1 million as part of the state budget, which include $3.1 million for water and sewer improvements and $3 million for stormwater management related to Little Raft Swamp.

Ashburn thanked state Sen. Danny Britt an Rep. Brenden Jones for their efforts in helping the town secure the funding.

In other business, commissioners also approved amending the Community Development Block Grant budget for the $2 million sewer rehab project. The amendment covers funding needed for administrative costs to send information to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

The board also approved a contract with S. Preston Douglas and Associates for auditing services.

“I am proud of the way that we’re trying to come together and bring this town together and improve the conditions of this town for everyone,” Mayor Henderson said. “It’s been a long road and it’s been a struggle and it’s a never-ending battle. So, as much as we do, there will always be more than what we’ve done to still be done.”

Commissioners emerged from a brief closed-door session concerning attorney/client privileges but took no action.

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