LUMBERTON — There are still plenty of road repairs to make as a result of flooding from Hurricane Matthew, a N.C. Department of Transportation official told the Robeson County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
“Many primary routes and secondary routes were flooded and damaged,” Chuck Miller said. “Access to many communities was not possible due to flooding and roadway washouts.”
Miller updated the commissioners on county road conditions during the board’s regular meeting. He said there were a 255 damaged sites, of which 56 have not been repaired. Thirty of those 56 sites are under contract to be repaired.
According to Miller, 26 roads remain closed, including the following three primary roads: N.C. 72 between Lumberton and Red Springs; N.C. 904 between N.C. 41 and N.C. 130; and N.C. 130 between N.C. 904 and Rowland.
“Our priority is to get these primary roads repaired,” Miller said. “We are in the process now of getting utilities moved. That could take awhile.”
Miller also said that DOT’s removal of debris from roadways is about 90 percent complete.
“Our policy is to make one pass on each road,” Miller said. “We pick up debris that fell on the roadway.”
Delinda McCallum, of Annease Drive in Fairmont, asked the commissioners what can be done to get the dirt road she has lived on for 30 years paved.
The commissioners passed the question to Miller, who said that based on state statute, any road constructed after Oct. 1, 1975, has to be paved to DOT standards before it can be taken over and maintained by the state.
Board Chairman Tom Taylor told Miller something needs to be done to improve the many dirt roads in the county.
“This is a problem,” Taylor said. “Emergency vehicles can’t get down these dirt roads. Someone is going to get hurt.”
In other business, Taylor, the longtime chairman of Robeson County’s Health Board, resigned from that board to allow him more time to carry out his duties as chairman of the county board.
Commissioner Raymond Cummings was appointed to fill Taylor’s seat on the Health Board.
“Raymond fills the seat, but he will not necessarily be the board’s chairman,” Taylor said.
In another personnel matter, after a short executive session, the board voted to allow Sheriff Ken Sealey’s son, Timothy Sealey, to be hired as a deputy. The motion to approved was made by Cummings.
Sealey said his son, 27, has served as a deputy in another county for three years. He added, however, that he has not yet decided if he will hire his son.
Even if he decides to hire his son, it still will not be a conflict of interest, Sealey said after the meeting.
“I would not be his supervisor,” the sheriff said. “The only ones who report directly to me are the four majors.”
In other business, the commissioners:
— Heard a brief presentation from David Powell, the county’s offenders resource director, concerning the Southeast Regional Re-entry Council’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. The re-entry program targets people in Robeson, Scotland and Hoke counties who have been incarcerated and are looking to re-enter the community.
According to Powell, the proposed budget is for $173,000 and would be split evenly among the three counties.
— Approved a new patch for members of the county’s Emergency Medical Services Department.
— Approved a request for a conditional-use permit that allows for a mechanic shop and space for storing vehicles to be established in Raft Swamp.
— Denied a conditional-use permit request that would allow the establishment of a family cemetery in Fairmont.
— Heard presentations from representatives of Fairgrove and Fairmont middle schools concerning Junior Beta clubs. The commissioners were asked to financially support students from the two schools wanting to attend the state Junior Beta Club convention being held in Greensboro next month.
— Passed a resolution approving the county’s local water supply plan.
— Passed a resolution that allows the North Carolina Indian Housing Authority to move forward with it Springs Cove project in Red Springs.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.