HAMLET — City Council members will talk tonight about ordering new signs welcoming visitors to the city, a potential annexation and the sale of an old garbage truck — but only after revisiting an issue that has raised eyebrows and ire.
Listed as “old business” on the agenda is “Continued Discussion, Seaboard Festival Committee’s Request for Contract,” a renewed look at the festival committee’s plan to deed a permanent stage to the city — a promise made in June and since modified.
Councilman Jesse McQueen has worried since the initial proposal was made that the stage might cost the city money it need not pay. (The Daily Journal could not reach McQueen on Monday.)
In July, when the festival board reported that it had decided not to build on city land but on a private tract, McQueen asked why the city had paid for a now-unusable contract.
At the council’s August meeting, Seaboard Festival President Kim Lindsey offered to pay for whatever cost the city had incurred in drawing up the contract. She could do it immediately, she said.
Instead of taking her up on the offer, McQueen asked that discussion be continued at tonight’s meeting, after City Manager Jonathan Blanton had determined the exact cost to the city.
Tonight, Blanton will deliver his findings: The total is $650, all for attorney time.
Lindsey insists she’s still ready to pay up.
“I’ve got a checkbook, and I offered to pay,” she said Monday, wondering why the issue still was an issue. When Seaboard changed plans, she said, it left the city with a “sellable” property and an offer to pay legal fees — which she contended was a win-win for Hamlet.
“I don’t know what else to do (but pay),” said Lindsey, wife of council member David Lindsey.
The last time the issue came up, discussion was cordial but painfully diplomatic, a weak reflection of council meetings years ago, when spectators arrived each time expecting a verbal tussle.
Lindsey said Monday that she had been bombarded with questions about whether the festival would be shut down this year — it customarily takes place in October — and worried that the debate would affect the city negatively. Though the festival has a healthy number of vendors, she said, some Hamlet businesses bowed out this year for fear they would lose money.
The discussion tonight will come up early in the meeting, after acts that usually are pro forma — the moment of silence and the adoption of minutes, among them.
Later, council members will discuss new “gateway” signs bearing a subtle silhouette of the Hamlet Depot, the word “welcome” and, possibly, a slogan.
The owners of property that straddles the city line will ask that Hamlet include all of their property inside its limits.
And the council will decide whether to accept an offer for an old garbage truck.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673.