LUMBERTON, MS (WDAM) - The city of Lumberton held a special call meeting Wednesday evening to discuss 4 items, one of which was to talk about the financial situation of the city. The city recently held an auction where they sold several items including a garbage truck. The auction brought in over $23,000 but once discussions started in the room, it was clear that would not be enough to help the general fund.
The mayor stated the city may have to cut salaries and on multiple occasions mentioned cutting the rest of the Lumberton Police force and allowing the Lamar County Sheriff's department to take over.
"At the present time, as far as our source of income, I don't see that we can operate the police department at this present level, says Mayor Ben Winston. "We might have to make some more cuts. The county might say look we'll put you one more officer down there that means we can lay one more officer off. If they say well we'll give you two, then we'll have to lay two off."
He wants to present the idea at the board of supervisors' meeting, held December 18th. Several people attending the council meeting seemed disgruntled at the idea of losing the police, particularly because crime rates have already risen due to four officers previously being laid off.
"It's scary, it's scary even now because so much has happened since they've cut back and I applaud the cops that's here, because if I was a cop, I wouldn't put my life on the line like that, says Lumberton resident Sylvia Griffith. "But I really do appreciate them and our chief. And this city, just like any other city needs the coverage because crime has gotten ridiculous all these break ins and stuff like that so we have to have somebody to watch over us."
Several other members of the community questioned how the budget was being handled. One spectator pointed out that many problems were brought in from previous city officials, others noted that the situation is still getting progressively worse.