Friday, 12 April 2019 15:20

Hamlet reviews rate increase; new police chief sworn in

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Police Chief Tommy L. McMasters is ceremonially sworn in at Tuesday's Hamlet City Council meeting. He was officially sworn in April 2. Police Chief Tommy L. McMasters is ceremonially sworn in at Tuesday's Hamlet City Council meeting. He was officially sworn in April 2. Amy Guinn - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — Council members on Tuesday reviewed the city’s water and sewer rates since last summer’s rate increase.


City Manager Jonathan Blanton showed a graphic with the expenses of the department verses the revenue during the period of July 2017 to March 2018 — with the expenses being higher. Numbers for the most recent period, after the rate increase, showed higher revenues.

Mayor Bill Bayles pointed out, however, that the city has spent $100,000 in unscheduled repairs the last several weeks, the City has spent $100,000 in unscheduled repairs — repairs that were not budgeted and will use up the additional revenue generated by the increase in rates. 

Bayless said that the sewer lines are periodically collapsing, like on Charlotte Street, where a repair has been going on all this week, and those unplanned repairs can’t be budgeted. The city can only repair them as they occur.

Newly hired Hamlet Police Chief Tommy L. McMasters was ceremonially sworn as well. With his family, friends, and church pastor in attendance, the new chief repeated the oath of office given by City Clerk Gail Strickland. 

He was officially sworn in April 2.

McMasters, an Asheboro native, was hired to fill the spot left vacant by former Chief Scott Waters, who retired after 28 years with the Hamlet Police Department.

A six-year Marine Corps veteran, McMasters has more than 15 years of law enforcement experience, having previously worked with the Winston-Salem Police Department and Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Council Member Jesse McQueen said he felt the qualifications of McMasters “exceeded what you can expect for city of our size” and he is “looking forward to a lot of great things” from Chief McMasters.  

Scott Altman and the Griffin Auto Group donated an electric car, a 2012 Nissan Leaf, to the city

Hamlet has a charging station for electric cars located in City Park. Bayless said the car will be used by the city in various capacities and they were very grateful for the donation.

Other business:

  • New appointments were made to the ABC board, Depot Board and the newest council member, Maurice Stuart, was named as the alternate to the Lumber River Council of Governments. Council member Johnathan Buie is the primary Hamlet contact for the COG.
  • City Finance Director Jill Dickens and Personnel Director Edna Miles were each recognized for recently being awarded a MBA from UNC Pembroke.
  • A mayoral proclamation was read by Bayless read a proclamation to recognize the contributions and honor the memory of Ella Louise Sledge Morrison, who was 93 years old at the time of her death. She was the valedictorian of the Capital Highway School class of 1943. Buie said he is in favor of recognizing deserving residents “while they are still here” at council meeting and hopes to soon start doing so regularly.  

The city offices will be closed April 19 for Good Friday.