By a vote of 6 to 2 on Monday, the Lumberton City Council rejected offering newly elected Republican Congressmen Dan Bishop office space in City Hall for free. The issue was tabled during the council’s Council Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday after a contentious exchange between Mayor Bruce Davis and Councilmen John Cantey and Chris Howard over the amount of rent Rep. Bishop should pay for a three-room, 392-square-foot space on the third floor of City Hall.
This time, there was no argument as Councilman Leroy Rising offered a motion to rent the offices for free, and Councilman Owen Thomas seconded the motion. A substitute motion by Cantey to make an offer of $457 per month passed. “A majority of the council agreed on option one,” Cantey said. “I recommend we accept the recommendation of the majority.”
An offer of $1-a-year rent had been extended to Rep. Bishop before Wednesday’s planning meeting last week, But Cantey and Howard objected, saying the council had been excluded from the process, and the council tabled the matter. The city gave a similar deal to Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger, but Cantey noted that former Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre was charged $800 per month although for a larger space. The $457 is based on square-foot rate equal to what was charged McIntyre.