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Spring Lake board expected to endorse proposed budget


SPRING LAKE — The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen is expected to endorse the proposed town budget on Monday night ahead of the Local Government Commission’s adoption this week.

 The Local Government Commission last year took control of Spring Lake’s finances. The commission had warned town leaders about long-standing financial disarray, concerns about potential budget deficits and investigations into missing money.

The commission staff put together the proposed budget. The commission and the Board of Aldermen held a joint public hearing on the proposed budget earlier this month.

The $13.3 million proposed budget keeps the property tax rate unchanged at 70 cents per $100 valuation. The proposed budget includes a 3% cost-of-living increase for town employees. Water rates are expected to be raised by 14% and sewer rates by 5%.  

Also on Monday, the board is expected to receive a financial statement through May from interim Town Manager Joe Durham.

According to the Local Government Commission comments submitted with the financial summary report for Monday, the town’s general fund is reporting positive revenue over expenditures, and the town was praised for exercising good budget discipline.

Susan McCullen, director of the fiscal management section of the State and Local Government Finance Division, said there was concern that the general fund will show a negative fund balance. That cannot be confirmed, however, until the audit is completed by June 30.

“The audit will document the state of the fund balance. If there is a deficit, N.C. general statutes require any deficit to be eliminated in the budget,” McCullen said.

The board also will consider a special-use permit to allow nonprofit activities, a farmer’s market and historic exhibits as part of the Sandhills Family Heritage Association at 230 Chapel Hill Road.

The Sandhills Family Heritage Association was incorporated in 2001 and the farmer’s market has existed on the site for several years. It is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with local vendors, produce, music and food.

In December, the Sandhills Family Heritage Association received $250,000 to renovate the civic center. 

According to the special-use permit to be presented Monday night, the property will be used for nonprofit activities, employ five to seven people and be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The existing building will be renovated and serve as a community resource center with community heritage archives, a warming kitchen, historic exhibits, workshops, office space and room for community events and gatherings.

“Our hope is to renovate the building and the historic site,’’ said Aimee Jenkins, executive director of the Sandhills Family Heritage Association. “The architecture is not significant, but the activities that took place on-site are. We are hoping to get state and national historic recognitions.”

Jenkins said the site is of interest to anyone wanting to know more about rural African-American history and heritage and tours are readily available.

“Our communities worked together and provided farm products to the area. We hope to show those contributions to the state as we have those exhibits at the site,” Jenkins said.

The board also will receive an update from the Audit Committee and hear reports from various board and staff members.

The board meets at 6 p.m. in the Grady Howard conference room at Town Hall.

Jami McLaughlin covers Spring Lake for CityView TODAY. She can be reached at jmclaughlin@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Spring Lake, Board of Aldermen, proposed budget, finances, Sandhills Family Heritage Association