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Spring Lake board to discuss term limits and election cycles


The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen at their work session tonight will look at moving the Spring Lake municipal election to even years, extending term limits to four years and appropriating grant funds for two capital projects.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. today in the Grady Howard conference room at the Spring Lake Town Hall. Here’s a look at what’s ahead.

Change in election years

Alderman Raul Palacios will present a discussion for a change in the election cycle and term limits to the board.

According to agenda materials, the board will explore moving Spring Lake elections to even years to increase voter turnout. Palacios cites that Spring Lake only had 10% voter participation in the last local election as a reason to consider the change.

He would also like the board to explore four-year elected terms for the Board of Aldermen and Spring Lake’s mayor for future elections. Alderwoman Sona Cooper last brought up extended staggered terms in January 2022. The issue has been brought up by previous boards. 

Grant fund allocations

Interim Town Manager Jason Williams, who also serves as the town’s fire chief, will present a plan to appropriate grant funds from the N.C. Office of State Budget and Management for Spring Lake Veteran’s Park.

The town received $10,000 in the 2019-2020 state budget in order to provide repairs and improvements to the park but could not use the money because of the condition of their finances. 

The Local Government Commission took over Spring Lake’s finances two years ago after state audits and a subsequent investigation showed former town Finance Director Gay Cameron Tucker embezzled $567,070 between 2016 and 2021. 

Additional money was granted to the town in October.

The estimated budget includes $5,000 for administrative expenses, $15,000 to upgrade lighting, $49,200 for landscaping and irrigation and $40,800 for other improvements. Ideas for the improvements are a small gazebo, decorative trash cans and a monument or statue.

Another $200,000 grant was given to the town in October from the N.C. Office of State Budget and Management for improvements at Spring Lake parks.

The funds will be transferred to Cumberland County so they can be dispersed under the agreement with the Cumberland County Recreation Service District. Fayetteville-Cumberland County Parks & Recreation took over operations of the Spring Lake Parks and Recreation in November 2022.

Williams plans to share an outline with the board to purchase and install new playground equipment at Edward Mendoza Municipal Park and move existing equipment to the smaller Odell Road Park and Woodland West Park. The proposed budget includes $90,000 for playground equipment, $30,000 for equipment installation, $50,000 for rubber surfacing and $30,000 for unit relocation.

There are further budget appropriations totaling $300,000 in the 2023-2025 budget for a gas line extension and water and sewer improvements. However, the N.C. Office of State Budget and Management must certify Spring Lake’s budget, which is expected to happen at the end of the month.

Other items for discussion include adopting a Rules of Procedure for board meetings and entering an agreement with the Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity for a possible new neighborhood.  

The proposed Rules of Procedure would benefit Spring Lake meetings by promoting transparency, efficiency, public participation and accountability, according to Town Clerk Carly Autry in pre-agenda materials. 

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spring lake, board of aldermen, election cycle, term limit, veteran's park