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Spring Lake board to get update on town finances

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SPRING LAKE —The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen on Monday night is expected to receive an update on the town’s finances through June from the Local Government Commission.

The Local Government Commission took financial control of the town last year amid concerns about budget deficits, fiscal disarray and an investigation into missing money.

In a letter to the Board of Aldermen in advance of the meeting, Susan McCullen said the town is showing that it has collected $3,228,037, or 102.67% of property taxes, which she says is excellent. Property tax is the town’s largest revenue source. McCullen is director of the Fiscal Management Section of the Local Government Commission.

She also said the general fund appears to be in better shape going into year-end than in recent years.

With the report nearing the end of the fiscal year, McCullen also cautions that there are departments that have overspent their budget.

“There are four functions that appear to have overspent the budgeted amount at this time: administration, tax collections, public works administration and senior building,” McCullen said. 

She said staff will be working to determine what caused the issues and revise business processes as needed so the issues do not happen again.

The concern that the general fund will have a negative fund balance is again repeated in the letter sent to the town in advance of the meeting. Financial officers will be unable to determine the exact amount of the deficit until the 2022 audit is completed.

McCullen stated in her letter that any positive balances that are currently showing cannot be viewed as available for new programs or expansion items until the town’s financial condition can be fully assessed. This has been a statement repeated over the last year as the finance staff has worked to verify the current state of the town’s finances, along with the search for missing money and missing vehicles.

An audit released in March by the Office of the State Auditor said the town reported having 80 vehicles, while the state Division of Motor Vehicles reported 138 and the financial auditor 92.

The board will also hear a presentation from Liz Whitmore, a planner in the historic resource office at the city of Sanford.

Cynthia Wilt, a Spring Lake resident and member of the Appearance and Sustainability Committee, said the committee is looking into the possibility of murals in the town. Wilt said they are looking at options to highlight the town’s history and military connection.

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, Local Government Commission, finances