RED SPRINGS — The town has experienced “healthy” financial gains, an auditor told the Red Springs commissioners at their Tuesday meeting.
Alan Thompson, of Thompson, Price, Scott and Adams accounting firm, said the General Fund balance of about $911,400 at the end of the 2011-2012 fiscal year is “a good number compared to the last three years.
“In fact, it’s over double what it was the previous couple of years, which is very healthy,” he said.
The unassigned portion of the town’s General Fund is about 11.34 percent, well above the 8 percent threshold required by state law and last year’s percentage of negative 3.46 percent. Thompson called the jump “a big deal.”
“Overall, from a numbers perspective, we’ve had some challenging conversations over the last couple of years,” he said. “Big improvement in the General Fund, and as a board, staff and management it is something you should be pleased with. Obviously there’s other work to be done, but definitely a positive step in the right direction.”
Mayor John McNeill commended the town’s staff and board on their work to raise the balance of the General Fund above the state requirement, a threshold the town hasn’t hit since 2005.
“I want to commend the Board of Commissioners because they inherited a lot of dilapidated equipment, a tremendous amount of needs and the finances were a challenge,” he said. “I think we’ve still got a ways to go, but this audit to me is just magnificent and good news for the town of Red Springs.”
In other action on Tuesday, the board:
— Approved about $735 in billing releases.
— Honored Blake Greene, a junior at Red Springs High School, and John Meyers, a sophomore at Flora Macdonald Academy, as December students of the month.
— Approved delaying a $25 late fee until the 25th of the month for town tenants who have been re-billed by the town for Progress Energy power usage. McNeill said the re-billing process takes so long that the town “can’t hit our own requirements of payment, and it’s really no fault of theirs.”
— Passed a resolution to support the 2012-2013 funding for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant.
— Heard from Willie Goodyear and Tim Heath, of the Red Springs Enterprise Alliance, who updated the board on the progress of a farmers market the alliance has been tasked to develop as part of the Small Towns Economic Prosperity Program. The board appointed Commissioner Edward Henderson to a committee that will continue to develop plans for the market.
— Added a $10,000 budget amendment for money received from Strata Solar Development LLC, which will be used to pay for a study of the town’s electric system’s ability to provide services for a solar farm.
— After much discussion, tabled a decision on a possible exception to an employee policy that requires the town’s fire chief to live within the town limits. Chief Tim Beasley has purchased land outside of town on which he wants to build a home.
— Approved an additional $5,000 to the $10,000 allocated at the board’s November meeting to clear land at the town’s cemetery for the creation of 460 plots. At a price of $300 per plot for in-town residents, the plots could bring $138,000 in revenue. The town’s cemetery currently has 12 spaces available.
— Approved an addition to a lease agreement with Dayco Products LLC, which has expanded into additional areas of a 140,000-square-foot warehouse at 16821 N.C. 211.
— Rescheduled the board’s next meeting from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7.