MAXTON — The mayor of Maxton on Tuesday urged town residents to pay any money owed to the town in the form of property taxes or water bills.
“I would like to make a plea to the folks of Maxton,” Mayor Sallie McLean said during the town Board of Commissioners meeting. “If you have not paid your taxes, please pay them. If you know someone that has not, please pass it on because that is going to be a big help in getting us where we want to be.”
Town Manager Angela Pitchford said the town has been using a state program to collect money it is owed.
“We use debt set off for people who leave with water bills unpaid,” Pitchford said. “Debt set off is where the state can take your income tax or your lottery winnings — your money will be garnished to pay for those bills.”
Maxton received a letter from the Department of State Treasury saying it needs to increase it tax-collection rate. The letter followed an audit that showed the town was struggling financially.
“We try very hard not to run people’s water bill and taxes up more than they can handle,” McLean said. “I’m very pleased with the way staff has been working, the cooperation of the citizens of the town that have been cooperating through paying their taxes — I’m just pleased that everybody has come full circle.”
Myra Tyndall, the town’s financial adviser, said the town is making progress.
“You’ve pulled it from a negative $140,750 in 2011 to $53,400 in 2012,” Tyndall said. “In 2013, I think that you will be able to pull it higher.”
The town currently has a balance of $200,000 in its General Fund.
“All we can do is tighten our belts, pray a lot and keep it moving,” McLean said.
In other action, the board:
— Adopted a resolution endorsing acquisition of water and wastewater treatment facilities of WestPoint Stevens. The acquisition would be done through the the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport Commission.
— Approved a request by CSX Transportation to contract out repairs on the brick wall on Central Street, adjacent to the Patterson Street Highway-Rail. CSX Transportation will reimburse the town its cost.
— Heard from Lillie Dumas Wells, a Brooklyn community resident, who said she is concerned about the condition of Malloy and West Coddingham streets, the lack of a fire hydrant in the area, and potential infestation of mosquitoes in a wetland area between Martin Luther King Road and the old U.S. 74.
— Heard from Nancy Walker, director of the Maxton Housing Authority, who gave the board an update on the agency.
— Heard from Maxton Police Chief Tammy Deese, who announced that Operation Medicine Drop is ongoing this week. It is an initiative to get people to dispose of old medications. Medicine can be dropped off at the Maxton Police Department from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday.
— Deese told the commissioners the department wants to buy a program that identifies stolen items that are being pawned. The program is expected to cost between $1,500 to $1,800.
— Deese told the commissioners the Maxton Police Department’s Step Team recently won first place at a competition in Laurinburg.