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February 7, 2013

LGC to update Princeville on progress

ROCKY MOUNT — A Princeville Community Update Meeting will be held 6 p.m. Feb. 27, at Princeville Elementary School and facilitated by the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer, according to a bulletin released by the department.

During the meeting, the Local Government Commission (LGC) staff will share information about the progress made since the state took over the town’s finances in July, give an update on the water and sewer system and inform the citizens of the next steps to be taken on behalf of the town.

The meeting was requested by Princeville Commissioner Calvin Sherrod.

“I wanted them to come back because there are some questions the citizens are asking the commissioners and we can not answer them,” Sherrod said.   “Some of the commissioners have questions, too, including myself. It’s nothing against them (LGC), I just wanted them to come back and answer some questions.”

Interim Town Manager Maggie Boyd said during the town’s meeting on Jan. 28, that she had requested T.Vance Holloman deputy treasurer of the N.C. Department of Treasurer, to attend that meeting. She expressed her disappointment that he did not attend.

“I wanted to invite him here because the citizens need to come to the town hall that is provided for them to ask questions of anything they would like to know concerning the town,” Boyd said during the meeting. “That was my reason for calling him, but he refused to come to this meeting. He said he would have one at the school. But this is not by our request. Our request was to have him here at the town meeting.”

Commissioner Ann Howell said the town hall was not conducive for a meeting of that magnitude. She welcomes LGC return in the same venue as the previous meeting.

“I feel that there is more space at Princeville School which will make it convenient for all the citizens who would like to attend. The town hall is too small.”  

The meeting will be the second sponsored by the state office since it took over the town’s finances. In August, Holloman and at least five of his associates met at Princeville Elementary School. Approximately 100 people attended. Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates, commissioner Isabelle Purvis-Andrews and Boyd did not attend the meeting, saying they had prior engagements.

At the meeting Holloman gave an update on the town’s financial condition and he answered questions offered by the citizens. Howell said the meeting was productive and welcomes the second meeting.

“What Vance is going to do is to inform the citizens that they are working to get the town finances back in order,” Howell said. “We deserve answers and they want to give them to us. This is a win-win situation for everybody. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of restoring the citizens’ faith in our government.

“As a citizen and a commissioner, I feel very, very good about LGC taking over the town’s finances. I know it has not been an easy job.”

LGC took over the town’s books in July because the financial condition of the town was below standards. Everette-Oates, Purvis-Andrews and Sherrod were against the takeover. Howell and commissioner Gwen Knight were for it. The takeover was the second time that LGC has taken the books from Princeville. In 1997, the government agency confiscated the books for financial problems, also.

During that takeover, the LGC did not have an official meeting with the citizens to update them on the town’s progress. The books were returned after an election in 1998 under a new board.

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