The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

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February 28, 2013

‘THE BLEEDING HAS STOPPED’

Princeville finances improve

PRINCEVILLE — PRINCEVILLE — "The bleeding has stopped..."

Those were the words spoken by Vance Holloman, deputy treasurer for the N.C. Department of State Treasurer State and Local Government Commission Wednesday night during the Princeville community update meeting that was sponsored by his office.

Holloman was referring to the poor financial condition of the town when the state took over the books in July. Although Holloman referenced the bleeding had stopped, he reminded the audience of more than 50 that there is still work to be done before his staff returns control of the books back to the town.

"Now, it's a matter of time to restore its health. I believe that will be the challenge of the 2013-2014 budget — to restore it back to its health. You have to have enough funds in the budget to be able to bring in enough qualified folks who can help. It's a tough to predict the exact time when the current situation might end. We certainly think it could be within the 2013-1014 fiscal year."

Sharon Edmundson, LGC fiscal management director and acting Princeville finance officer, reported that water and tax collections have exceeded the monthly amount collected prior to the takeover. She also reported that the town has caught up paying just about all of its vendors.

Commissioner Calvin Sherrod asked the LGC a slew of questions that ranged from repairing holes in the streets to employees working on the clock. One citizen asked about cleaning up a empty lot beside her house while another one requested cutting trees limbs that are hanging in the street.

Perhaps the most interesting question by a citizen came from former mayor Delia Perkins, when she asked about the and credit card expenditures by present mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates, and former town clerk Diana Draughn and travel reimbursement by the mayor, Isabelle Purvis Andrews and interim town manager Maggie Boyd.

Perkins read a state law in reference to the illegal use of government funds that states anyone who is found guilty will be fined and forfeit its office.

After reading the law, she said, "You all have the power to remove those people at the town hall that brought this town to its knees. I realize that this town has not always been perfect. It is not perfect, but it has never been what it is now. So, I ask the question, why haven't y'all used your power to remove those board members from office so that the town could move on?"

Vance Holloman responded, saying the LGC has turned information over to two state agencies who are looking into the matter. He said he could not elaborate on the issue.

The meeting was called by the request of Sherrod who said he wanted the LGC to answer questions he could not answer. A little more than 50 people attended the meeting with the exception of Everette-Oates, Purvis-Andrews and Boyd. The trio did not attend the first meeting in August which was held in the same venue. Sherrod apologized to LGC for the no-show.

Some of the citizens who attended were pleased.

"The meeting was very enlightening," said Deloris Porter. "I was very pleased with the information that we were given. It gives me some insight as to where we are going forward. And this is what I hope we will do. Get out out of what ever we have been in and become better."

 Lamar Godwyn said, "The Local Government Commission is going to lift Princeville to higher heights. The job that they have done so far is a great improvement for the town. I forsee the town's opportunities to advance."

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