Auditor gives Spencer high marks

  • Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012 12:35 a.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, December 13, 2012 12:36 a.m.

Also at Tuesday night’s Spencer Board of Aldermen meeting:

• The town received an unqualified opinion, the highest available, from auditor Eddie Carrick, who said the town had a good year financially.

Revenues were within $100 of the previous year, totaling about $2.5 million, Carrick said.

Expenses however were $2.265 million, down from $2.4 million the previous year, he said.

Town staff “has done a good job across the board … at controlling expenses,” Carrick said.

The town’s fund balance is about $230,000, up from $224,000 the previous year.

Available fund balance is 67 percent of expenditures, which is in line with the state average for towns with fewer than 5,000 residents.

Spencer paid down $196,000 in debt principal last year.

Carrick encouraged the board to remain conservative and prepare for unfunded mandates from the state and federal governments, both struggling with deficits.

“There is a lot of potential for the state to just push it on down to small towns,” he said.

While Raleigh is pledging “no, no we’re not going to touch” sales tax and franchise tax revenues, “I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Carrick said.

Spencer’s biggest financial advantage is something the town does not have — a water and sewer system, he said. The expense of operating such a utility can quickly leave a small town broke, he said.

• Aldermen amended the zoning ordinance to include indoor recreation to allow a proposed new business — an indoor soccer facility — that’s interested in Spencer.

Town Planner Price Wagoner said the business is considering locating on 17th Street in an industrial area with a large gravel parking lot.

“Wow, we’ve got new business coming to Spencer,” Alderman Jeff Morris said. “I hopes this makes our town a destination for something new and brings in some secondary businesses.”

• Public works will vacuum leaves through Jan. 4. After that, yard material must be bagged.

• Police Chief Michael James warned of a scam letter that appears to come from Reader’s Digest magazine. A Spencer resident went to police recently with the hoax letter and check.

James said he turned the materials over to the FBI because the scam involves a Florida bank, and the letter was postmarked in Canada.

• Spencer’s new code enforcement officer is showing good results, Wagoner said, with 19 of 28 recent code violations corrected by the owner rather than the town.

• Spencer Woods organizers will host general work days Jan. 1 and Jan. 19, with another trail team meeting on Jan. 17.

• The Small Town Main Street program is going well with large turnouts at monthly meetings and high enthusiasm, Town Manager Larry Smith said.

The next meeting is at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, and the public is invited.

• Alderman Reid Walters was appointed the Transportation Advisory Committee delegate, with Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gobbel as alternate. Rowan County Planning Director Ed Muire was appointed as Spencer’s Technical Coordinating Committee delegate, with Shane Stewart as the alternate.

• The town recognized Larry Lyerly with Salisbury-Rowan Utilities, who attended his final Spencer aldermen meeting as the town’s liaison before retiring with 40 years of service for the city of Salisbury.

Lyerly said Spencer and Salisbury-Rowan Utilities worked together well.

“If you had a problem, we had a problem,” Lyerly said.

SRU Director Jim Behmer will replace Lyerly as Spencer’s liaison. Salisbury took over Spencer’s water system in 2000.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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