Granite Quarry receives clean audit; town approves acceptance of Byrd property

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 7, 2018

By Mark Wineka

GRANITE QUARRY — A Lexington firm gave the town of Granite Quarry an unqualified or “clean” opinion on its audit of town finances for the fiscal year ending June 30.

The audit report is a public document and available for citizen inspection at the Town Hall.

Tony Brewer, a certified public accountant representing the Eddie Carrick firm in Lexington, briefly reviewed the audit with aldermen Monday night.

Brewer said revenues for the fiscal year were up roughly $114,000, but expenditures exceeded revenues by about $187,000.

The town saw revenue increases in such things as property tax, sales tax and utility franchise tax collections, but it also had significant expenses by paying off the debt on its newest fire truck, Powell Bill street maintenance costs and equipment purchases.

Brewer reported the town’s total debt decreased by $212,393 during the year.

At the end of the fiscal year, Granite Quarry had an unrestricted fund balance in the general fund of $1,637,420, which represented 68 percent of the total general fund expenditures for the year.

Looked at another way, the town has enough money in its fund balance “to stay open 68 percent of the year,” Brewer said, without any revenues coming in.

“Is that good?” Brewer asked, and his own answer was, “It depends.” Aldermen need to judge this percentage over a longer period of time and look at the trends.

Some overall aspects the audit noted, beyond the increased spending for street improvements, was “continued diligence in the collection of property taxes” and “conservative spending by management in other areas.”

Granite Quarry’s 98.69 percent collection rate in ad valorem property taxes was above the statewide average, Brewer said.

In other business Monday, after a closed session, aldermen approved accepting a gift of land off Faith Road from Clifton Thomas Byrd of Blythewood, South Carolina.

The parcel takes in about 9 acres at 2790 Faith Road (on the western side of the Faith Road-Byrd Road intersection).

The agreement laid out the following conditions:

• The deed will be transferred before Dec. 31.

• Any member of the Byrd family may enter the property within 90 days following the conveyance for purposes of removing any items of personal property belonging to them.

• A house on the property is currently rented. The town agrees to allow the tenant up to six months to continue renting the house.

• The town agrees that during Byrd’s lifetime no additional residential structures or roads will be built on the property, except for walking paths or a gated emergency access road.

• Within nine months of the conveyance, the town will erect a plaque on the property recognizing the donation of the property by the Byrd family.

• The town bears the cost of preparing and conveying the deed.

Elaine Spalding, president of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, was another guest Monday night. She reviewed some of the benefits the town derives from being a Chamber member.

The chamber helped in conducting a candidates’ forum during the 2017 municipal election. It sponsored a ribbon-cutting recently for new businesses at Granite Crossing.

The chamber is also host for the quarterly mayors’ roundtable, which Granite Quarry attends. Overall, through its government affairs committee, the chamber can be an advocate for the town on business, transportation, education and economic development issues, Spalding noted.

In another matter Monday, aldermen approved $10,000 toward paying the town’s match for a recently approved $142,334 grant, which will provide the Fire Department with 18 air packs and two rescue packs.

The grant will come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In addition to the town’s match, Interim Fire Chief Jason Hord asked aldermen to consider money for providing telemetry on each air pack, so firefighters’s location can be tracked in dangerous situations.

He also sought individual oxygen masks for each firefighter.

Meanwhile, aldermen delayed action on Hord’s additional requests for 10 pagers, four laptops and two desktop computers for the department. Hord will return in December with more specific dollar figures on all of his requests.

He said the new air packs are about three months from arriving.

Shelly Shockley, finance officer and events coordinator, said a large crowd attended the town’s annual Family Fun Fest Oct. 27. Police and fire vehicles were on display. An obstacle course was set up using the fire truck and turnout gear.

“The town served free popcorn, hot chocolate and treat bags, having to purchase more hot chocolate mix and candy an hour into the event,” Shockley said. “We had brought enough for 150 children, anticipating a crowd like last year, but we were happy to have so many more.”

Granite Quarry’s “Santa in the Park” and tree-lighting ceremony at Granite Lake Park will take place from 3-5 p.m. Dec. 1. There will be hot chocolate and music. The tree-lighting ceremony will take place roughly at 5 p.m. as the sun goes down.

The town’s Christmas lights will be installed Nv. 20, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.