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With Princeville a pauper, state takes over town's books

Posted July 30, 2012

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— A unit of the State Treasurer's Office took control Monday of the books for financially strapped Princeville, with the goal of getting the Edgecombe County town's budget back in order.

The move by the state Local Government Commission was only the fifth time since the 1930s that the state has assumed control of a North Carolina town's finances. Princeville has the dubious distinction of being on the list twice – the commission also had to straighten out its books in 1997.

"We don't believe the town really has the adequate staff and capacity to address all the serious issues they are facing," said Vance Holloman, secretary of the Local Government Commission.

The state says Princeville's expenses exceed its $1 million annual budget in every functional area by a combined 9 percent and that the town is in danger of defaulting on a $310,700 loan to replace its water meters.

Earlier this month, Princeville shut off water to nearly a quarter of the town in an effort to collect money owed by those customers.

"It appears to me that the financial condition has significantly deteriorated," state Revenue Secretary David Hoyle said.

Princeville Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates Mayor can't convince state to give Princeville time to fix finances

Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates pleaded with the state to give Princeville another 30 days to get its financial act together.

"We have worked diligently on the budget," Everette-Oates said. "We don't need them to take the books. We need for them to come and assist us so we can get our things back in order."

Town commissioners, however, backed the Local Government Commission's move.

"The town is in a critical stage now. We really need your help," Town Commissioner Gwendolyn Knight said.

"The only way you're going to really help us is to impound our financial situation there," Town Commissioner Ann Howell said.

Everette-Oates has asked the town attorney to look into appealing the state's decision, but the Local Government Commission already has ordered town staffers to stop writing checks.

31 Comments

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  • westernwake1 Jul 31, 5:42 p.m.

    Princeville has demonstrated over and over again that the town is unable to manage its money and operations. It is time the state removes the charter of the town and either have the county provide oversight as an unincorporated area, or allow a neighboring town to annex the town & provide proper management.

    This continual cycle of failure and bailout is unacceptable.

  • kermit60 Jul 31, 3:25 p.m.

    They managed just fine until someone elses money ran out.

  • bjraper Jul 31, 2:48 p.m.

    This incorporated little town has been on the North Carolina tax payer's dime long enough. It time their water is shut off. Unincorporate this town and let it be annexed by Tarboro. Maybe the people that manage Tarboro's business can do a better job by holding the people on that side of the river accountable for the services they receive. Other little towns in earster NC are not having this problem. That means the money from the state that has gone into this town has been mismanaged. Maybe an investigation should be conducted to see who is responsible for these mismanaged funds and held accountable.

  • weasel2 Jul 31, 2:33 p.m.

    Time to check the books with a fine tooth comb to see if they have been cooked.

  • Sherlock Jul 31, 12:47 p.m.

    Princeville motto " Will still have money, we have checks left"

  • lsdhome Jul 31, 12:06 p.m.

    It isn't all that difficult for even a small town to hire honest, competent staff (or contractors) to run its daily operations. BUT... elected officials must allow the professionals to follow standard business practices, e.g., refusing service for failure to pay. Some elected officials just can't do this.

  • br549znc Jul 31, 12:02 p.m.

    That is the best thing the state could do. Take the power away from people who don't know what they're doing.

  • not my real name Jul 31, 11:44 a.m.

    What do you mean "we are out of money"???? I still have checks left!!~

  • censorbait Jul 31, 11:01 a.m.

    You add Princeville voters to Tarboro and you will get the same result for Tarboro. It will give resulting elected incompetents a shot at a bigger pie.

  • ims1924 Jul 31, 10:54 a.m.

    This story reminds me of Soul City many years ago. Millions of tax dollars went to try and keep it alive. It failed because of fraud and mismanagement of our tax dollars.

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