Local News

Princeville Coming Back Into Its Own

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Princeville is back on its feet after the state took control of its finances.
PRINCEVILLE — Imagine a town being in such afinancial mess that the state had to take it over. It happened inPrinceville a few months ago, but now, Princeville has become the firstNorth Carolina town to have its reins handed back.

Town leaders have a plan to keep the state away in the future. For thefirst time in nearly a year, the town's leaders are the ones in chargeof their town. Mayor Delia Perkins says that Princeville is back ontrack.

Last February, the state took over Princeville after former townleaders misspent money and botched local tax collections. Now, aftermonths of state-ordered reforms, financial authority is back in the handsof local leaders.

First, state officials will restore Princeville's authority to writechecks and take care of its accounts again. The town will also be able toset its own tax rate, though it has agreed not to make any changes rightnow without state approval.

Finally, local leaders will be able to handle day-to-day town operations again, and make small budget decisions without calling thestate to get permission.

During the worst of the crisis, an internal squabble forced onePrinceville police officer to guard the town. Business owner Paul Shirleysays the citizens suffered.

Thanks to reforms, three law enforcement officers are in place now, andthe town is collecting taxes more efficiently than it has in nearly 20years.

Local leaders agree the state plan worked, but they're still ready to takecontrol while avoiding the mistakes of the past.

Princeville has also improved its resources while under stateleadership. Since last February, city leaders have erased a massivedeficit and increased their budget to more than 20 times its former level.

Reporter/Photographer:Brian Bowman

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