RED SPRINGS – Commissioners here have expanded the city’s sewer line rehabilitation project to more streets and were briefed on the city’s cleanliness audit at a regular meeting on Tuesday.
The sewer rehabilitation project is funded by a grant of $ 1,988,741 from the Water Infrastructure Division of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
“The project was put out to tender and a construction grant was awarded for $ 1,158,837.50,” General Manager David Ashburn said in a public hearing at the meeting. .
Ashburn said there were still funds to rebuild or replace sewer lines on Malpass Avenue and Saratoga, Taylor, Oak, Grantham, Haywood, Jackson, McMillan and Church streets.
No member of the public came out for or against the action during the public hearing. The commissioners approved the addition of these streets to the scope of the project.
Resolution regarding Red Springs Rescue Squad
In other areas, the commissioners also approved a resolution binding the contract between the city and the Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation to secure the building and property of the Red Springs Rescue Squad. The board previously voted to go ahead with the loan, but a formal resolution was approved on Tuesday.
As part of the resolution to secure the Rescue Squad building and grounds on West Fourth Avenue, the city must pay $ 114,734 with a down payment of $ 15,000. The loan amount of $ 99,734 includes $ 5,592 in closing costs and an interest rate of 1% over an eight-year period. The city’s annual payment is just under $ 13,000, Ashburn said.
City audit results
The Commissioners also heard good news regarding the city’s audit for fiscal year 2020-21 from Lee Grissom, S. Preston Douglas and Associates.
“The city is on the right track internally,” Grissom said. “… The staff did a good job and I see continuous improvement.
The city’s general fund increased by $ 284,000 during the fiscal year ending June 30. The city also has the highest fund balance in the past six years. It also has twice the minimum local government commission needed in cash reserves.
The city’s cash flow was reported at $ 3.3 million, which is also its highest level in six years.
“The only area for improvement would be the water fund,” Grissom said.
Although the water fund has benefited from federal and state funding, with around $ 3.4 million in grants, operating revenues are set to increase, Grissom said.
The debt service ratio for the water / sewer fund was also of concern.
He encouraged the city to consider reallocating spending or increasing fares.
“This is not new to the city of Red Springs,” he said. “It’s sort of the story of these last exercises. “
Red Springs has about $ 20 million in fixed assets and $ 10 million in long-term debt. Part of the debt is related to the water treatment plant project and the depreciation of assets.
Forty percent of the debt is related to employee retirement, retirement and sick leave, Grissom said.
Ashburn said the water treatment plant is expected to be online next week and the city will see cost savings and increased efficiency using the new facility. He hopes that with the city’s work to improve the water supply system, the leaks can be avoided.
The city collects just under 95% of property taxes, the highest in the past six years. The city’s collection rate was 92% to 94% from 2016 to 2020. The state average is 98% to 99%, Grissom said.
“This is something that the municipalities in Robeson County are struggling with,” Grissom said.
The city also turned its audit to LGC in September, ahead of its October deadline, Ashburn said.
“Thank you to the finance department for all the hard work you do to move us in the right direction,” said Pro Mayor Tem Chris Edmonds.
Mayor Edward Henderson said the audit was one of the best the city has seen. He also said it was the result of “hard work, sacrifice and professionals doing professional work.”
City offices will be closed for Veterans Day on November 13; Thanksgiving on November 25 and 26; Christmas on December 24, 27 and 28; and New Year’s Eve on December 31.
A Christmas tree lighting event will take place on December 4 at 6 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr.
The Red Springs Christmas celebration on Main Street will take place on December 11 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the Christmas Parade will be held at 3 p.m. To participate in the parade, call the Red Springs Chamber of Commerce at 910-843-5441.
The Red Springs and Northern Railroad Foundation is looking for volunteers for a Christmas Train Event. Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Tim Parnell at 910-237-1836.
Ashburn said the city was decorating the halls at the start of the year due to the amount of decorations they plan to put in place. Residents and motorists can expect to see Christmas decorations soon, he said.
“My hope is that we can continue to move this city and move it forward,” said Henderson.