04/16/14 — Fremont officials: Town finances improved

View Archive

Fremont officials: Town finances improved

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on April 16, 2014 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- The town of Fremont's General Fund showed a positive cash balance in March marking the first time since the beginning of the fiscal year in July 2013 that the fund has had money.

Fremont Interim Town Administrator Barbara Aycock credits the growth to conservative spending and keeping a tight hold on the town budget.

"Keeping expenditures down is the main thing," she said. "We aren't spending unless we absolutely need it."

At the beginning of the fiscal year in July the fund was at a $130,000 deficit after the town was forced to transfer restricted Powell Bill funds back to the proper account.

The funds were not used for operations but were used to prop the fund up to give it a positive balance, Ms. Aycock said.

The move was a violation of state Local Government Commission rules.

Powell Bill funds are provided by the state each year to municipalities to maintain non-Department of Transportation streets.

The funds are restricted for road use and cannot be placed in the non-restricted funds like the General Fund.

The debt in the fund has been steadily shrinking since November when Ms. Aycock took over for former town administrator Kerry McDuffie.

McDuffie took a position as town manager of Southport.

Mayor Darron Flowers credits Ms. Aycock with the turn-around the town finances have taken in the last six months.

"I feel better than I've felt in a long time," Flowers said. "We're being proactive rather than sitting down and letting things happen."

The Utility Fund also swung from a deficit in February to a positive for March after the city of Goldsboro approved a $250,000 expenditure to repay the town for overcharging it for sewer service.

The overages stemmed from a problem with Goldsboro's monitoring system that caused higher readings of sewage than the city was actually sending for treatment.

The $250,000 was to make up for three years of overages on the city's part.

The Utility Fund was at a deficit of $30,000 before the payment from Goldsboro but has since fallen to $198,000 after March due to an $18,000 difference in the town's sewer collections and expenditures to Goldsboro.

The town operates a wastewater spray field but heavy rains have hurt the amount of days the town can spray leading to more sewage being sent to Goldsboro.

Rainwater in the system has also led to higher processing costs.

The town is looking at ways to reduce the deficit between collections and payments to Goldsboro.