FAIRMONT — The town’s financial situation is improving, an auditor told the Fairmont Board of Commissioners at its Tuesday meeting.
John Masters, of the S. Preston Douglas and Associates firm, said the town’s General Fund balance has increased slightly, but the big improvement was in the unassigned portion of the General Fund. He said the unassigned portion was at 12 percent during the 2011-2012 year, well above the 8 percent threshold required by the state.
“In the General Fund balance… there was a slight increase, and the unassigned portion of the general fund balance actually went up noticeably,” Masters said.
Masters said that the property tax collection rate for the town increased from 87.58 to 88.21 percent, but is still below the statewide average of 97 percent.
Mayor Charles Kemp said that the Local Government Commission only offered criticisms and didn’t recognize any of the improvements the town has made.
“In the world of education, with which I had 40 years of experience, I found that even in the most negative of student performance circumstances there could be found some form of praise or compliment,” Kemp said. “Such is obviously not the case with governmental financial overview. Try as we might against deep and formidable fiscal hurdles, strangers to Fairmont who sit and judge from afar find fault in our efforts with little praise for the Herculean efforts made by a board of concerned elected officials and a very competent professional staff.”
The board, with Kemp casting a tie-breaking vote, decided to remove a requirement that golf carts that use city streets have a sign on the back that says “slow moving.” Commissioners Wade Sealey, Wayland Lennon, and Carol Leak-McKenzie voted in favor of removing the requirement and Commissioners Charles Townsend, J.J. McCree, and Kim Ammons voting against.
Lennon said that he had received a lot of complaints from people with golf carts who aid they don’t easily fit on the carts without blocking access to the rear of the vehicle. Commissioner J.J. McCree said that he was concerned with the visibility of the carts on overcast or foggy days.
“If it’s gloomy or cloudy and you’re not burning lights then the reflectors are just there and not doing anything,” he said.
In other action, the board:
— Decided to continue to pursue grant money to repair its Gertrude Street Well instead of increasing water rates.
— Rejected an offer of $1,500 from the Body of God by Faith Church to purchase a town-owned building at 603 S. Main St.