To the editor,
Thank you for getting my prior letter out before the town meeting in Pilot last night.
I went to both the workshop and the meeting yesterday as a volunteer at Charles Stone Library. I want to thank everyone who came last night to speak on behalf of the library and everyone who responded to the Facebook posts going out asking for help. Sharing the posts and engaging with people about the posts got the word out in the community and I feel like it helped with funding the library and retaining the stock money for repairs and maintenance in the library. It is much needed and was the right thing to do.
I live outside of city limits, so have not really paid attention to the struggles in this town and what the Town Board are up against. I got involved when they decided to cut the library. I have seen Facebook posts, looked up documents and started asking questions. Most of my time is spent around Pilot Mtn and I spend as much as I can locally.
I understand what the board is up against trying to keep the town afloat. They are also trying to keep the costs to the citizens down. Unfortunately, you can’t always do both. There have been many references about certain commissioners and the town manager. People are irritated that they are trying to do their job. It reminds me of the saying, “Don’t kill the messenger!”
They were hired to help the town. They have education, training and experience that guide them in making decisions to save the town. It always comes down to money. Expenses can’t outweigh what you are bringing in. Sewer, water, and trash seem to be some of the main issues. They are not free because you live in town. You have to pay for these if you use them. My charge outside of town is $17 per month for trash pickup. I pay it. Your cost would be around $10 a month because the town is able to get a discount for many users. It is not being covered. It is being supplemented by a town budget that can’t afford it. Water/sewer infrastructure is breaking down. Depreciation was not worked into past budgets and the state is calling them on it. Once again, if you are anywhere using water/sewer – you have to pay the costs. Outside of town, many of us use septic/wells. We have expenses to maintain those and keep them clean. We put $1000 into repairs on septic system just recently. Our water is not as purified/clean as town water. More expense for filtering system and expensive filters.
I have read letters received in past few years from NC Dept of State Treasurer-State and local gov Finance Division. The town is being reprimanded for multiple areas of concern. They need to maintain adequate funds for emergencies, need to build general fund reserves, did not budget enough for loan debt, financial weaknesses in water and sewer fund, FINANCIAL OFFICERS are legally liable for sums being disbursed but not budgeted, not maintaining the BONDS required on its employees. These are just some highlights. This is why there is a need for a Financial Officer and it can’t be someone off the street that is willing to sign their name. They need education, training, experience and that is not cheap.
These are things that may cause the state to take over if not addressed. If the state takes over, I can bet that you will be paying all of these expenses w/o any input locally. The board is trying to get up to par, but people have to be willing to pay their part. Pay your share. I understand that some people are on limited incomes. There are ways to try and help them out there. The whole town can’t pay their share because people don’t want to pay more. None of us want to pay more, but everything continues to go up. Possibly, the town could come up with a waiver for people under a certain income. Not sure if it is doable, but that might help the ones who will truly be strapped for cash.
Just adding the additional $3 for per month (trash) to property owners can make up the shortfall for the police cuts and help with the finance officer.
Hopefully, some citizens will agree and see if the board will add that on before the final vote next week.
With all of that said, PLEASE DON’T SLAM BOARD MEMBERS FOR TRYING TO DO THEIR JOB AND HELP THIS TOWN! Negative comments about them will not help the situation. Remember, they only receive $75 a month for all the stress, hassle and headaches.
Also to clarify something about the Town Clerk. She was unjustly accused of dumping part of her job last night by resigning from Financial Officer. That was NOT her job. It was assigned to her when they did not have one. She is doing her job. She could be financially liable for something that she was not trained to do or comfortable with doing. She was absolutely right to say she did not want that responsibility.
TOWN BOARD – Good Job! Keep working on solutions and working together.