Williamston – “The town received an unmodified opinion. A clean opinion - the best opinion we could give.”

This was James Overton’s description of the town’s draft audit for the year ending June 30, 2020.

He is on the staff of Carr, Riggs and Ingram Certified Public Accountants and Advisors and served as lead auditor on the recent town of Williamston audit.

“This simply means we have not found any material errors in your financial statements,” Overton explained.

He presented an overview of the audit, which is still being finalized. He did not foresee any significant changes in the final stage of completing the audit report.

Overton reviewed highlights of the report, which included a look at the town’s available fund balance.

As of June 30, 2020 that balance was listed as $4,511,126. According to the audit report, this equates to 67 percent of the town’s total expenditures or eight months of expenses.

“If you did not collect any money, you have enough to pay the bills for eight months,” he said.

Overton called the amount “pretty strong” for a town the size of Williamston even though it was down slightly from last year’s 76 percent or nine months reserve.

Also noted was a decrease in the town’s tax collection rate which was linked to one large retailer – Wal-Mart – paying their taxes too late to credit to the fiscal year.

This dropped the tax collection rate to 90 percent from 93 percent the year prior. Overton explained the state average is 98 percent.

The draft audit was unanimously approved as presented by town commissioners.

Community Concerns

Commissioner Jerry Knox brought forth residential concerns regarding speeding on Woodlawn Drive, proposing a reduction in the speed limit to 25 miles per hour.

Williamston Police Chief Travis Cowan joined the conversation, adding he had no problem with a proposed reduction in the speed limit and hopes it would add a “valuable tool” for officers in the area.

Cowan asked commissioners to contact him regarding any other areas of concern so one collective ordinance change could be proposed.

New Employees, Retirements

Cowan introduced three new police officers that have joined the Williamston Police Department. He proudly announced all three are from Martin County.

In the near future, Evan Phifer, Daniel Bullock and Brandon Raynor will all be sworn in and begin their service with the department.

Public Works Director Kerry Spivey announced the retirement of longtime administrative support specialist Debbie Savage. After 22 years, Savage will turn the position over to Williamston native Helen Tucker, who was also introduced at the meeting.

In Other Business

Ordinance 2020-16 Amending the Zoning Ordinance of the Town of Williamston to Allow the Conversion of Residential Structures in Order to Provide Additional Living Units as Special Use in R-8, R-15 and R-20 Residential Districts was passed.

The amendments address the conversion of single-family homes into multi-resident living units.

Sarah Hodges Stalls can be reached via email at shstalls@ncweeklies.com