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State commission to present financial report for Spring Lake aldermen

Contribution to Council of Governments also on board’s agenda


SPRING LAKE — The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen will hear a financial report presented by the N.C. Local Government Commission at its work session Monday night.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the Grady Howard Conference Toom of the municipal complex.

David Erwin, the town’s finance officer and accounting and financial management adviser for the N.C. Department of the State Treasurer, is expected to give the financial summary for the period ending Feb. 28.

The board last received a midyear budget report in January from Erwin that noted higher expenditures attributed to paying contracted financial staff.

Board members questioned invoices paid for the auditing firm Greg Isley CPA, including mileage, meals and hotel expenses and said the town needs to hire a permanent financial staff.

Also on the agenda for Monday is a discussion of the per-capita contribution to the Mid-Carolina Council of Governments and the return on that investment.

The town paid $2,871 for fiscal year 2022-23, which equals 24 cents for every resident, according to the 2010 census population of 11,964.

Alderwoman Sona Cooper said she added a discussion of those fees to the agenda because the board needs to make sure it is monitoring expenditures across the board.

On Friday, Cooper said she was not sure if the amount paid was correct and she was considering removing the item from the agenda until there was more information.

The Mid-Carolina Regional Council offers services to municipalities in Cumberland, Harnett and Sampson counties. Assistance includes management consultation; short-term staffing; budgeting and capital planning assistance; human resources; grants administration; strategic planning and retreats; and training for elected and appointed officials, according to its website.

The council also offers services for planning, zoning administration, subdivision review, project management and general technical assistance.

Samantha Wullenwaber, deputy executive director of the council, was the interim town manager of Spring Lake from March to December 2021. She also was the budget officer, finance officer and a secondary check-signer for the town.

She began working with the Mid-Carolina Regional Council on Dec. 3 and continued serving as interim town manager through an interlocal agreement among the council, the town and the Local Government Commission.

On March 3, Mid-Carolina submitted a notice of termination of town manager services effective April 3. On March 17, town officials chose to terminate the services early without a public vote.

Wullenwaber worked with the Local Government Commission as it took financial control of Spring Lake in October 2021 and was lauded in an audit report released the same day she was terminated as providing a more detailed financial report than what the town ultimately submitted.

The board is also expected to go into closed session on matters of attorney-client privilege and personnel.

The board also is in the process of interviewing candidates to be a permanent town manager. Fire Chief Jason Williams has served as interim town manager for several months. Williams will return to his job as fire chief after when a town manager is hired.

Interviews for the job are  ongoing.

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Spring Lake, Board of Aldermen, finances