At the suggestion of the N.C. Local Government Commission, the Norlina Town Board may consider whether to move from its current system of government to that utilizing a town manager who would oversee services.

Commissioner Lou Stultz made the report during a board work session on Monday to hammer out the 2019-20 proposed budget. 

Typically, the board adopts its budget for the upcoming fiscal year during its regular meeting on the first Monday in June. However, the budget process was delayed this year after representatives from the N.C. Local Government Commission met with Norlina representatives in the spring to discuss why the town’s audit information for the 2018 fiscal year had not been provided. At the time, Norlina officials blamed an accounting firm for not submitting the information to the state on time.

During Monday’s meeting, Stultz told the town board that the LGC recommended that Norlina add a full-time position in the form of a town manager who would take on some of the management duties currently handled by the town clerk/finance officer and public works director. She said that the board should not wait too long to consider the recommendation because Public Works Director Blaine Reese, who also serves as Norlina’s zoning administrator, is considering retirement.

Commissioner Wayne Aycock said that he spoke with officials from the town of Warrenton, where the town administrator oversees town services and reports directly to the town board. Aycock said that Warrenton does not have a town clerk, as Norlina has had for many years.

Stultz indicated that utilizing a town manager would not eliminate the positions of town clerk and public works director, but would enable them to focus on their primary duties.

Board members requested time to consider the LGC’s suggestion, saying that they did not want to rush into a decision.

Stultz said after the meeting that, with the assistance of the LGC, the town has resolved issues related to the audit.


Other budget matters

The board reached consensus on a proposed budget for fiscal year 2019-20 that would hold Norlina’s tax rate at 64 cents per $100 valuation with no increases in water and sewer rates or garbage fees.

The proposed budget includes a $1,000 raise for all salaried employees.

The town board has scheduled a budget public hearing at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 24, at Norlina Town Hall, 139 Hyco St. The board is scheduled to take action on the proposed budget following the hearing.

Copies of the proposed budget are available at town hall. The new fiscal year will begin on July 1.