07/07/04 — Princeton board has fleeting quorum

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Princeton board has fleeting quorum

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on July 7, 2004 2:10 PM

PRINCETON -- This time the Princeton town board had a quorum -- sort of -- to pass its new budget.

The board could not act on its proposed budget last week, because two of the four town commissioners, Eddie Haddock and Walter Martin Jr., were absent. Haddock was on vacation, and Martin, a Smithfield police detective, could not be reached by phone.

But Monday night Haddock and Martin arrived, albeit a few minutes late.

However, before the budget could be discussed, both left the meeting because of a traffic accident on U.S. 70 at Pearl Street.

Haddock serves as president of the Princeton Rescue Squad, and Martin's wife was involved in the wreck. She was not injured, officials said.

Mayor Don Rains explained that because both had been at the meeting, their votes could be counted as affirmative.

Commissioner Larry Withrow's motion to accept the budget that called for the same 52-cent property tax rate was passed unanimously.

Rains had opened the meeting with his usual monthly comments, but this time they were more pointed. He expressed dismay at the lack of a quorum June 28. He noted that the board had adopted a schedule.

"For me there is a commitment for service," the mayor said. "All of us volunteer for other town functions. We have lives and families, and we need to get away. But when the press covers our meetings, (we're) not setting a good example."

Then he said Princeton had made progress in the last three years and would continue to do so.