03/08/05 — Princeton closer to having new town hall

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Princeton closer to having new town hall

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on March 8, 2005 1:52 PM

PRINCETON -- Princeton moved a step closer Monday night to building a new town hall.

An official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture told town officials Monday that the town is in line to get a $300,000 grant from disaster funds and a $400,000 loan to help with construction.

D. Michael Harris, an area specialist with the USDA's Rural Development Administration, told members of the town board that Princeton ranked in the highest percentage of need in the state.

"You should be very proud of what you propose to do," Harris said during the board's monthly meeting. "This is a very progressive move, one that you and the town will be proud of."

Harris said he will present the plan to the state office in order to get the money. His announcement was applauded by several residents in the audience.

He said the town rated so highly because of the leaky roof in the current building.

The new building would be built on a 150-foot-by-150-foot lot across South Pine Street from the existing Town Hall. But it will face First Street. The new structure will include a meeting room, offices for the mayor, town clerk, police chief and police officers, storage space and restrooms.

During his opening remarks, Mayor Don Rains thanked Town Clerk Marla Ashworth and C.T. Clayton Sr., the town's contracted engineer from New Bern, for finding ways to obtain the necessary money for the project.

"When they found it," Rains said, "they jumped. ... I guess the leaky roof made them jump."

The mayor said he had looked at other town halls, and he called Princeton's present building "not adequate" to show to prospective business owners and residents.

The town board voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to support the grant request.

After a closed session, the board also voted to write a letter to offer to buy the land at tax value from the owners, Thelma Holt and Bob Gurley. The vote was 3-1, with Commissioner Walter Martin Jr. dissenting.

Annexation approved

The town board approved unanimously an annexation request from A. Dale Jones, who is developing the Eagles Crest subdivision, north of Princeton. The request included the first 15 lots off Old Rock Quarry Road. It became effective Dec. 31, 2004, so that the property will be included in the 2004 tax roles. No one spoke during a public hearing on the request.

The board approved a sewer extension with 10-inch pipe to the Cloverdale subdivision. "This is the most economical way to do it," said Gurley, a landowner. Clayton, the town engineer, said the state would prefer an eight-inch pipe that would require a new pumping station.

The board accepted, on Clayton's recommendation, a low bid of $37,359 from Haddock Enterprises for water and sewer lines and storm drainage at Ray M. Floors Community Park. The three other bids were for more than $40,000.

Other business

In other business, the board:

*Approved a $100 donation for Project Graduation, a dance on graduation night at Princeton High School, after a presentation from Kim Haddock.

*Agreed to maintain a proposed veterans memorial near the railroad, after a presentation from Delton Toler.

*Received an amended audit for 2003-04 from accountant Keith Peedin of Smithfield.

*Scheduled a budget workshop at 8:30 p.m. April 9 at the Community Building.