05/03/05 — Dilapidated buildings are on Prnceton's list

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Dilapidated buildings are on Prnceton's list

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 3, 2005 1:45 PM

PRINCETON -- The town of Princeton is on its way to sprucing up its image.

Police Chief Eddie Lewis told members of the town board Tuesday night that some dilapidated buildings in the town have been repaired or removed.

Lewis said that most of the property owners who were asked to clean up or repair their buildings have complied with the town's order. About eight substandard homes, mobile homes and storage buildings were condemned, and three or four have been repaired or torn down.

Lewis said property owners who have not made the required repairs might receive citations.

Mayor Don Rains said Princeton is also being noticed for other achievements. He said he attended a news conference along with other Johnston County mayors and county leaders and said he was told they were hearing good things about Princeton. The mayor said the town was recognized in part because Sen. Elizabeth Dole recently announced two federal grants to help pay for a new town hall and repairs to the town's sewer system.

"We are committed to make Princeton a better place to live and to start a business," Rains said. "... I think we're doing our part to make that happen."

Town Clerk Marla Ashworth discussed the 2005-06 budget with the board, noting that each penny on the tax rate creates about $4,133 for the town's general fund. The current tax rate is 52 cents per $100 valuation of property.

Mrs. Ashworth echoed Rains' comments about successes in the water and sewer fund. The fund had a balance of $8,575 through April 30.

Board members discussed a possible 2.5 percent cost-of-living raise and merit increases for the town's eight employees but took no action. The board also considered raises of $25 per month for the mayor and commissioners.

Rains suggested the town create a line item in the budget for a capital reserve fund. Mrs. Ashworth said it could come from a percentage of total revenue. Commissioner Walter Martin, who balked at the idea, also noted that the town could face rising fuel and electricity costs.

The board will continue the budget discussion, including personnel evaluations, on Saturday.

The mayor also announced the town has a small surplus in its water and sewer fund for the first nine months of the 2004-05 fiscal year.

"In years past, we didn't have one," the mayor said. "We're doing a great job in that area."

In other business, the board:

*Approved a capital project ordinance for the Ray M. Floors Community Park.

*Adopted a capital project ordinance for the proposed town hall.

*Accepted an agreement with Utility Service Communications Co. to market the town water tower.

*Promoted billing clerk Kay Earp to assistant town clerk.

*Asked the state Transportation Department to lower the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph on Edwards Road, between Old Cornwallis Road and U.S. 70.