11/08/05 — Princeton approves plan for new town hall

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Princeton approves plan for new town hall

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on November 8, 2005 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- The Princeton town board approved an interim financing plan for a new town hall and annexed four small properties Monday night without opposition.

Construction costs for the new 4,000-square-foot town hall had skyrocketed from the original $750,000 to $1,030,000, town officials said.

The increase was attributed to the rising cost of materials, especially steel, since Hurricane Katrina, said Assistant Town Clerk Kay Earp.

The town will pay for the building with 40 percent from a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and 60 percent from a low-interest loan.

The board passed a resolution to apply to the Local Government Commission for interim financing. The original application called for a total of $950,000, including a $650,000 loan. The new application increased the loan to $730,000. Mayor Don Rains said the Agriculture Department would approve the change.

The board received bids from four banks and accepted the lowest bid, 3.35 percent interest from First Citizens.

The current Town Hall on South Pine Street has a roof that leaks during rainstorms and inadequate space for town employees and police.


The four properties that were annexed cover about an acre and will generate about $700 in tax revenues, Town Clerk Marla Ashworth said in October. The properties are either contiguous to or surrounded by the town limits.

The properties are owned by Oscar Jones at 601 W. First St., Joyce Langston at 501 N. Pearl St., Robert Shuman at 104 Azalea Drive and the Princeton Chapel Church of Christ at 605 W. First St. The church would not pay property taxes.

Mayor Rains said the town board had followed the statutory requirements to annex the properties by holding a public hearing and then an informational meeting with the landowners. He noted that the annexation would not be effective until the next tax cycle.

Public hearings

The town board held public hearings on zoning changes and a proposed flood plain ordinance.

The zoning changes were recommended by the Planning Board. Only one resident, Bryant Wellons, spoke on the changes, and he asked that his property not be changed.

Chairman Marshall Price announced that the Planning Board had proposed that property owned by Dennis Blackman, Terri Sutton, James "Red" Smith and Ken Starling be changed. The board also suggested that property owned by Wellons, Guy Williamson, Edward Little, Tim Peacock and Scotty Smith not be changed.

The board will vote on the changes Dec. 5.

The board quickly adopted a town flood-plain ordinance that mirrored Johnston County's ordinance. Mayor Rains said Princeton had few areas in the flood zone. The ordinance explains what can and cannot be built in the flood plain.

In other business, the board:

*Approved a final plat for Cloverdale Farms, a 41-lot subdivision off Holt's Pond Road, with conditions.

*Authorized Commissioner Eddie Haddock to pick radios from three bidders for the town maintenance shop.

*Heard a report from Commissioner David Starling on a town web site.