06/05/13 — Mount Olive town board responds to residents' concerns, passes budget

View Archive

Mount Olive town board responds to residents' concerns, passes budget

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on June 5, 2013 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A short agenda for the Mount Olive town board meeting quickly turned into something more when two Franklin Street residents, Sheila Oates and Robert King, complained Monday about the state of the south side of town.

Those complaints, however, forced Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. to take action as he created a committee headed by District 1 Commissioner Kenny Talton to address those concerns.

Both Mrs. Oates and King took shots at the commissioners, the police force and the town manager in two speeches that each lasted more than 15 minutes. Those giving public comment are usually only given three minutes.

"It disturbs me that my kids can't go outside and play like kids without something breaking out, fighting or whatever. You never know if someone is going to start shooting or whatever. We are very disappointed in the officers patrolling the streets like they should," Mrs. Oates said.

And concerning the commissioners, she said, "You don't come out to your district. You don't come out to your community. The only time I see you is the first Monday of the month. When it's time to vote, we vote for you because you promise us that there are things you'll do to the community to make Mount Olive better."

King had a few complaints of his own.

"Most of you have not been in your district. You don't even know what's happening. I never see you. I ride around. I ride around probably more than the police do. I ride day and night. I've seen a lot of things and see a lot of things. If the commissioners were out there doing their jobs, you would see the same things," he said. "We have to do something different. We have to get somebody in who understands what's going on in Mount Olive."

After almost 20 minutes, McDonald cut him off and addressed King about a survey the town sent out to residents that asked for suggestions on how the town could do its job better -- only about third of which were returned.

"I was disappointed," McDonald said. "When the town board hired someone to come in here and visit every section, knock on doors, ask people questions about the town, and we get the response that we got, which was nothing, then we feel like that we wasted our money. And you'll have to agree that that money was wasted because nobody -- not even you sent one back."

McDonald also asked Town Attorney Carroll Turner, Commissioner George Fulghum and Police Chief Brian Rhodes to also serve on the committee.

A date wasn't set as of press time, but Talton said a meeting may be held as early as next week.

In related news:

* The town board approved their budget for fiscal year 2013-14. This year's budget, coming in at $2,881,818, establishes a .59 percent tax rate and gives Mount Olive some extra breathing room by putting $270,000 back into the town's general fund.

* In regard to the upcoming Carver Alumni Reunion Weekend, the town proclaimed July 4th weekend as Carver High school Alumni Reunion Week.

* The town approved the audit contract for fiscal year 2012-13 with Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams & Co. -- a cost of $13,500.

* Not on the agenda, with prompting from resident Pat Warren, the town approved a resolution against the proposed "shuttering" of the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace.