12/18/13 — Fremont Board OKs plan

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Fremont Board OKs plan

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on December 18, 2013 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont Town Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday night to send its grant application to the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center for approval.

The application will go before the Rural Center for approval by Dec. 31 before the $100,000 is made available to the town.

The North Carolina Small Town Economic Prosperity program allocated $25,000 to the town earlier this year to help it plan how best to use the $100,000 to boost economic growth in the town.

A STEP team made up of concerned town residents met regularly over the past year to plan how to use the funds.

A portion of the team was on hand at the meeting Tuesday to see the plan passed and to answer questions if needed.

STEP Team Member Keith Spivey presented the plan to the board.

"We need help," Spivey said. "This plan is not designed to solve all of our problems, but it is a step in the right direction. We can't say it's somebody else's problem. It's everybody's problem."

Spivey has lived in Fremont for more than 10 years, but only recently left the Air Force and became a full-time resident of Fremont.

"Fremont has a lot of potential," he said. "It's a nice place to be. We know that, and we need to show others that, too."

Spivey said that the plan was a lot for the board to digest but that it was built by the town as a team.

"The plan is a good one," he said. "It will help Fremont go in the right direction."

The plan identifies three areas of growth for Fremont: attracting new business, more residents and advertising Fremont more effectively.

Chilton Rogers, a representative of the Rural Center, briefly explained to the town that the money would be available in early January for use.

The funds will be reimbursed to the city as they are spent.

The funding comes through the Rural Center's NC STEP program but will be overseen by the state Department of Commerce. In fact, it is one of the last NC STEP projects before the program is discontinued.

The Town Board also passed a budget amendment shuffling funds between town line items to better serve each department's needs.

The amendments included increased advertising for the town, funds for operations for the Fremont Police Department and increased workers comp insurance, among other changes.

The city budget is balanced to a penny, leaving minimal room for changes without equally reducing another line item in the budget.