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Wednesday, 09 December 2020 18:22

Hamlet Council reviews 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly'

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Hamlet Council reviews 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly' C.K. Craven

HAMLET— The final Hamlet City Council session of 2020 set the stage Tuesday for what could prove to be an upcoming year like no other.


With City Manager Matthew Christian absent due to self-quarantining, some of the agenda items had to be tabled till January. These included a proposed utility adjustment policy; a final review of the 2021 regular meeting schedule; ultimate resolution of issues of “double payments” of property taxes (when private property owners and their mortgage companies each pay the taxes and thus force a refund to one or the other, contingent upon the order of when payments were made); and the city manager’s general report.

The remainder of the night’s focus was upon three separate — the good, the bad and the ugly — areas of due interest to the citizens of Hamlet.

The “good” was in relation to the job performances of the town’s employees.  

City workers were roundly applauded for their commendable efforts to keep Hamlet up and running. Council members each commented on the fine job performances demonstrated, noting the relatively small number of service-related complaints fielded by city staff.

Evidence of such exemplary work was further provided via the official audit report. 

CPA Ken Anderson noted the fact that no budgetary overages had occurred during this last period of city services, thereby offering fiscal evidence of superior stewardship of city monies.

The “bad” was related to finances but seemingly nothing of any real concern. 

While general funds are down slightly, the balance remains well above the required level to ensure adequate operations. Tax collections have dipped to approximately 94% but it was stated that such an occurrence is probably related to the COVID pandemic and still remains sufficiently “strong” so as to constitute no issue at this time.

Anderson did, however, bring forth a relatively sobering (and thus potentially “ugly”) item of financial concern.

It was indicated that certain new fiscal policies imposed by the Richmond County Board of Commissioners last April may impact Hamlet even more negatively than was previously projected. 

Specifically, it was reported that the city is losing approximately $60,000 per month as a result of the county having moved from per capita to ad valorem taxation policies.

This issue precipitated strong commentary from the Council.  

 

C.K. Craven

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