This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal
. The author of this post is Theresa Opeka
After 20 months of state control, the town of Pikeville in Wayne County regained complete control over all its finances Tuesday from the North Carolina Local Government Commission after they passed a resolution.
"State personnel came in and straightened out all the mess that we created and left us in a wonderful place,"
said Pikeville Mayor Garrett Johnston in a press release issued by the North Carolina State Treasurer's Office. "We are a poster child of LGC success. I would be happy to be a spokesman to any town that's being stubborn about working with the LGC because it's a huge asset."
The LGC voted to impound the town's books on Apr. 13, 2021. At the time, Pikeville had only 4.8% of unrestricted available funds to meet its $765,000 budget and was in jeopardy of missing five payments totaling $158,000 of debt.
Pikeville now leaves the roster of other towns under the control of the LGC.
N.C. State Treasurer Dale Folwell said in the press release that Pikeville showed exceptional resiliency and resolve to cooperate fully with the LGC.
"We have provided town leaders with the skills, tools, and information they need to excel, and we have every expectation that is what will happen going forward,"
he said. "This truly was a whole community effort, so residents and taxpayers share in this triumph. Pikeville stands out as a shining example of attacking problems in a positive manner for maximum achievement."
"I think that it's a day of pride for a town like Pikeville that you could set the example for many cities and towns bigger than you are,"
N.C. state auditor Beth Wood said at the meeting. "That has to be an awesome feeling to know that you are the example setter. It is a day that you should be commended and be marked down in the history of Pikeville."
In the press release, Johnston said that residents were initially hesitant to let the LGC take over the town's finances but were even more scared of losing its charter.
He said the LGC encouraged Pikeville officials to switch to a council-manager form of government, and he believes that has been an essential reform. Tim Biggerstaff became town manager on Dec. 5.
Folwell presented Johnston and other Pikeville officials with a ceremonial key to the town's financial control.