Home Local News Rockingham Mayor Steve Morris, Council Members Sworn in at December Meeting; City...

Rockingham Mayor Steve Morris, Council Members Sworn in at December Meeting; City Receives Healthy Financial Report

Rockingham Mayor Steven Morris, who was recently re-elected, takes Oath of Office administered by City Clerk Sabrina McDonald.
Photo courtesy of Chuck Thames.

ROCKINGHAM-   Rockingham Mayor Steven Morris and council members received a good report on the city’s financial health from auditors for fiscal year 2016-2017 during Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting.

The council had a fairly light agenda this month with the consent agenda, including minutes from the November meeting and the tax collectors report being approved unanimously by the board. 

The highlight of the night came when the administration of the oath of office was led by City Clerk Sabrina McDonald.  Taking oath were recently re-elected Morris, Councilwoman Denise Sullivan and Councilman Gene Willard.  Due to illness, Councilwoman Anne Edwards was not present and is expected to take oath at a later date. 

“I’m certainly honored and flattered, and I try every time I’m introduced to say how proud I am to serve as mayor of Rockingham,” Morris stated. “I thank the voters for supporting myself and the other candidates who ran this year.”

Council members Eugene Willard (left) and Denise Sullivan (middle) also took the Oath of Office Tuesday upon their re-elections.

Additional appointments were made, including:

City Attorney: Benny Sharpe

City Clerk: Sabrina McDonald

Delegate to Lumber River COG: Denise Sullivan

Alternate Delegate to Lumber River COG: Gene Willard

City Representative to Richmond Economic Development Corporation: Anne Edwards

Ex-Officio Member of Rockingham Downtown Corporation: John Hutchinson

Member to Richmond County Economic Development Team: Bennett Deane

Ken Anderson, CPA of Anderson, Smith & Wilke, PLLC, also presented the audit of the city’s finances for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

“It looks like the city had a good year,” Anderson started out his report.

He noted that the general fund balance has grown throughout the years and increased slightly this year.  Anderson gave a condensed version of the report as the council members had a complete copy for review.   

One note of significance was around a metric monitored by the Local Government Commission.

“(They) want you to have a minimum of  eight percent of this number,  the undesignated fund balance divided by the general fund expenditures,” Anderson said. “This year, you have 42.6 percent, so that’s about five times above the minimum.

“I compared to other years and you’re in very good shape,” Anderson added. 

On the subject of tax collections, Anderson said, “You’ve always had a good tax collection rate, but this is the highest that I’ve seen.” 

The rates were at 98.82 percent overall, and 98.7 percent on property tax. Anderson commented that these were, “very, very strong tax collection rates.” 

The general fund increased by approximately $101,000.  There was also a large increase in the water and sewer fund revenues over expenditures of approximately $445,000.

According to Anderson the City’s overall debt decreased from $1.5 million to roughly $1.25 million over the past fiscal year.

Mayor Morris recognized Administrative Assistant, Tina Harvey who has served the  City of Rockingham in various capacities for 34 years.  Harvey is retiring at the end of the month. 

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Morris noted that she has done a great job and that he had heard similar positive comments from former mayors Gene McLaurin and G.R. Kinley. 

“Tina, we thank you very much for your service and hope you’ll have a long, happy retirement,” Morris said.

The board then went into executive session, citing G.S. 143-318.11 (a) (4) Economic Development and (a) (6) personnel.

Following the closed session, no further action was taken by the board and the meeting was adjourned.

The Rockingham City Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m.  For additional details about this meeting please contact Rockingham City Hall at (910) 997-5546.

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