BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

The Town of Troutman is in the market for a new auditing firm due to delays in the annual audit report. 

Finance Director Justin Mundy presented a letter to the Troutman Town Council from Petway Mills & Pearson on Monday stating that the town’s audit delays were entirely the fault of the firm.

“The Town of Troutman took no actions that resulted in the delay in filing the audit report timely. All of the Town’s records were provided to us in a timely manner. Actually the town’s staff has been most generous in assisting us with locating documentation to complete our audits,” wrote partner Phyllis Pearson.

Pearson blamed the loss of four experienced auditors to other firms, replacement staff inexperienced in town audit requirements, and an audit partner’s medical issues as contributing to the delay.

Mundy has seen a draft of the audit, completed on February 28, and he has sent a few more requested documents. A company partner will be at the April 14 council meeting to present the audit.

Town Manage Ron Wyatt said the town is looking for a new auditing firm for the future. Council member Eddie Nau suggested the town negotiate a reduction in audit cost in light of this delayed report.

WATER AND DEBRIS ISSUES

Wyatt said the recent water main break at the Troutman Village Shopping Center resulted from faults in the shopping center water infrastructure, not the town’s. An improper valve failed and caused the break in the shopping center developer’s water line.

Though it was not the town’s responsibility, Public Works staff worked until midnight to help stop the leak and then started again at 6 a.m. to repair it with the proper valve to protect the town’s water supply levels.

The same day another water incident occurred on Old Murdock Road, which was thought at first to be a leak but was instead water from clogged drains in the shopping center and failed and clogged drains under three residential driveways. One pipe as also crushed near Dixie’s restaurant, which must be repaired by NCDOT. 

Some Ruffin Loop and Tally Street debris will be cleaned up by Friday or Public Works will be completing the clean up and charging the property owners.

The Planning Department is also addressing getting the sheds at an auto business on Main Street in compliance and getting trash cans in front of several businesses moved.

ONSRUD BUILDING REUSE GRANT

The town recently supported CR Onsrud’s $125,000 building reuse state grant request that required town cooperation. Town Attorney Gary Thomas brought a related issue for council consideration regarding the disbursement of the grant funds.

The grant allows Onsrud to receive $125,000 if it maintains its 170-member workforce, adds 25 new employees, and maintains this employment level for six months. The town acts as a conduit for the funds.

The issue is when Onsrud will receive the money. The money can be dispersed early, but if Onsrud fails to meet the requirements, the town would be responsible for repaying the grant.

Thomas offered three options to guarantee the town will not be harmed if Onsrud fails to meet grant requirements: (1) require a deed of trust to secure the money; (2) require a bank promissory note to secure the money; or (3) refuse to request and disperse the funds until all requirements are met (before the November 2023 deadline).

Whatever option the town selects, Thomas would run the solution by both Onsrud and the N.C. Department of Commerce to ensure all parties are in agreement.

Council members agreed no money should be dispersed until all grant requirements are met.

“We are stewards of taxpayer funds. We aren’t going to put the town in any kind of jeopardy,” council member Paul Henkel said, 

COUNCIL/STAFF COMMENTS

Council member Felina Harris wished town employees a belated happy National Employee Appreciation Day, saying she sees daily how hard they work. She also recognized Women’s History Month.

Council member Eddie Nau asked that code enforcement be more proactive and do inspections of street vendors and food trucks to ensure proper permitting for citizen safety and sanitation.

“It’s not fair to those who do get permits if those who don’t go through the process can operate,” he said.

Wyatt noted that all vendors within town limits are required to get a permit.

Henkel thanked the dedicated public works staff for going above and beyond duty recently to repair water main breaks and leaks, working many long hours outside of normal work time.

“All of our staff are much appreciated for all they do for our citizens,” he said.

THURSDAY NIGHT AGENDA

During Thursday night’s meeting, council will consider:

♦ A rezoning request for Rocky Creek Phase 2 to rezone 19.5 acres, located on the east side of Byers Road from residential suburban and heavy industrial to conditional zoning-mixed residential.

♦ Economic incentive request by Iredell County Economic Development Corporation for TPA Group “Project Kat”

♦ Approval of amendment of the Code of Ordinances to decriminalize certain ordinances and to repeal a subsection related to the police chief.

♦ Approval of Town of Troutman schedule of fees amendment raising the phone bill pay fee to $5 to reflect additional required staff time.

♦ Approval of multi-family building façades for Dewitt project on U.S. Highway 21.

♦ A contiguous annexation request by Andrew and Christy Phillips for one acre on the Charlotte Highway near the south end of Flower House Loop.

The council will also recognize:

♦ Cathy Emory – Suicide Prevention Awareness 50-Mile Walk
♦ Dylan Donaldson – South Iredell High School wrestling achievement 

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