N Carolina dissolving town of East Laurinburg over finances

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A south-central North Carolina town will be shuttered next summer after a state panel decided Tuesday that it has too many financial, demographic and electoral troubles.

The state Local Government Commission, which monitors the finances of municipalities, voted unanimously to dissolve the Scotland County town of East Laurinburg, which has a population of less than 250, according to census data.

The commission, led by the state treasurer and composed of the state auditor, secretary of state and appointees, agreed the community met thresholds in a new law that gives the commission the dissolution authority. It was used for the first time Tuesday.

Commission staff told the commission that East Laurinburg has failed to comply with fiscal standards, including the absence of a financial audit for several years.

East Laurinburg’s population is expected to decrease further, staff said, and the mayor and council members were all elected as write-in candidates in this fall’s elections.

East Laurinburg, with a $75,000 annual budget, got attention in October when a state audit found the town’s ex-finance director spent more than $11,000 in town funds on her home utility bills and other questionable items.

Town assets will be transferred to another local government, possibly Scotland County. The date of dissolution is set for the end of June.

Copyright 2021, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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