Town of Cameron accepts interim budget

The Town of Cameron accepted an interim budget at its June 22 meeting. The accepted interim budget for 2021-2022 will be reviewed before Oct. 1 and does not include capital expenditures and totals $239,650.

The water budget is estimated at $90,879 in revenue. The board expects $79,000 in water sales and $1,200 in late fees.

The board voted to reinstate late water bill fees and to cut off water for several customers. Gail Brown, the temporary town clerk, said some customers were up to four months late on water bill payments. 

The water budget’s revenue is expected to pay for the town’s water business expenses. Mayor Jim Leiby said the board will have a hearing at a later date to discuss water rates.

The board voted to keep police for public safety in the budget. The 2021-2022 annual budget estimate expenditures for public safety are $32,772. This includes maintaining an officer, police vehicle and wages. The board voted to reach out to two police officer candidates for a part-time position. The position is 19.5 hours per week.

Fire department services increased $1,800 from last year.

During public comments, Attorney Jim Van Camp of Pinehurst offered his services at a reduced but fair fee. During a closed session, a measure to accept Van Camp was unanimously passed, and he will now be Cameron’s new legal counsel. 

“With Cary gone, Apex gone, Cameron is next and will be facing challenges,” Van Camp said about Cameron losing its unique small-town appeal.

“Look around and another swath of land is gone,” Commissioner Ginger Bauerband said about housing development increases.

Cameron’s street fair budget for 2021-2020 is $10,000. The funds are generated by licenses and permits. The expenses for the street fair are the same at $10,000.

In the past, the Antique Dealer’s Association paid for part of the advertising, but the association dissolved over the past year. Some advertising is available at no cost to towns, according to Commissioner Tanya Nicely. The controversy in advertising costs stems from which type of media to use. There are currently only four antique dealers, and permits do not offset advertising costs.

The expense of the street fair is in the increase of public safety costs in adding police officers, renting portable toilets and maintaining the park and its restrooms.

The board discussed the approval of the minutes from the last meeting, and how minutes are written. Commissioner David Seiberling said some minutes contained the meeting start time of 6:30 and end time at 8:24 p.m. and not enough in between.

“Minutes are not clear,” said Seiberling. “Names and facts are missing and no signature on who submitted minutes. Someone would question this like we were hiding something if they came in later and saw this. You have to have more than nothing.”

The board had previously approved submitting only action minutes and accepted the May minutes based on that previous vote.

The town will receive $100,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds and that it could pay for a sewer feasibility study or connections. In the COVID update, the $206 in funds carried forward were used to purchase hand sanitizer and hand blow dryers for the park’s restrooms.

By the end of October, Leiby said the town needs an accountant and an auditor, but they need to be mindful of the budget.

The board met in a closed session to discuss eight applicants for a permanent town clerk.

The board will meet next week with a traffic camera company to discuss specifics and costs.

Feature photo: Attorney Jim Van Camp offers legal services on June 2 at the Town of Cameron board meeting located at Cypress Pointe Fire Department.

~Article, photo and video by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Stephanie Sellers.

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