Robersonville hires new town manager amid financial problems

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ROBERSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – People in Robersonville are upset over the town’s troubled finances. Mayor Tina Brown said she’s working to get things back on track with help from state officials.

“If this board does not act with alacrity to remedy this town’s problems, then we will not have a town,” said Johnathan Cohen.

Cohen and others in Robersonville are frustrated by the town’s financial issues.

“Please do every citizen of Robersonville a favor and start running this town like a successful business,” said Cohen.

North Carolina’s Local Government Commission took over Robersonville’s finances in October. The state auditor found the town’s finances were in trouble, a $187,000 deficit after years of problems.

It has forced Robersonville to cut services like its recreation programs. Last week, longtime town employee Libby Jenkins announced her retirement effective immediately.

“There had been some discussion amongst the council and with the local government as well prior to her announcement,” Brown said.

Friday, the state recommended Ayden Town Manager Steve Harrell to take the same job in Robersonville on an interim basis. Harrell said he’s ready to help.

“I believe I can come to Robersonville and help out a lot. I really enjoy working with elected officials, and I would love the opportunity to help you get back on the right road,” said Harrell.

Tuesday was Harrell’s first day. Brown believes he’s who Robersonville needs.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with his credentials, to find someone in this short period of time that will be able to help us with our budget and moving us forward, so we’re very excited about it,” Brown said.

The Local Government Commission will continue to monitor the town’s finances. There are three pending audits of the town accounts from 2018 to 2020. Those reviews are expected to be done sometime next month.

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