Financial stability Catawba's top goal

One year ago, Catawba Mayor Vance Readling said two controversial construction projects were dividing the town.

Now, the projects are delayed indefinitely in light of financial restraints, but town officials are looking to the coming months to get Catawba's budget back on track.

Readling cited budgetary stability as his top goal for the town in the coming year.

"I think we're going to have to focus on all aspects of the budget, from revenue to expenditures," Readling said.

Budgetary problems surfaced for Catawba in August when interim town manager Eric Davis told council members the town had a “hole in its budget” of about $220,000, from when the town appropriated money from its general fund to its cash reserves.

Davis recommended during the town's August meeting that the council cut $280,000 from the town’s $960,000 budget to close the hole. The estimate, Davis said, took into consideration a possible reduction in the town’s expected revenues.

Catawba isn't broke, officials said months later, but the town needs to carefully examine its expenditures so its financial difficulties don't progress into the future.

"You'll see a much more conservative side to our budget going forward," said town manager Brian Barnett, who started the position in November.
Readling agreed.

"It's going to have to be kind of lean before the economy picks up," he said.