No new construction for Catawba

Dreams for a newly renovated fire department and town hall in Catawba went up in smoke Monday.
Catawba Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to postpone its town hall and fire department construction projects indefinitely.
“I think we’ve all determined that we can’t afford to do this project without a tax increase, and no one wants that,” said Catawba Mayor Vance Readling. “The only way we have to pay for it is the taxes; that’s all we’ve got.”
Instead of raising taxes, council voted against the more than $1 million project, based on recommendations from the Local Government Commission.
“We apologize for this,” Readling told citizens attending Monday’s meeting. “We feel it’s for the good of the town that we do not do it.”
Catawba Fire Chief Don Robinson wouldn’t comment on council’s decision not to continue the construction project.
The decision was made in the wake of budget problems, which forced the town to reconsider its expenditures.
“The town is not broke,” Readling said. “We just don’t want to be broke.”
Interim Town Manager Eric Davis said in August that Catawba has a “hole in its budget” of about $220,000 from when the town appropriated money from its general fund to its cash reserves.