Todd Paris, Staff Writer and Salisbury Attorney
♦ Dale Folwell, newly sworn-in state treasurer for North Carolina is said to be a real “fiscal hawk.” In North Carolina, there is no “home rule” for municipalities and counties and each are considered to be mere subdivisions of the state under Dillon’s Rule. Read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Forrest_Dillon#Dillon.27s_Rule
In Dillon’s Rule states, all municipalities are under their state treasurer who, under the rules, reigns supreme as to fiscal matters.
Sources revealed two weeks ago that the State Treasurer had around twenty municipalities on a “Watch List” for red flag matters that arose after their last budget audit and that Salisbury might make the list.
On February 10, 2017, WSOC-TV posted this report indicating there were 11 cities on this watch list and that Salisbury, NC was not on it. Whew! Thank goodness, this would not help the city’s bond ratings if it had! The end of the article mentioned something like the State Treasurer remained concerned that Fibrant was not servicing its debt and that a letter from the treasurer was sent. I have filed an FIOA requesting a copy of this letter. You have to watch the end of the report to see Salisbury, NC mentioned.
Seriously, no business actually makes a “profit” if it can’t pay the debt incurred to establish the business. Fibrant’s magic math “modest profit” is accomplished by covering its current operating costs without paying its debt, which is paid for from the general fund. What young couple couldn’t do well if they paid the costs of maintaining their house while having mom and dad make their mortgage payments?
The sometimes minor problems that caused these other cities to run afoul of the treasurer’s list, seem to pale in comparison to Salisbury’s failure to pay back the $7.6 million taken from the water fund to initially fund Fibrant, the addition money taken from Salisbury-Rowan Utilities (SRU) to pay attorneys to litigate the “Run and Gun” lawsuit for the network being erected in violation of the National Electric safety Code, and the destruction, by the city’s huge deficit of the Salisbury Police Department and the attendant explosion in local crime. At least WSOC-TV mentioned the Treasurer’s warning letter.
Rowan Free Press information requests, pursuant to Chapter 132 of the N.C. General Statutes are out and we will report as information become available. How did Salisbury avoid being on “the list?”
At the time of this report the N.C Treasurer has not posted “The List” on the official website. Who knows how long it will be and which city is on it. We will keep you posted.