LANDIS, NC (WBTV) – After a local business owner showed WBTV his power bills that reflect significant increases from year to year, WBTV asked the question: Did former leaders in the Rowan County town of Landis raise utility costs in order to take home hundreds of thousands of dollars for themselves?
Terry Rollins owns the Knife Store in Landis. He was surprised when his bill more than tripled a month after the town installed new power meters.
When people open their power bills, many people experience sticker shock, but for Rollins, it was simply impossible to believe.
“March, 2017, my bill was $92. 15. Here is my bill from the town of Landis from March 2018—one year later—amounting to $444. 99,” Rollins added. “We increase the same billing cycle from $92 to $444 in a year.” ”.
Rollins claimed that he discussed the increase with former town manager Reed Linn. Linn claimed that after checking Rollins’ new meter, it was in good working condition.
There is nothing more I can do, it says passed, operating at 100% efficiency, on this sheet he just brought me,” Rollins said.
When the SBI investigation into Landis’ finances was revealed, according to Rollins, he wasn’t shocked. The town is currently suing Linn and the departing finance director, and the SBI is also looking into them.
The town’s website transparency page, which displays Linn and Gibson’s W-2 information, indicates that Linn earned more than $345,000 in 2017 and Gibson earned more than $248,000 in that year.
According to Rollins, “There’s no way that somebody drawing that kind of salary from a small town in Landis, I mean, getting paid more than the governor of North Carolina, could make that much money in a small town with a tight budget.”
When WBTV asked town officials on Friday if the utility bills paid for those salaries, they gave the following response:
For us to comment on any potential relationship between utility rates and the previously disclosed compensation figures would be inappropriate.
The town staff and officials are fully supportive of the investigation’s progress. We have faith that the investigation will yield the details and understanding that our residents deserve.
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