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A Staff Report

On Monday, September 18, 2023, the Bladen County Board of Commissioners held their regular meeting in the Commissioners’ Room at the Bladen County Courthouse in Elizabethtown, North Carolina. The meeting, which began at 6:30 PM, addressed a range of important topics, including funding requests, water service expansion, grant opportunities, and updates from various county departments. This article provides a comprehensive recap of the key highlights and decisions made during this meeting.

The meeting was attended by the following board members:
– Rodney Hester, Chairman
– Dr. Danny Ellis, Vice Chairman
– Charles Peterson
– Arthur Bullock
– Cameron McGill
– Ray Britt
– Dr. Ophelia Munn-Goins
– Michael Cogdell
– Mark Gillespie

Attorney Allen Johnson from the Johnson Law Firm was also present to provide legal counsel.

1. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance: Commissioner Cameron McGill, representing The Lake Church, delivered the invocation, and County Manager Greg Martin led the Pledge of Allegiance.

2. Consent Items: The board approved several consent items, including the adoption of the agenda with a minor amendment, approval of meeting minutes from September 5, 2023, and budget amendments.

3. Public Address: Several individuals addressed the board with their concerns and requests. Notably, Mr. A.J. Keating expressed frustration regarding property development and water services. Mr. Wilbert Hill raised concerns about water contamination and the slow progress of water system expansion. Ms. Ree Ladson of St. Rest Holiness Church sought county water service for her church. Commissioner McGill also mentioned similar complaints from Briar Branch Baptist Church.

4. Matters of Interest to Commissioners: One of the significant items discussed was a funding request from Dr. Jason Wray for a gymnasium renovation project at the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy (PRBLA). After much discussion and multiple motions, the board approved the funding request, including the reallocation of funds from the East Arcadia gymnasium project.

5. Bladen County Water District: The board briefly entered a session as the Bladen County Water District Board of Directors to discuss a state grant opportunity related to addressing GenX/PFAS/PFOS contaminants in the water supply. They unanimously adopted a resolution to authorize the grant application.

6. Solid Waste Department: Director Kip McClary provided information on the ongoing Transfer Station renovation and repair project, including low bids for additional necessary work. The board approved the bids for wall repair and lighting and electrical work.

7. Health Department: Dr. Terri Duncan, Director of the Health Department, announced the launch of the Recovery Bladen website, which will provide resources for mental health and substance abuse. The website was made possible by a Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) grant.

8. Finance Department: The board reviewed financial reports and summaries, including a Federal Inmate Housing Program summary.

9. Advisory Boards: Several appointments and reappointments were made to advisory boards.

10. County Manager Updates: County Manager Greg Martin discussed various county matters, including a request for a part-time position reclassification, the review of the Boards and Commissions Policy, and an amendment to a Resolution to Direct the Expenditure of Opioid Settlement Funds.

11. Matters of Interest to Commissioners: Individual commissioners raised questions and concerns about paving projects, the Cape Fear River Bridge, and Affordable Housing grant applications.

The September 18, 2023, Bladen County Board of Commissioners meeting addressed a wide range of important issues that impact the community. From funding requests to water service expansion, grant opportunities, and departmental updates, the board demonstrated its commitment to addressing the needs and concerns of the residents of Bladen County. The active engagement of community members and commissioners alike highlighted the importance of local governance and the dedication of those involved in shaping the county’s future.

Watch the October 2, 2023, Board of Commissioners meeting on the County of Bladen’s YouTube page linked below.


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