• 4:23 pm Commissioners approve Beaver Management Program
  • 11:28 am Bladen County Opioid and Other Substance Use Community Survey
  • 6:41 am West Bladen Volleyball Schedule Changes
  • 6:37 am JV Volleyball: West Bladen 2, Westover 1
  • 6:31 am Volleyball: West Bladen 3, Westover 0

By Erin Smith

The Bladen County Board of Commissioners met on Monday night and heard from Holland Consulting’s Ryan Cox regarding the Hurricane Matthew DRA Rehabilitation project.

Cox told the board that the original low bidder for the project was W. F. Carr, however, since bidding on the project, Mr. Carr has fallen ill and underwent surgery last week. Cox told that Mr. Carr informed him that he is unable to move forward with the project at this time and withdrew his bid.

“My recommendation is to move to the next lowest bidder on each one of those,” said Cox.  That bidder was Holland Construction.

Bladen County Commissioners Chairman Charles Ray Peterson asked  “What is the problem with rebidding all of them? You’re spending $25,000 more than your low bid is.”

“We could absolutely rebid all of them. There is funds to go with the next lowest bidder, it would slow the process down,” said Cox.

He continued, “These homeowners have been affected by Hurricane Matthew and also Hurricane Florence. These funds are from Hurricane Matthew.”

He noted there were two separate grants a DRA Hazard Mitigation and the DRA Rehabilitation Grant.

“I feel for these homeowners. They have waited this long,” said Commissioner Ray Britt.

He recommended proceeding with the next lowest bidder.  The board voted 8 to 1 in favor of Holland Construction.

In other business, Bladen County Schools Finance Officer Sharon Penny and Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker presented a request to hire a school resource officer for the school system.   The Bladen County Board fo Education has received a grant in the amount of $100,000 to fund a school resource officer position for the 2018-19 school year and the 2019-20 academic year.

“If this is signed July 11, 2018, why are we waiting until now?” asked Bladen County Commissioner Chairman Charles Ray Peterson.

“The grant was approved back in the summer. We received notification of the grant,” said Bladen County Schools Finance Officer Sharon Penny.

She stated that the notification was not very formal. The notification was received via an email communication stating they had received the grant. The Hurricane Florence struck and Penny said that somewhere along the way, the grant information got laid aside.

“So you got $100,000 for the school year now?” asked Chairman Peterson.

“‘What doesn’t get spent by June 30 reverts back to the state. We are approved automatically for another $100,000 for 2019-20,” said Penny.

Chairman Peterson asked if the funds can be utilized for purchasing a vehicle for the school resource officer. Penny replied no it can only be utilized for professional development, ammunition and uniforms and the salary of the officer.

Sheriff McVicker said the issue of a vehicle can be worked out.

The board voted unanimously to utilize the grant funds to hire the additional school resource officer.

The board also set Wednesday, May 1, at 9 a.m. to present the preliminary budget.