Spread the love
By: Erin Smith
The Bladenboro Town Board met on Monday night and voted to approve the FY 2016-17 budget ordinance.
Town Clerk Melanie Hester told the board that the budget ordinance was the same with the exception of adding $500 to the fire department compensation.  A public hearing for the budget was held earlier in the meeting but no one spoke.
There is no tax increase in the ad valorem tax rate which remains steady at 0.64 cents per $100 valuation. The total FY 2016-17 budget is $1.7 million and is a 4 percent increase or $70,926 increase of the FY 2015-16 budget. Part of this budget reflects $42,499 of the Bladenboro Fire District receipt and USDA loan for the newly constructed fire station.  
The budget also calls for an increase of 2 percent in the water and sewer rate for the town. The town also rebid the contract with Waste Management which derived a savings to the town.
In other business:
*The board approved a letter of support for Boost the ‘Boro’s Farmer’s Market grant application.
*Town Administrator John O’Daniel gave his report to the board. He told the board that the roofing projects for the library and police department have been completed. He also said that GPS devices have been installed on town vehicles and town staff can now monitor things such as idle times one the vehicles. He also updated the board on code enforcement efforts.
*During the Matters of interest to Commissioners, Billy Ray Benson asked that someone contact the contractor who has been trimming trees for Duke Energy. He told the board that the contractor has ruined numerous trees in the town.  Benson said that the contractor has also left debris in homeowners’ yards.
“To me, they have made mess,” said Benson.
*Benson also brought up the issue of dirt that has been removed from an area of railroad track near his home. Benson said that the removal of the dirt has caused problems.
O’Daniel answered that the property in question belonged to the railroad and Benson replied that when the town went and removed the dirt, it was railroad property then, as well.
Benson said the town needed to repair the issue. O’Daniel said the town has not received any complaints regarding the issue with the exception of Benson’s complaint.
Board member Cris Harrelson asked if the matter is an issue. O’Daniel said when he was first hired it was a problem, but in the last three months, town staff have received no complaints. Benson asked to have the matter placed the agenda for next month.
*Benson also said that there is a slab of concrete and a concrete birth bath both of which have been sitting beside the road along Pine Ridge Circle for over a month. Andy Coleman replied that currently, the town has no place to put it.
Board member Sarah Jane Benson said that the concrete plan will accept anything so long as it is concrete.
Hester told the board that the concrete pieces cannot be placed in the town’s landfill. She told the board it is against state regulations and the state can close the land fill if they are found to violate state regulations.
It was the consensus that the next town truck that is traveling to Elizabethtown will pick up the items and transport them to the cement plant.
*The board met in a closed session for personnel for about 30 minutes before reconvening in open session voting to hire Tonya Bullard as a police officer.