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Bladenboro Board hears from First Baptist Church about sewer fee

By Erin Smith

The Bladenboro Town Board heard from the congregation of Bladenboro First Baptist Church on Monday evening regarding a sewer connection fee.

Deacon Wilson Lacey representing First Baptist Church spoke to the board. The church is located on Martin Luther King Drive in Bladenboro. He told the board he was there about a letter sent to the town board addressing concerns about the recent water and sewer connection for First Baptist Church. He said he has not received a response from the town in reference to the letter.

“We have followed all of the procedures as they relate to purchasing what is required of us to do the addition for the church,” said Deacon Lacey.

Deacon Lacey said the church had purchased a permit from the town at a cost of $30 and the church obtained a second permit from Bladen County at no cost for the project. He said the church was told it would cost $600 to connect the church’s addition to the town’s water and sewer system. Deacon Lacey said the church was also told that when the work was finished, the church would be responsible for repairing the street.

Deacon Lacey said he talked with a contractor in the town about performing the paving once the sewer work was completed. Deacon Lacey said he has not received anything from the town of Bladenboro indicating that the street needed to be paved. However, it has been paved and the church received a bill in the amount of $4,200. Deacon Lacey also said the bill reflects a credit of $600.

Deacon Lacey said when he paid the initial $600 sewer connection fee, the receipt he was given showed a zero balance. He requested the town rescind the charge rendered to the church and both parties come to an amicable agreement over the cost.

Town Administrator John O’Daniel said the matter was handled according to the town’s policy. He cited two other incidents where the property owners were asked to pay similar fees for tapping onto the town’s water and sewer.

Town Commissioner Cris Harrelson said, “I would ask you to give us a reasonable amount of time to look at all of the documentation and to get back with you with an answer.”

Deacon Lacey then asked the board to waive the late fees being charged to the church on its water and sewer bill until the matter is resolved. The board approved the request.

In other business:

*The board conducted a public hearing for a proposed grant application for the Community Development Block Grant-I grant. The town is expected to submit an application for a $250,000 grant to purchase generators for the town’s utility system back up power. If awarded the grant, the town plans to purchase two generators for two town wells, two generators for two sewer lift stations, one generator for the town hall and one generator for the maintenance shop.

*The board voted to approve the temporary closure of Railroad Street Friday, October 27, beginning at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, October 28, for the BeastFest activities.

*The board heard a presentation about the Lumber River Council of Government by David Richardson. 

* The board approved a financing agreement with First Bank for the purchase of a police vehicle.

* The board tabled a discussion of discretionary funds until the January board meeting.

*The board approved resolutions of support for the NC Department of Transportation Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and the CDBG-I grant application.

* The board approved repairing the boards on the Wateree Park bleachers with treated lumber.

* The board approved a bid of $1,500 from HP General Service for the removal of debris from 426 Martin Luther King Drive for code enforcement.

* The board approved marking the parking stripes on Railroad Street.

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