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Bladenboro officials work to drain swamp, pursue nuisance violators and repair damages

By Charlotte Smith

The Town of Bladenboro Board of Commissioners met on Monday, July 8th at Town Hall to discuss several items of business. Since the meeting, progress has been made in the Bryant Swamp Canal Clearing Project, the Ordinance has been updated and facilities are receiving repairs.

Mr. Blake Proctor, Town Administrator gave each commissioner an agenda synopsis for the Monday meeting and on Friday, July 12th he sent out an administrator’s memorandum with an update on the clearing project.

On the agenda Monday evening, the first item for the commissioners to discuss and vote on was the consideration of a change to Chapter 94, Nuisances in their Ordinance 2019-105. The request was to amend the Nuisance Ordinance to allow the Town to more quickly “go after” those in violation of the Nuisance Ordinance. The Town Manager reported currently those in habitual violation “thumb their noses” at the Town.

The commissioners held a public hearing before they voted with one accord to allow the changes to the Ordinance. The Town will no longer need to issue a new notice and certified letter to any violator designated via certified letter a Habitual Violator according to the new changes.

The next item on the agenda was a public hearing for the rezoning of three properties located on E. Poplar Street. According to Mr. Proctor’s synopsis the Planning Board voted unanimously to rezone the three properties under consideration on E. Poplar Street from R-A, which is residential/agricultural to R-15, a Medium Density One – and -Two Family Residential area. The commissioners voted to rezone the three properties unanimously as well.

The Bryant Swamp Drainage Project took the next four items on the meeting’s agenda Monday evening. The contract work to clear the Bryant Swamp Canal and several laterals began on May 28th.

The items were change orders for the project. According to Mr. Proctor, Bryant Swamp Drainage Project Change Order number five was due to the contractor requesting reimbursement for the the 30-foot, 36 inch pipe required for the lateral behind CW’s Auto Service. The manager stated, “In order to complete this lateral without a holdup, he had to proceed with the pipe’s purchase and installation. The commissioners approved the reimbursement costs of $4,400 for Change Order number five unanimously.

Next the commissioners canceled the Change Order number 6 for the amount of $3,000 because it was determined not to be needed due to the site not being in the town’s limits, according to Mr. Proctor.

Change Order number seven to clean out a formerly unrecognized Lateral 23 to drain the vicinity of the Post Office directly into the canal. The Change Order in the amount for $1,325 was approved.

Change Order number eight to clean out a formerly undesignated lateral that channels large volumes of stormwater away from Ash Street and directs it around the Waste Treatment Plant was tabled by the board of commissioners. The area is said to be heavily-wood. The cost of the Change Order is $6,975.

In a memorandum Mr. Proctor sent to Bladenboro Mayor Duckworth and the Board of Commissioners on July 12th after the board meeting he stated, “As of today, the Canal has been completed, as have five laterals, despite the tornado/wind shear that hit the town on May 31st.  Two laterals are partially completed.”

The Bladenboro Board of Commissioners have called a special meeting for Tuesday, July 16 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall to discuss another Change Order to consolidate several small sub-projects. Mr. Proctor said, “The meeting tomorrow evening might take 100 seconds. It will not be long.”

Before the commissioners closed the meeting on the 8th they voted unanimously to improve the Bladenboro Police Station by purchasing carpet and having it installed at a total price of $1,565.26.

The board also approved a Change Order for the Maintenance Shop due to damages discovered by the contractor performing the hurricane damage repairs. A discovery of damages due to termites and water  was found under the siding at the Public Works Maintenance Shop. The town manager reported the repairs to the shop could be made at a cost of $1,175. The board of commissioners approved the Change Order for the repairs.

All commissioners and the mayor were in attendance at the July 8th meeting.

Rufus Duckworth, Mayor
Jeff Atkinson, Commissioner
Sarah Benson, Commissioner
Patsi Callahan, Commissioner
Rodney Hester, Commissioner
Gene Norton, Commissioner
Gregory Sykes, Commissioner

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