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By Erin Smith

The Bladenboro Town Board met on Monday night and heard a concern from resident Cynthia Singletary regarding the Bladenboro Police Department and employee retention. 

Singletary, who is an attorney, told the board that through her position as an attorney she is in the Bladen Courts often and sees the town’s police officers when they must appear in court for various matters. Singletary explained that she began to notice the town would hire a new police officer and get them trained and then the officer would move on to another agency. 

Singletary said she spoke with White Lake Mayor and fellow attorney Goldstone Womble and he informed her the town of White Lake has a higher pay scale for their law enforcement officers than the town of Bladenboro. 

“I think we need to do something so they (law enforcement officers) don’t leave us,” said Singletary. 

She also recounted an incident which ocurred about three weeks ago involving a Bladenboro Police Officer assisting a citizen. Singletary said she was at her mother’s house and they had returned from an outing when she encountered a young woman in the road with a dog. Singletary described the young woman as “upset and crying.”

Singletary said when she stopped and asked the young woman what was wrong, the young woman explained she and her dog had been kicked out of their house. Singletary said she called 911 and learned that all of the county’s deputies were on calls and it would a take few minutes for someone to respond. Singletary said she waited more than 40 minutes with the young woman. Singletary she called back and eventually reached the 911 Supervisor and a Bladenboro Police officer was finally dispatched to assist in the situation. 

“Our police officers do a lot of good things in the community,” said Singletary.

She requested the Bladenboro Commissioners to consider a review of the town’s salary for law enforcement officers. 

Don White updated the board regarding Boost the Boro and its activities. He discussed the “Corner Wall Project,”, the membership and the financial strength of the organization.  White also discussed the Bladenboro Farmer’s Market. He told the board that parking area has been repaved and the market is open from April through Christmas. White said the Bladenboro Farmers Market does not charge anyone who wishes to set up at the farmers market. 

He also discussed a newly created scholarship opportunity from Boost the Boro. Two scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors who reside in the 28320 zip code and have a 2.5 or greater grade point average or one non-traditional student attending college and a high school senior who meet the criteria. White said scholarship applications have been given to the guidance counselors at the schools or you can contact any Boost the Boro member. 

White also encouraged the Bladenboro Town Board to consider setting aside funds in the town’s budget for future economic development projects. White noted the county and other municipalities already set aside funds future economic development needs.

In other business:

*Bladenboro Mayor Rufus Duckworth opened the bids for paving the of Grief Street and Lennon Drive. The board voted to award the contract to Sykes Paving of Bladenboro. Town Commissioner Jeff Atkinson cast the lone no vote.

*The board voted to approve the Local Water Supply plan. 

*The board voted to allow town staff to perform a Pay and Classification Plan Study in house.  The last pay study study performed by the town of Bladenboro was in 1997. 

*The board also voted to appoint a Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee for the town. The members are Ezra Blanks, Otis Evans, Joe Bryant, John “Mac” Bowen, Robin Coleman, Roger Carroll, and Stephanie Bryan. 

*The board approved LKC Engineering to assist with the Elm Street project. 

*The board set Tuesday, April 24th, at 7 p.m. as the date for Economic Development Workshop for the town.