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By Joy Warren

During the Tuesday evening Town of White Lake Board of Commissioners meeting, Mayor Goldston Womble recognized Joshua “Blake” Bryan for completing the Intermediate Law Enforcement training. Officer Bryan was praised by the Mayor for his dedication to the department and to the Town. Mayor Womble also introduced Police Officer James Wesley “Wes” Parker to the Board. Officer Parker joined the Police Department in June.

Pastor Cameron McGill, Pastor of the Lake Church made a brief presentation. McGill updated the Board on the future plans for the White Lake Christian Camp & Retreat Center which is located on the Lasley property. McGill stated they are currently renovating the motel and 2 mobile homes. Several cottages have been removed from the property as well. He anticipates an opening date of March 2018 with a church building being added during the next 3 to 5 years. A Community Yard Sale will take place on Friday and Saturday September 1st & 2nd featuring many items from the cottages and items from the property. There will be an Open House for the community to view the property on Sunday, September 3rd.

Mr. Carl deAndrade address the Board regarding The Mountain to Sea Trail. A portion of the trail goes through the Town of White Lake. Mr. deAndrade would like the Board to participate in the 40th Anniversary of the Mountain to Sea Trail by walking the portion of the trail that goes through the Town (from the Scotchman to Camp Clearwater) on September 9th. There are approximately 39 miles of trail located within Bladen County. If you would like more information about hiking the trail on the 40th anniversary check out the website at https://mountainstoseatrail.org/mstinaday/

In administrative matters, the Board approved Tax Releases ($827.56 and Utility Releases ($12,915.40); adopted the 2017 Charge to Collect Taxes as Presented; approved refinancing the current debt obligation ($253,662.53) on Water Storage Tank with First Bank at a 3.65% interest rate; adopted revised Police Department Standard Operating Procedure Policy; amended the FY2017-18 Budget Ordinance to correct the NC FFA Camp’s monthly solid waste fee; and adopted the White Lake Multi-Use Trail Capital Project Ordinance.

In an effort to proceed with plans to enlarge the Southeastern Health White Lake Clinic medical office, Town staff met with grant writer Emily Miller and representatives from Southeastern Health to discuss other grant funding possibilities. Miller would like to submit an application to the NC Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division Building Reuse Program on the Town’s behalf in the amount of $80,000. Southeastern Medical has committed to 8 full-time jobs, which will allow them to apply for a Building Reuse Grant but requires the sponsorship of the Town to make the application. If the grant is awarded, the Town will be required to commit to a cash match of 5 percent of the grant amount toward the project for a total cost of $4,000. The Board adopted resolution supporting and endorsing the application as presented.

A special use permit was approved by the Board in March to allow HDJ Properties, LLC to construct 6 duplex buildings at 291 White Lake Dr. (Old Potter Seafood property). Dean Hilton asked the Board to rescind the special use permit on the property to allow the construction of a building for a Cape Fear Valley Clinic and pharmacy.

Many concerns have been expressed about abandoned/unsafe structures in the Town as submitted by the Planning and Zoning Board. The Town sent a letter to Greg Martin, County Manager, requesting the Bladen Inspections Department investigate the properties. Mr. Matthew Chadwick, Director of Bladen County Building Inspections investigated the properties and determined that the property belonging to William Dean Porter shows signs of structural damage and appears to be beyond repair. Mr. Chadwick has met with Mr. Porter on numerous occasions to discuss a solution to the problem. Mr. Chadwick advised Town staff that he is reviewing the condemnation process which would require the Board to send a letter to the Bladen County Commissioners directing the Building Inspector to begin the process.

The Municipal Complex and Post Office will be closed Monday, September 4th for the Labor Day holiday. The Public Works Department will have an on-call person available in the event of a water/sewer emergency.