County hears update on Phase IV water project

W. Curt Vincent -

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County commissioners were given a presentation by Adam Kiker concerning the county’s $6.9 million Phase IV water project.

Kiker told commissioners that, in addition to the roads discussed in the past, three new roads have been added to the project. They are Airport Road from the end of the existing road to Coley Road; White Plains Church Road from Lisbon Road to Rosindale Road; and Mercer Mill Road between Gibson Dairy and Rosindale roads.

“This is the time of year that we hear from USDA about these kinds of projects,” Kiker said. “They want to spend their money, so once you decide to move forward it should go quickly.”

Kiker said the deadline for a USDA loan is May 4.

Board Chairman Charles Ray Peterson asked County Manager Greg Martin to make sure the issue got placed on the next agenda for discussion.

The board then heard from Kip McClary, who told commissioners that some of the proposed routes for the Phase IV project would place water lines off the maintained areas by the N.C. Department of Transportation and into private right-of-ways.

McClary said proposed revisions to the county’s Water District Rules and Regulations would address how the county wants those areas maintained.

Peterson said the issue would be on the next agenda for discussion.

In other action, the board:

— Commissioners heard an update on the Hazard Mitigation Program in the county. The board was told the deadline for FEMA assistance is May 4 and that, currently, FEMA is focusing on those who have not yet been able to return to their homes after Hurricane Matthew. FEMA is tackling the assistance with three options: acquisition/demolition, elevation and mitigation reconstruction. Commissioners were told that FEMA picks up 75 percent of the cost, while the state will take on the remaining 25 percent.

— Heard from Bladen County Tax Administrator Renee Davis, who told the board a bidder on a foreclosed property in January had paid $4,095 thus far, but had requested a 12-month extension with payments of $500 per month. Board Attorney Allen Johnson suggested there be a title conveyed to the new owner with a deed of trust/promissory note signed for the remaining portion owed. The board approved the request.

— Heard from Commissioners Ashley Trivette, Russell Priest, Ophelia Munn-Goins and Arthur Bullock about their trip to Washington, D.C,. for the National Association of Counties meeting. All reported there was good information and networking.

— Were introduced to Jackie Dennis, RN, of Bladen County Health & Human Services who told the board about the Child Fatality Prevention Team. She said the team reviewed five cases of child fatalities in 2016 — two were drownings, one was stillborn and one was a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

— Appointed Bullock to the Southeastern Community & Family Services Board of Directors. Peterson was the lone dissenting vote, saying “it would not allow for diversity on that board.”

The next meeting of the county commissioners will be Monday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m.

W. Curt Vincent cane be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent

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