County makesshort work ofeasy agenda

W. Curt Vincent -


ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County commissioners needed just 22 minutes to buzz through its agenda Monday, with each vote going unanimous with little or no discussion.

One item that did raise a question was a resolution to approve financing terms with BB&T for the county’s Detention Center Project, which totals about $20 million.

According to County Manager Greg Martin, BB&T was the lowest of two bids received with an interest rate of 2.48 percent.

“That would mean a savings of about $150,000 to the county,” Martin said.

Commissioner Michael Cogdell was curious as to why the county’s current banking partner for day-to-day operations, First Bank, didn’t submit a bid.

“If we are banking with them, why aren’t they bidding on our projects?” he asked. “And is there any way we can get out of using them as our bank?”

Martin explained that the county requests bids from area banks every five years for day-to-day services and that First Bank just completed its first year. First Citizens Bank was used by the county for the previous 10 years by the county.

“But just because they are our bank for day-to-day operations doesn’t require them to bid on this project,” he said.

Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson said some banks aren’t willing to lend such a large amount to one client for a short period of time.

Commissioner Delilah Blanks requested Martin try to get a reason from First Citizens as to why they would not submit a bid.

The board unanimously approved using BB&T for the Detention Center Project.

In other board action:

— Robert Heavenridge with the Bladen County Schools presented the commissioners with a survey showing the district’s facility needs. The survey mapped out such items as operating costs of each school, student population of each school, the physical needs of each school and how many students each school can accommodate. Heavenridge said only Dublin Primary and East Bladen are at full capacity.

— Commissioners gave Fire Marshal Bradley Kinlaw approval to amend the Clarkton Rural Fire District Funding Agreement, allowing the monthly stipend from the county to be lowered and the balance be saved for a future purchase of a fire truck.

— Kinlaw was also given the go-ahead to declare old personal storage lockers as surplus and donate them to public safety agencies.

— Kinlaw requested that a reclassification of a county EMT-Intermediate to paramedic be approved. Commissioners unanimously OK’d that request.

— Sheriff Jim McVicker requested that about 500 weapons from the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office’s evidence locker be declared surplus, which was approved. Commissioners also OK’d those weapons be traded to Lawmen’s Safety Supply for ammunition, holsters and other equipment.

— Tax Assessor Renee Davis got approval from commissioners to set a deadline of March 21 for residents to pay their taxes in full. After that date, unpaid property taxes will be published in the Bladen Journal. Davis said the collection rate as of the end of January was at 84.72 percent, compared with the rate of 84.76 percent on Jan. 31, 2015.

— Martin said the board will hold a planning session on Feb. 8 at 5:30 at the Powell-Melvin Building, and the next regular meeting of the board will be held Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

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


W. Curt Vincent

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