BLADENBORO — The Bladenboro Town Council voted Monday to push a discussion of the mayor-council form of government back until June.
The motion not to discuss the matter was made by Councilman Larry Simmons and the board voted to 4-2 to wait on discussing the issue. The two dissenting votes were cast by Sarah Jane Benson and her brother Billy Ray Benson.
Currently the town operates under the council-manager form of government, and has since 2003, with Delane Jackson serving as town manager.
There is a petition started by Rufus Duckworth III that is circulating through the town to have the issue added to the November ballot for the consideration of the town’s voters.
Later, during the portion of the meeting reserved for matters of interest to commissioners, Councilman Everett Butler chose to address his vote in favor of waiting on the discussion.
“This is too important to act in haste,” Butler said. “It’s the provision of the board to do what the people want done. We don’t know what the will of the people is. That can be decided in November.
“Instead of splitting this board apart by having the board vote yes or no to do something that the people may or may not want, I’d rather resign as a commissioner than vote against my conscious or to vote against what the people want. I would rather the people, as a whole, vote on this rather than just a few of us.”
Council member Sarah Jane Benson echoed Butler’s thoughts.
“We can all go in November and vote on it,” said Benson.
There are 1,230 registered voters in the town of Bladenboro, according to Bladen County Board of Elections Director Cynthia Shaw. In order for the petition to stand and the issue be placed on the ballot, 10 percent of the registered voters must sign the petition.
Shaw said once the petition is submitted to her office, the signatures will then be verified by the Board of Elections.
“When we get it (the petition), we have an application with the State Board of Elections where we have to check all of the signatures of those who sign it,” said Shaw.
She added that she anticipates having the petition submitted to her office sometime in July to prevent the town from having to hold a special election on the issue. According to N.C. General Statute 160A-104, once the petition is submitted, the referendum must take place between 60 to 120 days after submission.
In other business:
— The board unanimously approved one-year leases for the Old Depot building which houses Spinners Realty in the amount of $175 per month and the Armory building which is home to Dreams R Us for $400 per month.
— There was a discussion of the town’s animal control ordinance as the issue of barking dogs has been a topic at recent meetings. Bladenboro residents have been instructed to call Bladen County Animal Control with issues related to animals.
— The board voted unanimously to allow Jackson to begin enforcement procedures of the town’s repair order on one of the buildings in the town. The building in question is located at 211 Village St. and Jackson told board members that the owners had been sent several notices regarding the need for repairs to be made. He added the town will have the necessary repairs made and the owners will be billed for the work.
— Jackson updated the board regarding work at Wateree Park, the new community building and the new fire station.