County approves $81,293 addition to jail project

By: W. Curt Vincent -

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County’s new jail project saw its first speed bump come before the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday when a change order totaling $81,293 was discussed.

County Manager Greg Martin told the board that a Muffin Monster grinder pump was being requested by the town of Elizabethtown as protection for its sewer system.

“This is the first change order we’ve encountered,” Martin said. “And this is something that was in the original, preliminary plan but was removed during the cost-saving phase.”

The plan approved by the county called for a pin system that would prevent large objects, such as bedding, from getting into the sewer system.

“They (inmates) have a lot of time on their hands, and you’d be surprised the kind of things they put down (toilets),” Martin said.

Commissioner Ashley Trivette questioned the additional expense, and Commissioner Ophelia Munn-Goins asked what would happen if the board did not approve the change.

“The jail won’t open,” said Chairman Charles Ray Peterson.

The board unanimously approved the change order.

Martin told the board that the jail project was currently on schedule and on budget, with 69 percent of the project’s budget spent. He added that the completion date was set for June 22 and the state inspection date set for July 21. It was expected that the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office personnel would move into the facility in May.

In other business, the board:

— Approved three bids on county-owned properties that had been recently foreclosed. A bid on two parcels foreclosed on in 2016 in Bladenboro was accepted for $9,900 as a private sale to the previous owner; a bid on a parcel foreclosed on in 2016 in Clarkton was OK’d for $12,210 and the “upset bid process” will begin; and a bid for $2,400 on a parcel foreclosed in 2009 in Kelly was approved and the “upset bid process” will begin.

— Approved a special meeting for Monday and Jan. 30 for planning sessions.

— Recognized Commissioner Russell Priest as the outgoing chairman and Peterson presented him with a plaque.

The next meeting of the county commissioners will be Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m.

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

W. Curt Vincent