Church voices disagreement with town charges

By: W. Curt Vincent - Bladen Journal

BLADENBORO — A representative of Bladenboro First Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Drive made it clear to the town board on Monday they were not happy about a bill for $4,200 attached to a sewer connection.

Church Deacon Wilson Lacey told the board he had originally been told the church would have to pay a $30 permit fee, a $600 sewer connection fee and be responsible for repairing the street when the work was completed.

But when the church received the bill, a letter was sent to the town disputing the charges — and no response came.

“I have not received anything, any letter, from the town of Bladenboro,” Lacey said. “I find it outrageous we would receive a bill for $4,200 for the extension of sewer service.”

Lacey, who is also a certified contractor, told the board it was customary to get several estimates for work to be done, which the church had done. But the town, according to Town Administrator John O’Daniel, followed its policy to use a specific company for street repair and paving.

“The church has been good stewards of this town,” Lacey told the board. “My main objective here tonight is to ask the board to reconsider the charge and come to an amicable agreement.”

Commissioner Gene Norton asked Lacey if the church had been told they would be responsible for repairing the street, and Lacey said, “yes, and we made arrangements to do that.”

Since the item on the agenda was a “discussion item,” no action was required by the board, but Commissioner Cris Harrelson requested that Lacey and the church congregation give the board “a reasonable amount if time” to review the documents.

“We can do that,” Lacey said, “but I would like to ask that, since we are getting late fees for the water and sewer service, that those late fees be waived while this is being looked at.”

The board approved that request.

In other business Monday, the board:

— The board met David Richardson, the new executive director of the Lumber River Council of Governments, and heard about the group’s services.

— Norton asked that his discussion about discretionary funds be put off until January and the board agreed by a 6-1 vote. Commissioner Billy Benson voted against the request, saying it should be put off until budget workshops.

— Held a discussion about placing four trash cans in the downtown area. The board tabled about using concrete or plastic receptacles. O’Daniel will investigate other options.

— Voted to paint the parking lines along Railroad Street at a cost of $400.

— Voted to repair bleachers and a swing set at Wateree Park.

— Approved a bid of $1,500 from H.P. General Services to remove debris at a property on Martin Luther King Drive for code enforcement. The cost would be the responsibility of the property owner either up front or on taxes.

— Approved First Bank for financing of a town police vehicle.

— Approved the closing of Railroad Street for the annual Beast Fest from about 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, through Saturday, Oct. 28.

— Approved resolutions in support of the NCDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant, and the CDBG-I Grant Funds.

The next meeting of the town board will be Monday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or

W. Curt Vincent

Bladen Journal