Bladenboro residents soon to be able to pay online

By: By Erin Smith -

BLADENBORO — Soon folks in the town of Bladenboro will be able to pay their water bills online. The board voted to approve a merchant agreement and convenience fee with Bankcard Associates/Logics Software on Monday.

Mayor Rufus Duckworth said the town is getting a new web page and one of the features will be the convenience of paying their water and sewer bill online.

“Currently, you come to the town hall and pay with cash or a check,” said Duckworth.

Once the web page and online payment system are launched, folks will be able to simply log on and pay their bill with a credit or debit card from home.

Duckworth said there will be a convenience fee of $3.50 for the service that will be charged.

“That is based on a percentage the company charges based on the average water bill per month,” said Duckworth of the fee.

He added that the $3.50 fee is what the town is going to begin the service with and the board will revisit the issue in one year and make any necessary adjustments to the fee.

Duckworth said the board is hoping to have the town’s new website up and operational by October and have the online payment feature set up by January. He added that it takes time to get the web page created and to get all of the necessary information loaded.

Duckworth said the web page will be a benefit to the residents once it is launched. He said, for example, folks come home from work to find their water pressure is low or the water is off from some reason, they begin to call town hall and sometimes they are having to call after business hours to learn how long the water will remain shut off. Duckworth said the new website will give town staff an avenue to post notices and emergency information for residents.

In other business:

— The board also voted to take part in the N.C. Local Government Debt Setoff Program. Duckworth said the program is something the state has created that assists the town. Duckworth said the way the program works, if a person owes the town back taxes, for example, and they should be due a state income tax refund or win the lottery, the state can automatically take out the amount owed.

“It’s a win-win for us. We stand a chance of getting something back rather than nothing at all,” said Duckworth of the program.

— The board also voted to approve Town Administrator Melanie Hester to hire Doug Lacy to finish the concrete for the ADA parking and bleacher base for McLean Park.

Erin Smith can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

By Erin Smith