County considers assisting family with landfill costs

By: W. Curt Vincent - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County commissioners heard from several members of the Shaw family on Monday, who asked for help with landfill costs associated with the removal of debris caused by a fire that destroyed their mother’s home recently.

According to the Shaws, much of the work to get the debris to the landfill is being done by volunteers from “a community that has come together to help one of its own.” But they emphasized that the fees at the landfill are just too much for their family to handle.

The brick home, estimated at 2,000 square feet, was completely demolished by the fire. The remaining debris, according to family members, has been estimated at about 150 tons. With the landfill fee set at $45 per ton, he family would be looking at a cost of about $6,750.

“We just can’t do it,” said Annette Shaw of Council. “So we’re asking you for help. My mother would never ask for help. She would do whatever she had to to find a way, but we’re here asking on her behalf.”

County commissioners were sympathetic, but struggled with giving the OK to waive the landfill fees.

“Please don’t misunderstand, we want to help — and I think it’s safe to say we will help,” Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson said. “But we have to make sure we explore all avenues first.”

Chairman Ray Britt agreed.

“Like Mr. Peterson said, we want to help, but it’s hard to set a standard that others will hold us to,” he said.

The board asked the Shaw family to get more specific numbers, adding that board members will look into other options that could assist the family.

In other business Monday, the board:

— Received an overview of the 2016-17 audit from Bryan Scott with the firm of Thompson, Price, Scott and Adams. The board was told the audit was in good shape, including the fact that the county’s General Fund had grown by $20 million over the past five years and the fund balance was at 35 percent, which is slightly better than the state average. Scott also said the county’s tax collection rate was at 96 percent, while the state rate is 97 percent. The board accepted the audit as presented.

— Approved a 2018 sliding fee schedule at the health department based on the federal fee schedule.

— Approved a renewal agreement with east Carolina University for a nursing student rotation.

— Approved a letter of interest for a grant opportunity through Blade Cross/Blue Shield that could result in a one-year $100,000 grant and might possible mean a $125,000 per year grant for four years that would assist with the Opioid Task Force efforts.

— Gave approval for a one-time $750 donation to the Bladen County Hospital Foundation.

The next meeting of the county commissioners will be Monday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or cvincent@bladenjournal.com.

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W. Curt Vincent

Bladen Journal