BLADENBORO — Bladen County attorney Cynthia Singletary came before the Bladenboro Town Board on Monday and made an impassioned plea for efforts to keep town police officers from seeking better pay elsewhere.
“I know the town struggles with finances, and I certainly understand that, but I’ve been noticing that our (police) officers are moving on to other agencies — and many times those moves are lateral in position,” said Singletary, who is a Bladenboro resident.
She added that, through her time in court, she has seen a number of Bladenboro police officers give testimony — “and they are very articulate and sharp, but then they are gone.”
Singletary shared with the board she was recently told that White Lake pays a better salary than Bladenboro, and the town has lost officers to White Lake.
“White lake is a wonderful place. I had to live over there while my home was being remodeled,” she said. “But it’s a summer community. Bladenboro is a year-round community.
“We have a very good police department, and Chris (Hunt) does a really good job as police chief,” Singletary continued. “But there must be something we can do to pay our officers better so they will want to stay.”
The concern was presented during the town board’s “open forum” section, which is an informational item only, gets little or no discussion from the board and no action is taken. Board members did share with Singletary they appreciated the information and would look into the matter.
The board also heard from Don White, president of Boost the ‘Boro, who gave an update on some of the projects the organization has been working on, as well as its financial and membership status.
“We are now in a solid financial position again, and the membership is strong,” White said. “We’re also now in a position to be able to give back to the community, and will be doing some maintenance at the farmer’s market — including repairs to the outside of the building and paving of the parking area.”
The town’s farmer’s market is open April through Christmas and does not charge vendors.
White also said a new program that will allow students in grades eight through 12 to join Boost the ‘Boro at no cost will soon begin.
“We will also, for the first time, be offering two college scholarships this year for students with a 2.5 GPA and higher who live in the 28320 zip code,” he said. “The scholarships will be for $500 each.”
In other business, the town:
— Awarded a paving contract to Sykes Paving of Bladenboro for work along Lennon Drive and Grief Street. The contract is for a total of $52,470.
— Turned down proposals for a pay and classification plan study through N.C. League of Municipalities and Piedmont Triad Regional Council, choosing instead to do the study in-house. The last study performed for Bladenboro was in 1997.
— Approved LKC Engineering to assist with the Elm Street project.
— Continued its meeting to April 24 in order to be part of an economic development workshop with Mark Zeigler and Mark Southerland.
— Approved seven new members to the town’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee. They are: John “Mac” Bowen, Ezra Blanks, Robin Coleman, Otis Evans, Joe Bryant, Roger Carroll and Stephanie Bryan.
The next regular board meeting will be held Monday, May 7, at 7 p.m. at the Bladenboro Town Hall.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.