Bladenboro mulls housing authority merger

BLADENBORO — The Bladenboro Town Council heard a proposal from Executive Director of the Joint Municipal Housing Authority Stevie Craig regarding combining the three housing authorities in Bladen County into one.

“They came to us a while back,” said Mayor Rufus Duckworth.

He explained that currently in the county there are three municipal housing authorities — Bladenboro, Clarkton and Elizabethtown.

The Bladenboro Housing Authority operates two units with 26 rental units in each, according to Duckworth. He said that Bladenboro also oversees one unit in Dublin. Elizabethtown has one unit with 26 rental units and Clarkton has two complexes.

Duckworth said that the housing authority office is located in Bladenboro and everything must be done in triplicate. He explained that each housing authority under the current make up must have its own audit, each housing authority must have its own auditor, and such.

“The state is always looking for ways to save money. What they want to do is combine it and not have to duplicate everything. One office staff is already handling everything anyway,” said Duckworth.

He added that currently each board has five members and under the bi-laws of the housing authority the board cannot exceed 11 members. Duckworth also pointed out that any housing authority can opt out of combining if they choose to do so.

“We made a proposal (to the housing authority),” said Duckworth.

He said first Dublin was asked if they would like to have a representative on the housing authority board and the answer was yes. Duckworth said the proposal presented by the board called for three members from Bladenboro, three members from Clarkton, two members from Elizabethtown and one member from Dublin based on the number of units at each housing authority.

Duckworth said now his board is waiting to hear back.

“It’s nothing against Elizabethtown, but we have more units than Elizabethtown. We just want a fair voice in it,” said Duckworth.

In other business:

— The board held a closed session to consider hiring a new police officer. Duckworth said the new officer will be Jonathan DiCicco and he will begin his duties on July 29.

— The board also voted to discontinue a farming lease on the McLean Park property.

— The board heard from members with the NC Department of Transportation regarding the state’s comprehensive transportation plan.

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