Resident ready to take on Bladenboro over allegations of wrongdoing

W. Curt Vinjcent -

BLADENBORO — Claims of wrongdoing and threats of legal action in the form of lawsuits were aimed at the Bladenboro Town Council on Monday by a resident who reached back more than 12 years as he detailed the alleged concerns.

Dawson Singletary spoke to the board during the open forum portion of the meeting and, while board members sat silently listening, Singletary slowly explained that “back around 2003 or 2004” his family was the high bidder when the town was looking for someone to maintain a spray field as part of a water treatment grant.

“But we were rejected,” Singletary said. “I even told Mr. (Delane) Jackson (the town manager at that time) that I would get myself certified and obtain the spray certification at no charge to the town. We were still turned down.”

He went on to say that he soon learned that two town residents had created a company called Cygnus and that the town had spent $300,000 to $500,000 for wastewater management.

“Payments were made to Cygnus for the spraying,” Singletary said. “I thought this was wrong, so I contacted the SBI and FBI to look into it.

“And now, I’d like to ask you to contact the governor and attorney general about this,” he added. “There’s a lot more we need to discuss, but I don’t think it should be done in public. I’ll do it in public if I have to and I’ve considered a lawsuit against the town because of the money I’ve lost and the stress it’s caused me. I hate to be that way, but …”

Singletary wasn’t done, either.

He shifted to another issue, this one centering around Bryant Swamp, and said the town board not only denied him the right to mitigate the area but falsely notified the Secretary of State’s Office that a Bryant Swamp Drainage Corporation had been formed. He said he went through years of records and “could find no proof the organization had held a proper meeting.”

When he was finished, only Commissioner Cris Harrelson spoke on the matter.

“This is news to me; it’s the first I’m hearing about this — but Mr. Jackson is no longer here,” he said. “This board wants to be above board and transparent, but we would need to dig more into this before we can discuss it with you.

In other business, the board:

— Heard from resident Charles Benton that rain has been collecting in a ditch near his home and filling with 11 or 12 inches of water. “I’ve been tolerant, but my next step will be to the health department,” he said.

— Approved K&S Builders of Bladenboro to install a 40-foot flagpole in front of the Town Hall at a cost of $1,850.

— Heard from Town Administrator John O’Daniel that he is working on a Standard Operating Procedures Handbook for the police department; a personnel policies manual for town employees; and that the Depot Building was in need of new roof shingles and some repair to the roof structure. “The siding is also being tested for asbestos,” he added.

— Commissioner Billy Ray Benson discussed concerns about the high grass in areas around the town and, despite many of the areas in question being the responsibility of NCDOT, “if it’s within our town limits, it doesn’t look good for the town and it’s a safety issue.”

The next meeting of the Town Board will be Monday, Sept.12, at 7 p.m.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

*The board heard a complaint from Charles Benton regarding standing water in a road ditch behind town hall. According to Benton, the ditch has about 12 inches of water standing in it following Monday afternoon’s rain. He requested the town staff look into the matter.

W. Curt Vinjcent

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