South Dogwood Trail

The low bid submitted for the South Dogwood Trail sidewalk construction project came in nearly $400,000 below the $1 million appropriated for the capital expense by the Town Council and was one of three bids accepted by the Town last week.

A fourth bid, submitted by Barnhill Contracting Co., was disqualified because it was incomplete. The bids were opened on Oct. 3.

The three acceptable bids, which range from $623,839.35 to $975,862.80, will be considered by the Town Council at its Nov. 6 regular meeting.

Earlier this year, the Council voted 3-2 to appropriate $1 million from the Town’s undesignated fund balance for the sidewalk project because the capital improvement budget has insufficient funds to pay for it. The principal purpose of the undesignated fund balance is to serve as an emergency reserve in case of natural disaster.

It is expected that the Town will receive some funding from Dare County for the project, perhaps as much as 50 percent of the total cost, according to an informed source.

Hatchell Concrete, Inc., of Manteo—a family-owned business which, according to its website, has been operating since 1988—submitted the low base bid. RPC Contracting, Inc., a contractor that the Town has frequently hired for infrastructure projects, bid $819,710.00 on the project, and Belvin Built General Contracting, Inc., of Powells Point, submitted the high bid.

Town Engineer Joseph J. Anlauf estimated a base-bid range on the sidewalk project of between $862,127.19 and $1,034,552.62, according to the Town’s bid documentation.

See https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Sealed-Bid-Tabulation-S-Dogwood-Path.pdf

Construction of the sidewalk has been conceptualized in two segments: one starting at the intersection of North, South, and East Dogwood trails and running to Fairway Drive, and the other starting at Fairway Drive and running to the Southern Shores Cemetery. Five pedestrian crossings have been planned: at Sassafras Lane, Yaupon Trail, Marina Circle, Osprey Lane, and Wild Swan Lane.

Each contractor’s proposal should be included in the meeting packet for the Nov. 6 Town Council meeting, so the public can see what each bidder has in mind.


In a 9/28/19 blog, The Beacon recalled recent history of Town Council elections in Southern Shores. We promised to fill in some blanks about the November 2011 election, when Jodi Hess, David Sanders, and Larry Lawhon were elected to the three open seats.

The Beacon has confirmed that the three ran unopposed. According to Dare County election records, only 240 votes were cast, reflecting a 9.23 percent turnout of the town’s 2600 registered voters. Both Mrs. Hess (2003, 2007) and Mr. Sanders (2003) had earlier been elected to the Town Council in contested elections, but Mr. Lawhon had not.

Two years later, incumbent Town Councilman George Kolwalski ran unsuccessfully for mayor, and Leo Holland ran unopposed for Mr. Kowalski’s Council seat.

Although Town Council elections have been contested before—e.g., in 2003, six candidates ran for three seats—the number of candidates vying in the November 2015 election for Mrs. Hess’s, Mr. Sanders’s, and Mr. Lawhon’s seats was unprecedented. Eight candidates ran, of whom current Town Councilmen Gary McDonald, Fred Newberry, and Christopher Nason were the top vote-getters. Only Mr. Newberry is running for re-election.

The Town Council election The Beacon finds the most intriguing was a November 2009 face-off between George Kowalski and Brian McDonald, who was then the incumbent. Mr. Kowalski beat Mr. McDonald by two votes! The tally was 495-493. Even more stunning: Mr. Kowalski was a write-in candidate.

Regretfully, I do not know the politics behind this election, although I voted in it. Can anyone fill in the blanks?

REMEMBER, the Town Council candidates’ forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Dare County is Monday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the Pitts Center. You will be given an opportunity to submit questions that you’d like to ask the candidates. The candidates will answer selected questions and also be allotted time to give opening and closing statements.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 10/5/19

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