3/3/20: LIGHT AGENDA FOR TOWN COUNCIL MEETING TOMORROW: TALK OF UNEXPENDED MONIES FROM APPROPRIATION FOR S. DOGWOOD TRAIL SIDEWALK, PROPOSAL TO UNITE FOUR TOWNS IN BEACH MANAGEMENT. Public Forum on Branch Library Set March 9

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This sign on East Dogwood Trail expresses one voter’s sentiments on Super Tuesday. North Carolina is one of 14 states–also including Virginia–holding their presidential primaries today. Political-party nominations for N.C. state and local offices are also being decided.

The Town has projected that the total cost of the South Dogwood Trail sidewalk will be about $717,489, which is $282,511 less than the $1 million appropriated from the Town’s undesignated fund balance to pay for it, according to an apparent committee report that will be discussed at the Town Council’s regular general meeting tomorrow.

Because of today’s primary, the Council will meet on the first Wednesday this month, rather than the first Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center. Voting will take place at the Pitts Center today until 7:30 p.m.

The Capital Infrastructure Improvement Planning (CIIP) Committee, which met last week and is now co-chaired by Councilmen Matt Neal and Jim Conners, has no jurisdiction over the South Dogwood Trail sidewalk project, but it appears from the meeting packet for tomorrow’s meeting that the committee has included the construction in a budget accounting of capital projects. (The Beacon was unable to cover last week’s CIIP Committee meeting.)

Besides a report, and possible recommendations, from the CIIP Committee co-chairs, the Town Council will take up a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) prepared by the Town of Duck for a coastal engineering and design consultant to manage, among other tasks, the maintenance cycle of the Duck, Southern Shores (at Pelican Watch), Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills beaches that were nourished in 2017. The RFQ smartly envisions a coordinated effort of beach management among the four towns.

Tomorrow’s Town Council business agenda is otherwise light, with the customary monthly staff reports, approval of the new Planning Board officers, and approval of a consent agenda that includes a resolution in support of a replacement for the Lindsey C. Warren Bridge, which crosses the Alligator River and is a connector along N.C. Hwy. 64, west of Dare County.

Interim Town Manager Wes Haskett’s report presumably will update the public on the status of a financing and tax-increase plan, to include potential municipal service districts, for nourishment of the entire Southern Shores shoreline. The Council requested this data from Mr. Haskett and the Town’s financial consultant, DEC Associates, at its Jan. 21 workshop meeting.

You may access the agenda and meeting packet here: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/minutes-agendas-newsletters/Meeting-Packet_2020-03-04.pdf.

PROPOSED RFQ FROM CONSULTANTS

The detailed, but currently incomplete RFQ for what would be a multi-town coastal engineering consultant is broad in scope and ambition: It envisions a coordinated effort among the towns in planning and meeting their “shoreline management goals” and seeks a consultant who will provide “professional engineering consulting services for future beach nourishment and related shoreline management efforts” for all.

The draft RFQ document further reads in part:

“Although the Towns are not anticipating constructing another nourishment project for several years, the Towns wish to obtain consulting assistance now as we consider refinements to our approach, including development of long-term strategies, alternative approaches and associated funding mechanisms, and revisions to the Towns’ maintenance and monitoring plans.”

The dates for issuance by the Duck Town Clerk of the RFQ and for receipt of RFQ submissions have yet to be determined. All submissions are to be sent to Duck Town Hall.

LEFTOVER UNDESIGNATED FUNDS

The Town Council appropriated the money for the South Dogwood Trail sidewalk construction from the Town’s undesignated fund balance, which includes mandatory set-aside funds for emergencies, not from the FY 2019-20 capital-improvements budget.

The current fiscal-year capital budget is $662,340.

The budget report included in tomorrow’s meeting packet proposes that the “amount left from S. Dogwood Path [could be] available to use for other Capital Projects if Council so chooses.”

These monies also could be returned to the undesignated fund balance, if the “Council so chooses,” and applied, for example, to a future beach nourishment project.

The report also shows $377,616 of the fiscal-year capital budget of $662,340 not yet expended on the top four priority infrastructure projects.

The Beacon will give a full accounting of the CIIP Committee’s report and recommendations, as well as budgetary decisions by the Town Council on capital-improvement projects, after tomorrow’s meeting. We regret that we were unable to cover last week’s committee meeting.

The Town Council will hold the first of two fiscal year 2020-21 budget workshop meetings on March 24, at 9 a.m., in the Pitts Center.

PUBLIC FORUM ON BRANCH LIBRARY MARCH 9: The Town’s Exploratory Committee for Potential Branch Library will hold a public forum at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 9, in the Pitts Center, to seek support for the Dare County branch library that it has proposed in Southern Shores.

The committee has prepared an informational/promotional brochure for the so-called Northern Dare Library, which would be located at 6 Juniper Trail, in a building owned by TowneBank. You may access the brochure here: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/North-Dare-Library-Brochure-_Feb-2020.pdf.

TowneBank has offered to rent the 2,750-square-foot space to Dare County for 10 years at $1.00 per year. The design plan for the library, which is illustrated in the brochure, shows a computers/reading room, a conference/meeting room, and a youth-center room, in addition to a large main open area, a lobby, a librarian’s office, and restrooms.

According to the brochure, estimates for building adaptation costs run between $150,000 and $175,000, and the committee is working on an estimate of annual operating costs. All costs would be the responsibility of Dare County, if the County Commissioners approve the project.

If you support the library, The Beacon urges you to turn out for the forum.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 3/3/20

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