After nearly three hours of a line-by-line examination of proposed fiscal year 2020-21 revenues and expenses, led by Interim Town Manager/Budget Officer Wes Haskett and Finance Officer Bonnie Swain, the Southern Shores Town Council took an hourlong recess from today’s budget workshop for lunch. When it resumes the meeting at 12:45 p.m., it will finally get to a discussion about balancing the budget and about a prospective beach nourishment project, as well as other proposals.

Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Morey, who said, “I expected us to be a lot further along” after three hours, expressed an interest in scheduling another meeting next week, but she was informally overruled by Town Council members who wanted to “plow through,” as Councilman Matt Neal said.

Ms. Swain said that scheduling a meeting next week would compromise her ability to work with Mr. Haskett on preparing a balanced budget to present to the Council at its May 5 meeting.

As The Beacon reported yesterday, Mr. Haskett, as interim town manager/budget officer, is obligated by N.C. law to submit a balanced budget, but he is not obligated by law to submit one as early as May 5. That is his choice.

State law requires a municipal budget officer to submit the budget, along with a budget message, to the governing board no later than June 1; and the submission need not be at a formal meeting. (See N.C. Gen. Stat. sec. 159-11(b).)

Please tune into Zoom videoconferencing at 12:45 p.m., if you can.

Once you have downloaded the Zoom software, all you need to do to watch the workshop is to click on “Join the meeting” and to provide the following meeting ID number when you are prompted: 952-9642-3158.

(If anyone from Town Hall or the Town Council reads this, please tell Mr. Neal that he is not audible. He needs to speak directly and clearly into his microphone.)

The Beacon will post a report about the budget workshop later in the week. We anticipate that we will be busy with news of Dare County’s plan to lift entry restrictions. As reported earlier today, we expect non-resident property owners to be allowed entry some time on Thursday.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 4/21/20

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