The Town Council will decide tomorrow whether or not to add an estimated $19,500 to proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budgetary expenditures to pay for holding three no-left-turn weekends this summer in order to curb and count northbound cut-through traffic through Southern Shores’ residential areas.
The Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Pitts Center for its regular June meeting. The public may join the meeting through a Zoom videoconference.*
The no-left-turn cost estimate is based on per-weekend expenses of 1) $6,700 to set up, maintain, and retrieve 60 traffic barrels, as well as to erect signage and windstands, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 158-east and South Dogwood Trail, and 2) $2,800 to have two Southern Shores police officers monitor the intersection for traffic violations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In June 2018, when the Town held its first successful no-left-turn weekend, it paid $6,200 to block the left-turn lane on U.S. Hwy. 158 during the same hours.
The Town received a quote dated March 4, 2020 from P.D. Brooks Traffic Control, which is included in the meeting packet (p. 75), requesting $500 more per weekend. No other quotes appear to have been obtained by the Town. Police department expenses were $2,800 two years ago and apparently have not been increased.
A majority of the Town Council decided not to decide whether to fund three no-left-turn weekends at its April 21 budget meeting because of COVID-19-related concerns about both an anticipated revenue shortfall and an anticipated drop-off in vacationer traffic.
Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Morey, who was one of the co-sponsors of the citizens’ committee to address cut-through traffic, said at that meeting that committee chairperson Tommy Karole discouraged having no-left-turn weekends this summer because of the aberrant times.
Town Councilman Matt Neal, who is also a co-sponsor of the citizens’ committee, wisely suggested delaying a vote on the no-left-turn funding until June 1. Because of COVID-19, the citizens’ committee never met to vote on a formal recommendation, according to Mr. Karole.
See The Beacon, 5/27/20 and in April budget reports, for more background.
You may express your opinion on the no-left-turn funding at tomorrow’s meeting during the public hearing scheduled on the proposed FY 2020-21 budget or in public comments. We recommend the latter.
The proposed budget, which is balanced at $5,908,243, currently contains no funding for cut-through traffic-control. See https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/town-government/administration/public-documents/budget-fy-2020-2021-filed-with-the-clerk/.
The Council must approve a balanced budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, by June 30.
The Town Council also will hold a public hearing tomorrow on adopting the new flood maps and updating the Town Code flood damage prevention ordinance.
The Beacon has not covered the considerable efforts expended by the Town Planning Board in dealing with the new maps and drafting an amendment to chapter 16 of the Town Code. We refer you to extensive materials in the meeting packet.
There is no time limitation on remarks given during a public hearing, although speakers are asked to be as concise as possible. Public comments outside of a hearing must be kept to three minutes.
You may submit your remarks to Town Clerk Sheila Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org. before 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, and she will give them to a Council member to be read aloud at the meeting. You also may speak during the meeting through Zoom by requesting time in a chat message to Ms. Kane.
If you email Ms. Kane, be sure to indicate in the subject matter line: “Southern Shores Town Council Meeting June 1, 2020—Budget Public Hearing comments” or alternatively, “Southern Shores Town Council Meeting June 1, 2020—Public Comments.”
Also on the Council’s agenda is a verbal update about the Town’s efforts to renew actual curbside recycling.
Currently, all “recycling” that Bay Disposal & Recycling picks up is being taken to a waste-to-energy facility in Portsmouth, Va., for incineration. The Town is considering contracting with Recycling and Disposal Solutions (RDS) of Virginia, which operates a materials recycling facility in Portsmouth.
The Beacon has extensively covered the Town’s recycling crisis and will report in detail on tomorrow’s update.
*See details on electronic participation at https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Southern-Shores-Town-Council-Meeting-Notice-Electronic-Participation-June-1-2020-1.pdf (You must download Zoom before you try to access the meeting. Once you have the software on your computer, you will be able go to the Zoom website, click on “join the meeting,” and enter the meeting code number.)
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 5/31/20