Dare County Manager/Attorney Bobby Outten is expected to inform the Town Council at its meeting tomorrow how much of a financial contribution the Town will receive from the County’s Beach Nourishment Occupancy Tax Fund for its 2022 beach nourishment project.

The Town Council will meet tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center. Anyone wishing to attend the meeting in person must observe infection-control protocols, including wearing a facial covering. The meeting will be live-streamed at Southern Shores – YouTube.

Dare County sets aside one-third of the 6-percent occupancy taxes that it collects from rentals of all local lodging accommodations for its Beach Nourishment Fund (BNF).

All of the Dare County towns that have performed beach nourishment thus far have received monies from the BNF.

Town Manager Cliff Ogburn estimated in an email to The Beacon last week that the County will allocate to Southern Shores about “$7 million upfront with a yearly contribution to the debt service [of] around $750,000 a year.” 

Mr. Outten, a Chicahauk resident who is expected to appear at the meeting in person, will “share with the Council how the money in the County [BNF] is going to be allocated for each [Dare County beach] town,” Mr. Ogburn said.

In addition to Southern Shores, the unincorporated community of Avon on Hatteras Island has submitted a first-time beach nourishment proposal to Dare County. The towns of Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and Nags Head also are seeking funds for their upcoming re-nourishment projects.

“It looks like the [County’s] plan is to reduce [its] contribution to each town’s project by the amounts of . . . recent grant awards” by the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality, Mr. Ogburn explained.

Southern Shores, Nags Head, and Kitty Hawk each received $1,408,247.19 from the State, while Duck and Kill Devil Hills received $1,450,921.35.

Mr. Ogburn confirmed that Southern Shores does not yet know how much its 2022 project will cost because engineers with Coastal Protection Engineering of North Carolina (CPE) have not told the Town “the amount of cubic yards of sand we need.”

He is anticipating a $14 million to $16 million project.

CPE, formerly known as APTIM Coastal Planning and Engineering of North Carolina, is the Wilmington-based engineering firm that the Town has hired to handle all aspects of its 2022 project.

“Right now,” Mr. Ogburn said, “I’m still figuring on the MSD [municipal service district] and townwide revenue needing to generate about $1,250,000 per year.”

In addition to the usual Town staff reports, tomorrow’s meeting agenda features the appointment of a new member to the Historic Landmarks Commission to replace founding member Lorelei Costa, who will be honored for her contribution; direction to the Town Planning Board to conduct its final review of the Town Code update/revision by CodeWright Planners, a project that is 5½ years in the making; and consideration of the Town’s participation in the formulation of the North Carolina League of Municipalities’ legislative goals.

Mr. Ogburn is advising the Town Council to “review, discuss, and determine” which 10 of the NCLM’s 17 espoused advocacy and policy goals it supports and to designate a voting delegate to cast a ballot with these chosen goals by a Jan. 15 deadline.

The NCLM is a membership organization that represents the interests of towns and cities in North Carolina. See Home- North Carolina League of Municipalities (nclm.org).

We refer you to the meeting packet for an enumeration of the NCLM’s goals.

You may access the Town Council’s agenda and meeting packet at https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/minutes-agendas-newsletters/Meeting-Packet_2021-01-05.pdf.

You may present public comments in person at the meeting or submit them in advance in an email, with “public comment” in the subject line, to info@southernshores-nc.gov.

UPDATE ON VACCINE ROLLOUT: We have learned that the Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services expects to provide details about vaccinations for local people who are age 75 or older and, therefore, are in the first group of Phase 1B, today at 2 p.m. We will report on the DCDHHS release as soon as practicably possible.

We will be very interested to see how Dare County plans to ration out the limited number of vaccine doses that it will receive.   

COVID-19 metrics posted today on the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ dashboard show a record-high 3,635 hospitalizations statewide and a record-high positivity rate of 16.5 percent. Deaths statewide now total 6,941 people.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 1/4/21  

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