Lou’s Views

Town Meeting 06/19/18

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet
For more information
» click here


Noel Fox the Town Attorney legal recommendation was to change the meeting agenda and remove the Public Hearing. Noel said that we need to measure twice but cut once. The Town received approval from FEMA for revisions to the Holden Beach Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). These map revisions will be effective August 28, 2018 once the Town formally updates our local Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. Not to worry, we just need to get this done before the August effective date.

PUBLIC HEARING:
Proposed Ordinance to Incorporate New Flood Insurance Rate Maps into the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances (Ordinance 18-11, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 154: Flood Damage Prevention, Section 154.05, Basis for Establishing the Special Flood Hazard Areas) and An Update to the Town’s Official Zoning Map to Reflect the New FEMA Approved Flood Zones. 

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / ORDINANCE 18 – 11

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHAPTER 154: FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION (SECTION 154.05 BASIS FOR ESTABLISHING THE SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREAS)

BE IT ORDAINED BY the Mayor and Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina that the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 154: Flood Damage Prevention be amended as follows:

Section One:
Amend Section 154.05 Basis for Establishing the Special Flood Hazard Areas as follows (new wording in red):

§154.05 BASIS FOR ESTABLISHING THE SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREAS.
The special flood hazard areas are those identified under the Cooperating Technical State (CTS) agreement between the State of North Carolina and FEMA in its Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and its accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), for Brunswick County dated August 28, 2018, which are adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this chapter.

Section Two:
The Town Clerk is directed to forward this ordinance to American Legal Publishing for inclusion in the next published supplement to the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances.

Section Three:
This ordinance shall be effective the 20th day of June, 2018.


 1. Public Comments on Agenda Items

There were no comments


2. Discussion and Possible Action – Construction Management Services of the Vacuum Sewer System #4 Upgrade Status Report – Public Works Director Clemmons 

Previously reported – December 2017
McGill and Associates were commissioned to perform a Sewer Study to evaluate sewer system vulnerability reducing measures. A fiscal year 2017-2018 budget appropriation of $1,413,000 was made to accommodate total programmatic expenses of Lift Station #4 improvements. Green Engineering firm was awarded the $158,000 contract for Sewer System #4 upgrade. Green Engineering will provide all engineering services required to construct a vulnerability reducing structure of Lift Station #4.

Previously reported – April 2018
Four (4) meetings have been held between staff and the engineering firm to date. The final plans were delivered to the Town and have been reviewed and approved by the Building Inspector. Deliverables – Timeline has been revised. Buildings were designed in the same style as Town Hall. We are currently on schedule, but Chris cautioned that it was still early in the game. The Board requested monthly updates, reporting on whether we remained on schedule and within budget.

Previously reported – May 2018
We’ve had a slight setback, we did not receive the three (3) bids required to move forward. Officially we accepted no bids, the two bids submitted will be held and opened upon the completion of the second go round. Chris was a little surprised and disappointed since their appeared to be a lot of interest when they held meeting with vendors. We will need to start the bid process over. The protocols on the second bid process do not require the three bids but the caveat is we can only consider quality bids.

Update –
BOC’s SPECIAL MEETING / May 23, 2018     
Approved award of the Lift Station #4 upgrade contract to T.A. Loving Company in the amount of $1,205,000

Total project cost went from $1,413,000 to $1,695,700 or a $282,700 difference
Contingency funds were reduced from $157,400 to $52,480 or a $104,920 difference
Bottomline, the project cost just went up $387,620 ($282,700 + $104,920) or @27% (Yikes!)

A pre-construction meeting is scheduled for June 28th
We should have a tentative construction start date then

 My Two Cents - CR II

.
This really could be handled with a memo from Chris to the Board.
It is unnecessary to have a monthly presentation to report the number of meetings that were held, number and amount of checks that were cut. Presentation should only be made if something significant has transpired.


3. Police Report – Chief Wally Layne

Police Patch
Typical summertime fun at the beach

We are just beginning the hurricane season –
make sure your plans are in order


Personnel Changes –
The Officer they hired is onboard and is doing field training


Public Safety Announcement
Chief Layne would like to remind everyone that it is important to protect your personal property. Annual event – transition from home break- ins to vehicle break- ins. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. He used the term break-ins loosely since most of the vehicles were left unlocked. He preaches the same sermon to us each year to protect your personal property. Don’t be a volunteer victim! Remove all items of value from your vehicle when you are not driving it. Always lock your vehicle doors when you are not in it. Leaving items on display, whether on the dashboard or sitting on a passenger seat, is an invitation to opportunist individuals. Make sure to follow these important tips!


Crime Prevention 101 – Don’t make it easy for them
Don’t leave vehicles unlocked
Don’t leave valuables in your vehicles


A reminder of the Town’s beach strand ordinances:
…..1)
Chapter 90 / Animals / § 90.20 / Responsibilities of owners
…….a)
pets are not allowed on the beach strand except between 5p.m. and 9a.m. daily
…….b)
dog’s must be on a leash at all times
…….c)
owner’s need to clean up after their animals
…..2)
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / § 94.05 / Digging of holes on beach strand
…….a)
digging holes greater than 12 inches deep without responsible person there
…….b)
holes shall be filled in prior to leaving
…..3)
Chapter 94 / Beach regulations / § 94.06 / Placing obstructions on the beach strand
…….a)
all unattended beach equipment must be removed daily by 6:00pm


Pets on the beach strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / § 90.20
From May 20th through September 10th
It is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand
. • During the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm

Unattended Gear
Ordinance 94.06 was passed on September 14, 2010. Beginning April 23, 2011, all unattended beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user daily. All unattended personal equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 6PM and 7AM will be classified as abandoned property and will be disposed of by the Town.

Educational Sign
The Town has put flashing educational signs at the bottom of the bridge on the island side. The sign messages were a huge help last year minimizing the need for Beach Strand Ordinance Enforcement. It has been the most effective communication medium used to date. Intent is to educate people before they get on the beach strand.

Defensive Driving
Be mindful on the road, tourists are out there and frankly many of them are not paying attention. Defensive driving is driving characterized by prudence, diligence and reasonable cautiousness. Its aim is to reduce the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the actions of others.

Golf Carts
Golf carts are treated the same as other automotive vehicles
Town ordinances state no parking anytime on OBW
Therefore golf carts are illegally parked when left by any beach access points


Golf Cart Reminders

In the State of North Carolina, if a golf cart is to be operated on the streets, highways or public vehicular areas, it is considered a motor vehicle and subject to all laws, rules and regulations that govern motor vehicles. In short, the golf cart must have all of the following:
    • The driver MUST have a current, valid Driver’s License
.     • Child Restraint Laws must be followed
.     • Headlights
.     • Tail lights
.     • Turn signals
.     • Rear view mirrors
    • State Inspection Sticker
.     • License Plate Issued by NCDMV
.     • Liability Insurance

Since most Golf carts are purchased and a bill of sale is given to the buyer, the owner must apply for a title through the NC License Plate Office. In order to receive a title through this agency, you must have a notarized bill of sale and proof of liability insurance. If the golf cart is purchased from a dealer, you must also have the certificate of origin for the vehicle.

All of the streets in the Town (including the side streets) are considered streets or public vehicular areas according to the State Law. This means that to operate a golf cart anywhere on the island, you must meet the standards above. Also, golf carts may not be operated on streets with posted speed limit greater than 35 mph. 

Neighborhood Watch

  • Need to look out for each other and report any suspicious activity
  • Call 911 if you see or hear anything suspicious
  • Fill out Keep Check Request Form if you will be out of town
  • Submit completed Property Registration Form
  • Pickup copy of Protecting Your Home

Noel Fox the Town Attorney legal recommendation was to change the meeting agenda and remove this item.

4. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 18-11, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 154: Flood Damage Prevention (Section 154.05, Basis for Establishing the Special Flood Hazard Areas) – Building Official Evans

Agenda Packet –
The model flood plain ordinance is a mandatory requirement for participants in the National Flood Insurance Program. Adoption allows homeowners to have access to affordable government regulated insurance. The adoption of the revisions of the zoning ordinance to include the flood zone overlays provides the community with a consistent map, meeting the state requirements for updates.

 TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / ORDINANCE 18-11

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH CODE OF ORDINANCES, CHAPTER 154: FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION (SECTION 154.05 BASIS FOR ESTABLISIDNG THE SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREAS)

BE IT ORDAINED BY the Mayor and Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina that the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 154:  Flood Damage Prevention be amended as follows:

Section One: Amend Section 154.05 Basis for Establishing the Special Flood Hazard Areas; as follows (new wording in red):

§154.05 BASIS FOR ESTABLISHING THE SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREAS.
The special flood hazard areas are those identified under the Cooperating Technical State (CTS) agreement between the State of North Carolina and FEMA in its Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and its accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), for Brunswick County dated August 28, 2018, which are adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this chapter.

Section Two: The Town Clerk is directed to forward this ordinance to American Legal Publishing for inclusion in the next published supplement to the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances.

Section Three: This ordinance shall be effective the 20th day of June, 2018.


Noel Fox the Town Attorney legal recommendation was to change the meeting agenda and remove this item.

5. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 18-03, An Ordinance Amending the Official Zoning Map of the Town of Holden Beach – Building Official Evans

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / RESOLUTION 18-03

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE OFFICIAL ZONING MAP OF THE TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH

WHEREAS, FEMA has approved revisions to the Holden Beach Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM); and

WHEREAS
, These map revisions will be effective August 28, 2018 and be incorporated into the Town’s Code of Ordinances, with the adoption of Ordinance 18-11, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinance, Chapter 154, Flood Damage Prevention (Section 154.05 Basis for Establishing the Special Flood Hazard Area); and

WHEREAS, The Town’s official zoning map is also proposed to be updated to reflect the new FEMA approved FIRM.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners that the map created by Gary Gurganus land Surveying, dated May 29, 2018 supersedes and replaces the current zoning map as the official zoning map of the Town of Holden Beach.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners that the new official zoning map shall be identified by the signature of the Mayor, attested by the Town Clerk and bear the seal of the Town.

Previously reported – February 2018
Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM)
The preliminary maps were published in August 2014. In February 2018 the Town received approval from FEMA for revisions to the Holden Beach Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). These map revisions will be effective August 28, 2018 once the Town formally updates our local ordinances. The Town staff is working on an implementation schedule and anticipates being able to use the new maps for construction in late May.

Previously reported – April 2018
North Carolina General Statutes require public hearings for adoption and amendment of land use ordinances, and a Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance is considered a land use ordinance.

o   County – § 153A-323

o   Municipality – § 160A-364

Before adopting or amending any ordinance authorized by this …, the [community] shall hold a public hearing on it. A notice of the public hearing shall be given once a week for two successive calendar weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the area. The notice shall be published the first time not less than 10 days nor more than 25 days before the date fixed for the hearing. In computing such period, the day of publication is not to be included but the day of the hearing shall be included.

The Town needs to adopt FPM Ordinance for it to be effective on August28, 2018. Tim will submit Ordinance at the next scheduled regular meeting for the BOC’s approval. We can start using the preliminary maps once we adopt the Ordinance. But we can’t get a reduction in our flood insurance rates until the new maps become effective at the end of August.

TOWN WEBSITE –
The Town has received approval from FEMA for revisions to the Holden Beach Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). These map revisions will be effective August 28, 2018 once the Town formally updates our local ordinances. The Town staff is working on an implementation schedule and anticipates being able to use the new maps for construction in late May. These maps may be viewed at http://www.ncfloodmaps.com.

Previously reported – May 2018
The Board has scheduled to hold a Public Hearing at the BOC’s June Regular Meeting


6. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 18-04, Resolution Adopting System Development Fees Report –Public Works Director Clemmons

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / RESOLUTION 18-04

RESOLUTION ADOPTING SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEES REPORT

WHEREAS, Session law 2017-138 (House Bill 436) known as the “Public Water and Sewer System Development Fee Act” sets certain standards and limitations before a town may adopt a system development fee for water and sewer service; and

WHEREAS, said Act requires that a system development fee be established only after written analysis prepared by a qualified financial professional or qualified licensed professional engineer in a manner as set forth in said Act; and

WHEREAS, the Town of Holden Beach has retained McGill Associates, a qualified and licensed professional engineer and consulting firm, to perform said analysis in accordance with said Act; and

WHEREAS, McGill Associates has performed said analysis and delivered a written report to the Town of Holden Beach pursuant to said Act; and

WHEREAS, the Audit Committee of the Town of Holden Beach has reviewed the report and had no comment other than it appeared to be accomplished in accordance with the Act; and

WHEREAS, the analysis has been posted on the Town’s website as required in said Act and a public hearing has been held as required in said Act; and

WHEREAS, all other conditions, standards and requirements of said Act has been satisfied.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLIVED by the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners that the Town hereby adopts and approves the Cost-Justified Water and Wastewater System Development Fees Report created by McGill Associates, dated March 2018.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


7. Discussion and Possible Approval or Resolution 18-05, Resolution Amending the Fee Schedule for the Town of Holden Beach – Public Works Director Clemmons

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / RESOLUTION 18-05

 RESOULUTION AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH FEE SCHEDULE

WHEREAS. the Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners adopted the Cost-Justified Water and Wastewater System Development   Fees Report created by McGill Associates, dated March 2018; and

WHEREAS, the Holden Beach Fee Schedule needs to be updated to reflect the recommendations in the Report.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina does hereby approve the deletion of the Impact Fees and the Share Cost sections and the addition of the Water and Sewer System Development Fees (Attachment 1) to the Holden Beach Fee Schedule.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


8. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 18-10, An Ordinance to Appropriate Revenues and Authorize Expenses for the Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2018 and Ending June 30, 2019 – Town Manager Hewett 

No presentation was made
Proposed budget balanced with revenues equaling expenses

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

BOC’s approved the town’s $20.9 million-dollar budget ordinance for the upcoming fiscal year.

In the past, Hewett did a presentation that included the following:
.     1)
Highlights
.     2) What it does
.     3) What it doesn’t do
.     4) Concerns

Ad Valorem Tax
Estimated 2018 tax base is $1,226,337 with tax rate of $.220 per $100 of assessed value
.       a) $1,226,337 X $.220 = $2,697,941
.       b) $2,697,941 X 98.54 = $2,658,551
        •
Tax collection rate of 98.54%

A penny generates $122,634 of tax revenue

 

 

The Town’s $20.9 million-dollar 2018-19 fiscal year budget was adopted as submitted. In previous years the budget message has been accepted as a fait accompli; in other words, the Board has accepted the proposed budget in its entirety. There was a bit more dialogue this year, but still don’t see how things are much different.


9. Discussion and Possible Nomination of Members to the Inlet and Beach Protection Board – Town Clerk Finnell

Previously reported – April 2018
Ordinance 18-02
An Ordinance Establishing the Inlet and Beach Protection Board

§35.02 POWERS AND DUTIES.

The Inlet and Beach Protection Board shall:

(A) Serve as an advisory board for the town;

(B) Prepare and recommend to the Board of Commissioners, a comprehensive long-term plan for the Town’s role, if any, in the management, dredging and protection of the Lockwood Folly and Shallotte Inlets, including their respective navigational channels, and the management, protection and nourishment of the town’s ocean beaches and protective dune systems

(C) Evaluate the feasibility and cost and benefits of proposed dredging projects, beach and/or dune nourishment projects and protective structure projects to the town and to property owners within the town as a whole, and make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners with respect to such projects;

(D)  With the assistance of the Attorney assigned to support the Inlet and Beach Protection

Board make recommendations   to the Board of Commissioners for amendments   or modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to the “frontal dune” and “protective dune system”;

(E)  With the assistance of the Attorney assigned to support the Inlet and Beach Protection Board, make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners for modifications to the town’s ordinances with respect to public and private beach access walkways which promote protection and growth of the town’s protective dune systems;

 (F) Serve as a link between the Board of Commissioners, Town Manager and the community on the above described areas;

(G) Perform such other duties within or related to the general purview of the Inlet and Beach Protection Board which may assigned to it from time-to-time by the Board of Commissioners.

Update –
Eight members of the public put in an application for the five Board positions. BOC’s appointed five (5) members to the Board. The Board selected – Ronda Dixon, Vicki Myers, Mike Pearson, Richard Rice, and Dean Thomas.


I’m a little confused. The BOC’s appointed members to the Board without even interviewing some of them.
Nothing for nothing, but it makes the interview process appear to be a charade.

 


10. Discussion and Possible Scheduling of a Date to Hold Interviews for Upcoming Vacancies on Town Boards – Town Clerk Finnell

If needed, they will schedule a Special Meeting fifteen (15) minutes before the next Regular Meeting.


11. Discussion of Suggested Rules of Procedure and Consideration of Appropriateness to Create an Amended Ordinance – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Previously reported – December 2017
The Board of Commissioners are required to adopt Rules of Procedure per the Town’s Code of Ordinances Section §30.19.

§30.19 RULES OF PROCEDURE.
The BOC shall adopt such rules of procedure not inconsistent with North Carolina General Statutes at their regular scheduled meeting each December, or at other such times deemed appropriate, and publish same in the office of the Town Clerk.

This Board chose to continue under the current rules adopted by the previous Board. They plan to revisit this issue after the three (3) new members of the Board complete their training course

Previously reported – April 2018
Commissioner Kwiatkowski attempted to incorporate the suggested Rules of Procedure for a City Council that was recently released by the School of Government with the version the 2015- 2017 Board adopted. It did not go well. Commissioner Kwiatkowski and Commissioner Freer have agreed to work together and try to resolve.  Mayor Pro Tem Sullivan recommended rather than meld the two they should use the School of Government template and modify that document making only minor adjustments.

 Update –
Commissioner Patricia Kwiatkowski made the presentation. Pat wanted both the Board and the public to have an opportunity to look at it before it was adopted. They are scheduled to vote on it at the next Regular Meeting.

No decision was made – No action taken


12. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 18-06, Resolution Designating July as Park and Recreation Month – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / RESOLUTION 18-06

Designation of July as Park and Recreation Month

WHEREAS parks and recreation programs are an integral part of communities throughout this country, including The Town of Holden Beach; and

WHEREAS parks and recreation is vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in our communities, ensuring the health of all citizens, and contributing to the economic and environmental well-being of a community and region; and

WHEREAS parks and recreation programs build healthy, active communities that aid in the prevention of chronic disease; enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors by providing exceptional recreational, cultural and educational activities and volunteer opportunities; and also improve the mental and emotional health of all citizens; and

WHEREAS parks and recreation programs increase a community’s economic prosperity through increased property values, expansion of the local tax base, increased tourism, the attraction and retention of businesses, and crime reduction; and

WHEREAS parks and recreation areas are fundamental to the environmental well-being of our community; and

WHEREAS parks and natural recreation areas improve water quality, protect groundwater, prevent flooding, improve the quality of the air we breathe, provide vegetative buffers to development, and produce habitat for wildlife; and

WHEREAS our parks and natural recreation areas ensure the ecological beauty of our community and provide a place for children and adults to connect with nature and recreate outdoors; and

WHEREAS the U.S. House of Representatives has designated July as Park and Recreation Month; and

WHEREAS grant funding through US Fish and Wildlife, NC Division of Environmental Quality, and the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund has been instrumental in offsetting the cost of park construction projects to the Town; and

WHEREAS the Town of Holden Beach recognizes the benefits derived from parks and recreation resources.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach that July is recognized as Park and Recreation Month in the Town of Holden Beach.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


13. Town Manager’s Report

Roadway Work
Highland Paving has completed the maintenance of existing streets on the island. The streets that had work done this year were Marlin and Boyd.

Pointe West Storm Water Project
Vendor has completed his portion of the project.
The Town still has to complete its portion of the project.

 Scotch Bonnet
The Town installed drainage pipe to fix storm water issue

Canal Dredging
Previously reported – December 2017
Adoption Resolution 17-10, Water Resources Development Grant ($1,439,922)
The grant is good for two years and will accelerate our current dredging schedule. Each canal will be responsible for paying for their dredging project costs upfront. It is a reimbursement grant which means we do not receive the funds from the state until after satisfactory completion of the project.

The Town is planning to perform a complete dredge of all of the canals this coming fall/winter (November 2018 – Mar 2019). We have been apprised of recent changes regarding the obtainment of consent agreements for USACE dredge spoil areas.   Those changes will result in closer scrutiny of remaining capacity in existing sites; hence longer/unknown lead times and quite possibly denial of permission to place material from this fall’s canal maintenance dredging in the Corps disposal sites. The Town has been preparing the area adjacent to the dog park as an alternate site if unable to use the USACE dredge spoil areas. David reminded us that this is a big undertaking with lots of moving parts and will require considerable time and effort from the Town staff to pull it off without a hitch.

Curbside Recycling Program   
Waste Industries provides curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. We now have approximately four hundred and fifty (450) residents that participate in the recycling program.

Fire Hydrants
Public Works crew just completed the exercise of flushing the system


14. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(3) to Consider the Performance of an Employee


General Comments –

There were thirty-nine (39) members of the community in attendance

The BOC’s July Regular Meeting has been  rescheduled to the second Tuesday of the month, July 10th

Town Manager’s Review
The Town Managers performance review was supposed to be done on the anniversary date of his hire which is in February. Once again it was not done in a timely manner.

Corrections & Amplifications –

Apparently one of our subscribers (singular) took umbrage to My2Cents views on the Assistant Town Manager position. I was chastised for being overly negative. Be that as it may; our role involves informing people and I accurately reported the facts.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Sheesh!

Let’s revisit the situation again, shall we.

We have a Town Manager that makes $136,500, with just twenty-four (24) employees
We have a Police Chief with max salary of $86,000, with seven (7) subordinates
We have a Public Works Director with max salary of $81,000, with five (5) subordinates
We have a Planning Director with max salary of $69,000, with two (2) subordinates
We now have an Assistant TM with max salary of $74,000, with zero (0) subordinates

We have lots of Chiefs; Indians not so much.

The question that is being asked is: Why do we even need an Assistant Town Manager?
.
A need is something you have to have. It’s something you can’t do without.

In 2014 the max salary for Recreation Director position was $39,395 in 2018, just four years later, the max salary is now $74,063 a whapping 88% increase. Just so you know, when the position was originally created the consensus was why do we even need a Recreation Director. They asked: What are we a cruise ship? Keep in mind, Christy does not have a degree in local government administration or practical experience in municipal government administration. Despite the change in her title and salary she will basically continue to do what she is doing right now. In essence we’ve given Christy the title of Assistant Town Manager with the corresponding salary pay range without any of the duties or responsibilities that comes with that position.

They also posed the question, what have my comments done to staff morale. If there is a morale issue it’s not because of my views. More likely it’s because we gave the Town Manager a 39% salary increase and now we are giving the Recreation Manager a 19% increase while the rest of the staff is lucky to get a 3% merit increase.

I’d like to point out that I have never made one negative remark about Christy or the job she is doing. In fact, on several occasions I have given her Kudos and have acknowledged her contributions to our island. I get it, everyone loves Christy, and no one is objecting to that she has earned a salary increase. But the justification for the position reclassification and pay range change is weak. She is doing the same job, still doesn’t supervise anyone, and has no administrative responsibilities. Sorry, but I simply don’t understand how this makes any sense.

Once again, to be perfectly clear this has nothing to do with how I feel about the Town Manager or the Shoreline Protection & Recreation Manager and the jobs that they are doing, it is strictly about the BOC’s fiduciary responsibilities to us.

Keep in mind, the views expressed here are simply my opinion based on the facts as I understand them. I just tell it like it is and that is why people read the newsletter.
After all it is called “Lou’s Views”!


Budget
Kickoff of our budget season
Local governments must balance their budget by a combination of the following:
. 1)
Raising taxes
. 2)
Cutting spending
. 3)
Operating more efficiently
The Town Manager’s proposed budget is due by June 1st
Commissioners must adopt budget no later than June 30th for the next fiscal year

Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board.

Budget Meeting Schedule / 2018
. 1) 16 January BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives / Capital Program
* Only eleven (11) members of the community were in attendance
. 2) 19 January BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives
*
Only two (2) members of the community were in attendance
. 3) 23 February Canal Dredging Working Group
. 4)
9 March Departments input to Manager
. 5) 6 April
BOC’s Workshop Revenues
* Only five (5) members of the community were in attendance
. 6)
13 April BOC’s Workshop Expenses
* Only five (5) members of the community were in attendance
. 7) 3 May BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
* Only five (5) members of the community were in attendance
. 8) 23 May Special Meeting
* Only five (5) members of the community were in attendance
. 9)
31 May Budget Message
. 10)
13 June Public Hearing
* Only six (6) members of the community were in attendance
. 11)
19 June Regular BOC’s Meeting
. 12)
30 June Budget adopted (No Later Than)


Brunswick County budget proposes no tax increase, public hearing June 18
Brunswick County Manager Ann Hardy presented the 2018-19 budget proposal to county commissioners Monday night showing an operating budget of $242,689,100 with no increase in the tax rate. The property tax rate would remain at 48.50 cents for a fourth year.
Read more » click here


BOC’s SPECIAL MEETING / May 3, 2018
. 1) Budget Workshop Revenue and Expense
. 2) Budget Goals Status

The request made by the Board was for a top-level management summary. They simply want the Finance Department to roll-up the numbers from the Budget Message. It took the better part of an hour for them to get the Town Manager to agree to this requested reporting change. You can’t make this stuff up!

Once again, the Board talked about making changes. They want to have more input with greater participation in the process. To accomplish that will require scheduling additional workshop meetings. Sound familiar?

BOC’s SPECIAL MEETING / January 2017
Budget Workshop takeaways are as follows:
. 1)
Board wants to be more involved in the budget process
. 2)
Modified meeting schedule to have more time to discuss issues
. 3)
Board wants to take a Fiscal Conservative Approach
. 4)
Board wants to be engaged and have input not just rubber stamp submitted budget

It is now some sixteen (16) months later and all things are as they were …


BOC’s SPECIAL MEETING / May 23, 2018  
.     1.
Discussion and Possible Award of Contract and Associated Items for Vacuum Sewer System #4 Upgrade Green Engineering
      a)
Award of Contract
.       b)
Temporary Easement Agreement between the Town and Holden Beach West Property Owners Association
.       c)
Ordinance 1809, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 1708, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2017 2018 (Amendment No.4)

Re: Lift Station #4 Upgrade Contract Award and Associated Items

This memo proposes the BOC consider approval of the three items necessary to proceed with the upgrade of Sewer Lift Station #4, located near the west of Holden Beach.

Bids for the upgrade were received on May 17th at 2:00 p.m. at Town Hall. The apparent low bidder is T.A. Loving Company and Green’s Engineering has determined the bid is complete and responsive and recommends the Town award the contract to T.A. Loving Company.

The bid and the project’s required direct purchase equipment identified by the engineer will exceed the programmed budget by $283,000, which will drive the need for a budget amendment to that effect. Ordinance 18-09, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 17-08, The Revenues Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2017 – 2018 (Amendment No. 4) is included for your consideration.

The attainment of a temporary construction easement from the adjacent property owner will be required to obtain the necessary access for construction and lay down of building materials. The Town Attorney has prepared and obtained same. The Town will need to execute the easement in order to move forward with the project.

RECOMMENDATION
It is suggested that if the Board desires to stay on schedule at this time – action to approve / award the contract to T.A.  Loving Company  in the amount  of $1,205,000,  in addition  to approving  the budget amendment and easement should be made by motion to approve award of the Lift Station #4 upgrade contract  to T.A. Loving Company in the amount  of $1,205,000, approve the associated easement agreement  for  Tax Parcel 245GA130 and  approve  Ordinance  18-09, An Ordinance  Amending Ordinance  17-08, The  Revenues and  Appropriations  Ordinance  for  Fiscal Year  2017 – 2018 (Amendment No.4) in the amount of$283,000.

 A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Total project cost went from $1,413,000 to $1,695,700 or a $282,700 difference. Contingency funds were reduced from $157,400 to $52,480 or a $104,920 difference. Usual and customary to start with 15% and reduce it to just 5% once you have a firm construction cost figure. Bottomline, the project cost just went up $387,620  or @27%. Yikes! Needless to say the Board was not happy, they had some concerns and asked questions for clarification. Mr. Green whose engineering firm is handling the project was present and addressed their issues.  

The abridged version is as follows:

  • Had a lot of interest originally but only received two bids
  • It’s a complex project, with a tight timeline, and seasonal limitations because of tourists
  • Limited number of contractors capable of doing this project
  • Engineer’s good faith cost estimates were over one year old
  • Significant escalation in prices since then

.     2. PUBLIC HEARING: System Development Fees Analysis – McGill Associates

Previously reported –
Public Water and Sewer System Development Fee Act
Audit Committee BOC’s Tasker Regarding House Bill 436

House Bill 436
Authority to impose fees has been modified
Necessitates us having to retool water and sewer fee rate schedule
Recommends it be prepared by licensed professional engineer
Town Manager plans to commission McGill and Associates to develop rate schedule

North Carolina General Assembly – House Bill 1730 / S.L. 2004-96
Enacted on 07/13/2004
Gives us the authority to charge the sewer treatment fee
For more information » click here

Holden Beach Sewer Treatment Fee
For more information » click here

A sewer capital fee of $497.30 per developable property within the corporate limits of the Town of Holden Beach is authorized for the payment of debt service to fulfill the Town’s sewer capital obligation. Said fee is to be billed concurrently with ad valorem property taxes and collected in accordance with applicable North Carolina General Statues.

The Town Budget Ordinance is where the actual assessment is made
That levy is contained in language on page 7 of Ordinance 17-08
For more information » click here

House Bill 436 / Public Water and Sewer System Development Fee Act
Enacted on 07/20/2017
Eliminates the authority to charge the fee
Town must comply not later than July 1,2018
For more information » click here

System Development Fees Report
Click here to view the System Development Fees Report prepared by McGill and Associates in accordance with HB 436. Written comments on the report may be sent to heather@hbtownhall.com. Comments will also be accepted by mail at Town of Holden Beach, Attn: Heather Finnell, 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach, NC 28462. The Board will schedule a public hearing prior to considering the adoption of the analysis. Information on the public hearing date will be provided when available.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY and PURPOSE STATEMENT

Executive Summary:
The North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 436 in July 2017, amending Chapter 162A of the General Statutes by adding “Article 8, System Development Fees.” This amendment was enacted as “An Act to Provide for Uniform Authority to Implement System Development Fees for Public Water and Sewer Systems in North Carolina and to Clarify the Applicable Statute of Limitations.” in HB436, which requires compliance with designated calculation methodology by July 1, 2018.

In response to the House Bill 436, the Town of Holden Beach retained McGill Associates to complete a system development fee analysis. Based on the Town of Holden Beach’s combination of existing system capacity and planned capital improvements to expand capacity, the development fee, in accordance with HB 436 rules for an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) for water and sewer was calculated to be $20,577. ERU is defined as the water and sewer capacities required to serve the most typical user type, which is a three-bedroom single-family dwelling.

The fee for other types of development can be calculated by applying the calculated cost of capacity per gallon of flow per day to the water and wastewater demands for various uses as defined by NC Administrative Code 15A NCAC 18C .0409 and 15A NCAC 02T .0114 using the following table:

Holden Beach System Development Fees: Cost per Gallon per Day Calculation
Item Cost-Justified System Fee Cost of Capacity ($ / gpd)

1 Water System $14.48 ($ / gpd)
2 Sewer System $41.07 ($ / gpd)

Update –
Dale Schepers, Management Services Analyst, made the presentation

Purpose Statement:
This report documents the results of the approach, methodology and calculations for establishing system development fees in accordance with North Carolina general statue 162A, Article 8 “System Development Fees”. Through House Bill 436 (HB 436), the General Assembly of North Carolina established a uniform approach and associated methodology required for local governmental units to calculate and implement System Development Fees (SDF) for public water and sewer systems. Existing SDF, in place on October 1, 2017, are required to be conformed to HB 436 no later than July 1, 2018.  The SDF must be determined by a qualified engineer or financial professional using industry standard practices.

The overall result of this effort   will be establishing the maximum cost-justified System Development Fees allowable under HB 436. Holden Beach may elect to implement fees of lesser value; however, any adjustment must be calculated on a cost per unit volume basis, meaning the same cost per gallon adjustment must be applied equally to all customers.

Conclusion:
McGill Associates has calculated costs for water and wastewater capacity on a per gallon per day basis for the Town of Holden Beach. This calculation was performed using the Combined Method to account for the Town’s combination of existing capacity and planned future capacity expansion through capital expenditure. This calculation resulted in a development fee of $20,577 for an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU). ERU is defined as the water and sewer capacities required to serve the most typical user type, which is a three-bedroom single-family dwelling. The fee for other types of development can be calculated by applying the calculated the cost of capacity per gallon of flow per day to the water and wastewater demands for various uses as defined by NC Administrative Code 15A NCAC 18C .0409 and 15A NCAC 02T.0114.

Using NC Administrative Code 15A NCAC 18C .0409 and 15A NCAC 02T.0114 ensures that the same standard used to plan, design, construct and finance capital assets is applied as the same cost recovery basis to be applied to new development.

The Town may elect to charge less than the cost-justified System Development Fee documented in this report. Any adjustment must be calculated on a cost per unit volume basis, meaning the same cost per gallon adjustment must be applied equally to all customers.

Legislation House Bill 436 required a Public Hearing as one of the steps that must happen before the Town can move forward and implement the charges. HB436 is prescriptive, with precise instructions and the report given is in accordance with the legislation. The next steps are adoption of the study report and creating Ordinance that incorporates the recommended fees into a fee schedule. This process must be completed no later than July 1st. We are required to review the fee schedule and must reevaluate it in a maximum five-year timeframe.


Budget Message / Public Hearing
Notice is hereby given that the Budget proposed for the Fiscal Year, beginning July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2019, has been submitted to the Board of Commissioners. Click here to view the Budget Message.

A Public Hearing on the proposed Budget will be held by the Board of Commissioners at 9:00 a.m. or shortly thereafter on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 in the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street. Oral and written comments will be received at the hearing from any interested person.


The proposed budget sets forth four (4) main governmental funds – General, Water & Sewer, BPART and Canal Dredging. It also includes three (3) Capital Reserve Funds – Beach Nourishment, Water and Sewer. The Total Budget is twenty million four hundred and ten thousand and seven hundred and ninety-two dollars ($20,410,792).

 Proposed Budget by Fund
                                                         2016                           2017                          2018
General                                          $3,512,002               $3,369,711                $3,447,300

Water & Sewer                             $3,811,134               $5,140,804                $5,561,260
BPART                                            $6,666,220               $9,068,606                $5,887,335
Canal Dredging                            $1,696,440               $2,046,713                $2,551,479
Central Reach Project                 $14,552,040             /                                  /
Capital Reserve                            /                                 /                                  $3,430,452
Total All Funds                             $30,237,837            $19,625,834              $20,877,826


Budget Message is proposing a reduction in our tax rate of two (2) cents. Our current tax rate is $.220 per $100 of assessed value with the proposed tax rate of $.200. What does this mean to you? On a property with an assessed value of $500,000 we are talking about one hundred dollars ($100). Frankly that will have absolutely zero impact on a property owners socioeconomic position.

BOC’s just set a goal to increase the General Fund reserves as a priority item. The proposed budget achieves a minimum 40% of the Unassigned General Fund Ratio target range. We have high debt ratios combined with low reserve funds. So, let me get this straight, their solution is a reduction in the tax rate. The sensible approach to these long-term challenges would be to close the gap with this money instead of a token tax reduction. 


BOC’s SPECIAL MEETING / June 13, 2018    
1. PUBLIC HEARING: Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2018 – 2019
Town Manager briefly covered the Executive Summary section which describes what it does do

 2. Review and Possible Action as Related to the Budget Message
The discussion created a bit of rancor among the Board members. Ultimately, they decided to not include the proposed tax reduction. Instead they are putting the two hundred forty-one thousand six hundred and eighty-six dollars ($241,686) into Capital Reserve Fund or “sand” fund.

It doesn’t make any sense to me to reduce the tax rate now only to have to raise it in the foreseeable future. Not that long ago our taxes were raised in order to pay for beach nourishment. We now find ourselves with some surplus funds due to FEMA hurricane reimbursements. I support the Board’s decision to put the money into the Capital Reserve or “sand” fund.

 3. Discussion and Possible Action on the Audit Committee Recommendation of the Firm to Conduct an Internal Control Evaluation
They selected the firm RSM from Morehead City for the internal control review
Recommendation is to obtain firm with a not to exceed price of $20,000
Scope of work subject to approval from The N.C. Local Government Commission

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported –  April 2017
Direct Solicitation for External Audit
The North Carolina Local Government Commission requires the Town to have an annual audit performed. The Town has used Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams and Co. since 2012 to perform this service. Approval of the contract means that Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams & Co has been selected for their sixth consecutive year, with no cost increase, to handle our audit for fiscal year that ends June 30th, 2017. Protocol is to change firms every few years, traditionally we have done that after vendor has audited us for three years. Annual audit vendor usually selected, and contract signed in February.

Direct Solicitation to Conduct Comprehensive Internal Control Review
he Audit Report with respect to the Town’s Annual Financial Statements for the year ended June 30, 2017 raised two “significant deficiencies” with respect to the Town’s financial controls and procedures for financial statement preparation. The Audit Report also concluded that any financial reports provided to the Commissioners cannot be relied on, as the ledger does not reflect adjustments made in previous years. The Audit Committee has had preliminary discussions with the Auditor about these matters and the audit process, and as part of that discussion the Auditor recommended that the Town engage a consultant to perform a comprehensive review of its internal financial controls. The Audit report approved and signed by the Town’s Finance Director included a corrective response stating, “The Town of Holden Beach’s governing body feels that there are limited financial resources at this time for training the finance department staff in GAAP and that it is not cost beneficial to obtain additional assistance in this area.” This statement was false. Accordingly, I move that:

The Audit Committee is authorized and directed to review, investigate, report and make recommendations to the BOC on
(i)            the Town’s accounting and financial control systems including “significant deficiencies” related to internal controls;

(ii)           appropriate training of financial and accounting staff;

(iii)          policies and procedures relating to financial statement preparation, preventive and detective internal controls, and the audit process, including engaging such consultants to perform such internal controls review as the Audit Committee deems necessary or appropriate.

Handout – Statement of Work
“The Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach, via their Audit Committee, is soliciting proposals to perform a review of the Town’s internal controls.

The scope of this work will include a review and assessment of current practices in the operations of the finance department, including the preparation of financial statements that are compliant with generally accepted accounting principles, and the development of financial reports provided to the Board of Commissioners.  In addition, the work should include a focus on the controls designed to prevent or detect misappropriations, embezzlement, and any other potential fraudulent activities.

The deliverables from the work should include an assessment of the effectiveness of existing controls as well as their implementation, recommended changes to work practices, policies and procedures to ensure accurate financial reporting, and to prevent certain events from occurring, as well as backup procedures to ensure the proposed internal controls function as intended.

The work should comply with the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act and align with the principles in the COSO Internal Control Integrated Framework. ”

Previously reported –
Finding: 17-1 / SIGNIFICANT DEFICIENCY
Inadequate Design of Internal Controls over the Preparation of the Financial Statements
Finding: 17-2 / SIGNIFICANT DEFICIENCY
Prior Period Adjustment ($479,789)

4. Discussion and Possible Action on the Audit Committee Recommendation of the Firm to Conduct the 2017 – 2018 Annual Audit
The Audit Committee selected the firm Rives & Associates as the auditor

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

 5. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(3) to Consider the Performance of an Employee


Hurricane Season –

Hurricane #1 - CR

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a hurricane as “an intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher.”

Be prepared – have a plan!

For assistance with making an emergency plan read more here »
. 1) FEMA Ready
. 2) American Red Cross Disaster and Safety Library
. 3) ReadyNC
. 4) Town Emergency Information
. 5) HBPOIN Hurricane Emergency Plan

THB – EVACUATION, CURFEW & VEHICLE DECALS
For more information » click here

If the Town declares a mandatory evacuation, PLEASE LEAVE
General Assembly during the 2012 Session, specifically authorizes both voluntary and mandatory evacuations, and increases the penalty for violating any local emergency restriction or prohibition from a Class 3 to a Class 2 misdemeanor.  Given the broad authority granted to the governor and city and county officials under the North Carolina Emergency Management Act (G.S. Chapter 166A) to take measures necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare during a disaster, it is reasonable to interpret the authority to “direct and compel” evacuations to mean ordering “mandatory” evacuations. Those who choose to not comply with official warnings to get out of harm’s way, or are unable to, should prepare themselves to be fully self-sufficient for the first 72 hours after the storm. 

A repeat of 2017′: Experts predict another destructive hurricane season
A scientist with Global Weather Oscillations is predicting the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season to be “somewhat of a repeat of 2017,” claiming this year will bring more devastating storms. According to GWO, a storm prediction company, this year’s Atlantic hurricane season may be just as destructive — or even more destructive — than the 2017 season, which ended with 17 named storms and 6 major hurricanes. In 2017, GWO predicted 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. Professor David Dilley, senior research and prediction scientist for GWO, predicts that 2018 will be “somewhat of a repeat of 2017,” but some hurricane landfalls will occur in different locations this year. Dilley anticipates 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. He also predicts four of the hurricanes have potential for U.S. landfall — with two likely being “major impact storms.” “Some United States zones and the Caribbean Islands are currently in their strongest hurricane landfall cycle in 40 to 70-years,” Dilley said in a statement. Dilley says the reason for another disastrous hurricane season has to do with ocean water temperatures. He explains how the temperatures continue to run warmer than normal across most of the Atlantic, especially in the Caribbean region and the Atlantic near the U.S. “This is very similar to the ocean temperatures of last year, and this will again be conducive for tropical storms and/or hurricanes forming and/or strengthening near the Lesser Antilles and close to the United States,” he added.
Read more » click here

Hurricane Season’s Around the Corner. Here’s What to Expect.
This year’s hurricane season should be normal or slightly more active than average, government forecasters said on Thursday. After the exceptionally destructive season last year, the prediction might seem like a reprieve of sorts. But a season with few storms can do tremendous damage if a single storm makes landfall. Hurricane season runs from June 1 until Nov. 1 and peaks from mid-August through late October. “We’re not expecting the season to be one of the most active on record,” said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane season forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. But, he said, “It’s time to start getting prepared.”
Read more » click here

NOAA predicts 10-16 named storms for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season
This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an average number of major storms

Last year’s Atlantic hurricane season saw plenty of named storms and several destructive ones. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this year’s season is predicted to be near or above-normal with 10-16 named storms.

“NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes,” according to a NOAA press release.

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is driven by several factors, including El Niño and sea-surface temperatures.

“With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts,” according to the release.
Read more » click here

Forecasters predict a near- or above-normal 2018 Atlantic hurricane season
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75-percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal.

Forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30.

 “With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts.”

NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. 

 The possibility of a weak El Nino developing, along with near-average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, are two of the factors driving this outlook. These factors are set upon a backdrop of atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are conducive to hurricane development and have been producing stronger Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995.

“NOAA’s observational and modeling enhancements for the 2018 season put us on the path to deliver the world’s best regional and global weather models,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction. “These upgrades are key to improving hurricane track and intensity forecasts, allowing NOAA to deliver the best science and service to the nation.”

 NOAA’s suite of sophisticated technologies – from next-generation models and satellite data to new and improved forecast and graphical products – enable decision makers and the general public to take action before, during, and after hurricanes, helping to build a more “Weather-Ready Nation.”

“Preparing ahead of a disaster is the responsibility of all levels of government, the private sector and the public,” said acting FEMA Deputy Administrator Daniel Kaniewski. “It only takes one storm to devastate a community so now is the time to prepare. Do you have adequate insurance, including flood insurance? Does your family have a communication and evacuation plan? Stay tuned to your local news and download the FEMA app to get alerts, and make sure you heed any warnings issued by local officials.”

NOAA will update the 2018 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.
Read more » click here

NOAA promotes preparedness as 2018 hurricane season begins June 1
A named storm formed before the beginning of the hurricane season for a fourth consecutive year.

Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall near Laguna Beach, according to the NWS National Hurricane Center in Miami. By Tuesday afternoon it was downgraded to a subtropical depression as it moved through central Alabama.

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season isn’t expected to be as active as last year’s, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “We do not expect an extremely active (hurricane season) like last year,” Dr. Jerry Bell, NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, said during a May 24 news conference. “But an active season means a lot of storms could form in the Atlantic (Ocean).” An average season produces 12 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Regardless of the prediction, the Atlantic region needs to prepare for hurricane season. A hurricane can strike in any season, whether it is active like in 2017 or not,” he said. Bell said while they can make predictions of hurricane activity, they can’t predict where hurricanes will land — and they don’t just impact coastal communities. About 80 million people between the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico coastline face the threat of hurricanes, with inland flooding causing significant damage in recent years. “While we can’t prevent hurricanes, we can take action to better prevent their impact on communities,” Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction, said during the forecast presentation. Throughout the presentation, speakers emphasized residents in the Atlantic hurricane coverage area should prepare every year as if they will be impacted by a tropical storm or hurricane. “Prepare now, before hurricane season by making emergency and evacuation plans for your families” so family members know how to react even if they might not be together when a disaster strikes, Jacobs said. Jacobs added while technology allows the NOAA to project a narrower tracking cone for a hurricane’s projected path each year, the hazards caused by wind and water create dangerous circumstances outside the cone, too.
Read more » click here

No matter what a storm outlook is for a given year,

vigilance and preparedness is urged.


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