03 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / March Edition


Calendar of Events –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled 


Azalea Festival Logo
N.C. Azalea Festival
April 1st – 5th
Wilmington


Wilmington has been celebrating Spring Southern Style since 1948. There’s something for everyone among their community’s rich array of artwork, gardens, history and culture. This will be the 73rd annual festival and is considered one of the top events in the Southeast.
For more information » click here

N.C. Azalea Festival has been canceled, 1st time in 73-year history


Southport Spring Festival LogoSouthport Spring Festival
April
10th 11th
Southport


Welcome Spring Easter weekend in style at the Southport Spring Festival, a tradition for more than 25 years. This festival features a wide variety of activities.
For more information » click here

Southport Spring Festival has been canceled



.Days at the Docks Festival

April 25th
26th
Holden Beach

.

The annual festival occurs in April or May and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season. In addition to the food and arts & crafts, enjoy live music & entertainment, a horseshoe tournament and the world famous “Bopple Race”. Lots of activities for the entire family!
For more information » click here

Days at the Docks Festival has been postponed



Blue Crab Festival

May 16th – 17th
Little River SC

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This will be the 39th annual world famous Blue Crab Festival. It is held on the waterfront in Little River and is one of the largest festivals in the Southeast. The purpose of this festival is one that supports and showcases the fabulous atmosphere of the local communities.
For more information » click here


Events
TDA - logo
Discover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here


Calendar of Events Island –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


SEARCH 5K Run
S
ee Every Athlete Run for Conditional Health. The purpose of the program and of this event is to work on reducing childhood obesity by promoting healthy, active lifestyles into adulthood. The event is scheduled for the first Saturday in April this year it is on the 4th.

SEARCH 5K Run has been canceled


Family Nighttime Easter Egg Hunt
The Town will hold its sixth annual nighttime Easter Egg Hunt on Friday, April 10th beginning at 7:00 pm. Teams of four will compete against each other. This event is designed for youth and adults and will be held at Bridgeview Park. Participants will need to bring their own flashlights to the event.

Registration is required and will only be taken by phone.
Space is limited call 910.842.6488 to register.


Easter Sunrise Church Service
Brunswick Islands Baptist Church and Holden Beach Chapel are sponsoring an Easter sunrise service at 6:30 a.m. Sunday April 12th at the Holden Beach Pier.


HBBC

Holden Beach Beautification Club Plant Sale
The HBBC is holding their 9th Annual Plant Sale on Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 25th at the Emergency Operations Center, which is beside Food Lion located at 1044 Sabbath Home Road. Landscaping plants, perennials, annuals, herbs and gardening gloves will be available for purchase. All funds generated from the plant sale are earmarked for beautification projects on the island.

HBBC Plant Sale has been canceled

Visit the website at http://holdenbeachbc.org/ if you would like to contribute.



.
Days at the Docks Festival

The festival occurs in April or May of each year and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. This year it is April 25th & 26th. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season.

                 Days at the Docks Festival has been postponed


Pickleball Tournament
Holden Beach is hosting their fourth annual Pickleball Tournament. This year the Battle at the Beach tournament is May 1st to May 3rd.

For more information » click here
Register online » click here

What is Pickleball you ask?

Pickleball: growing sport for seniors
Pickleball originated in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The ball used is a perforated plastic ball similar to a Whiffle ball. The game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. The net is a couple inches lower than a tennis court net and the court is smaller too (20 feet by 44 feet vs. 36 by 78), and the paddles are oversized ping pong paddles made of plywood, aluminum or graphite. The game can be played with two or four players. Experience in tennis, badminton and ping pong is helpful, as there are similarities with those sports. There already are over 100,000 players in the United States alone. When tennis and badminton players find it difficult to navigate the larger courts, the next step is Pickleball, where there is not as much running required.
Read more » click here


Concerts on the Coast Series / 2020
The Town’s summer concert series calendar has been released! Live performances featuring local musical groups are held at the pavilion on Sunday evenings from late May to early September. The concerts are free of charge.
For more information » click here


Parks & Recreation / Programs & Events
For more information » click here


Reminders –



Yard Waste Service
Yard debris pick-up will be provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of March, April and May. Please have yard waste placed at the street for pick-up on Thursday night.

Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length of five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. A total of ten (10) items (bundles of brush/ limbs, bags) will be picked up by Waste Industries. Yard waste must be placed at the street for pick-up. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.


Smoke Detectors
Time change means time to check smoke detectors, too. The fire department is encouraging people to test their smoke alarms and change the battery. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, whether they are battery-operated or hard-wired.


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2020 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

The decals are your passes to get back onto the island to check your property in the event that an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the driver side lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle. 

Property owners without a valid decal will not be allowed on the island during restricted access. No other method of identification is accepted in an emergency situation. Click here to visit the Town website to find out more information regarding decals and emergency situations.


Speed Limit
Please take notice – Speed limit seasonal limitations, in accordance with Town Ordinances.Speed limit will change on OBW from 45mph to 35mph west of the general store. This change will take place on April 1st and be in effect through September 30th.


 

Free Dump Week
The Brunswick County Solid Waste Department hosts two free dump weeks a year, the week prior to the third Saturday in April and September. Brunswick County will be hosting its spring free dump week at the Brunswick County Landfill April 13th – April 17th.  Brunswick County residents and/or property owners may dispose of all materials, except for regular household trash or new construction debris, free of charge. Proof of Brunswick County residency or property ownership is required and will be checked at the landfill entrance.

Brunswick County Landfill
172 Landfill Rd NE, Bolivia, NC 28422
Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 8am until 4pm.


Brunswick County Shred Event
In honor of Earth Day, the Brunswick County Solid Waste Department hosts an annual document shredding event each spring. On April 22nd, bring your files that need to be shredded to the Brunswick County Complex between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. The County will have shred trucks parked in the parking lot between buildings B & G (look for the signs). This event is free and open to all businesses, property owners and residents of Brunswick County. For more information call (910) 253-2520.

Brunswick County Governmental Center
3325 Old Ocean Hwy.
Bolivia, NC 28422



Bird Nesting Area

NC Wildlife Commission has posted signs that say – Bird Nesting Area / Please don’t disturb. The signs are posted on the west end beach strand around 1331 OBW.


People and dogs are supposed to stay out of the area from April through November

. 1) It’s a Plover nesting area
. 2) Allows migrating birds a place to land and rest without being disturbed


Mosquito Control
Current EPA protocol is that spraying is complaint driven
The Town is unable to just spray as they had in the past
. 1)
Complaint based
. 2)
Citizen request
. 3)
Proactively monitor hot spots

They recommend that you get rid of any standing water on your property that you can
Urged everyone to call Town Hall if they have mosquito issues so that they can spray

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!


Building Numbers
Ocean front homes are required to have house numbers visible from the beach strand.
Please call Planning and Inspections Department at 910.842.6080 with any questions.

§157.087 BUILDING NUMBERS.

(A) The correct street number shall be clearly visible from the street on all buildings. Numbers shall be block letters, not script, and of a color clearly in contrast with that of the building and shall be a minimum of six inches in height.

(B) Beach front buildings will also have clearly visible house numbers from the strand side meeting the above criteria on size, contrast, etc. Placement shall be on vertical column supporting deck(s) or deck roof on the primary structure. For buildings with a setback of over 300 feet from the first dune line, a vertical post shall be erected aside the walkway with house numbers affixed. In all cases the numbers must be clearly visible from the strand. Other placements may be acceptable with approval of the Building Inspector.



BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, April 21st
.


News from Town of Holden Beach
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here


Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to heather@hbtownhall.com.


Recycling-Bin
Curbside Recycling

Waste Industries is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $93.29 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here

 

Recycling renewal form was sent, you should have gotten e-mail letter already


Elevator - CRElevators
Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.

Safety Notice –
Waupaca Elevator Company has issued an important safety notice. The potential hazard is associated with normal wear in your elevator. If your elevator develops the problem and it is not repaired, the elevator may drop unexpectedly with you in it and you may be injured. They recommend you contact your elevator service company.

Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard
For more information » click here


Library
If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.



Neighborhood Watch –

Need to look out for each other
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


Upon Further Review –


Development Fees
Previously reported – April 2019
The original motion was to allocate funds ($10,000) to obtain bids for the development of a cost justified water and wastewater system Development Fees Report by a financial firm rather than an engineering firm like the first time. After a bit of finger pointing as to why we need to have another report they were able to find some common ground. Town Attorney Noel Fox stated that the fact of the matter is that it was not just one thing but many things that requires us to redo the report. They will pursue bids from all qualified vendors whether they are an engineering or financial firm. Commissioner Sullivan pointed out that by rescinding the adopted development fees cost the town $157,000, which is the difference in the revenue stream from adopted to rescinded fees.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

The question that needs to be asked is: What is the appropriate fee to charge that generates adequate revenue but does not unduly burden new development?

Previously reported – February 2019

¯\_()_/¯

This was supposed to be an interim fee schedule
They committed to permanent fees before the end of 2018
Then they said the interim fees would remain in effect for the next ninety (90) days
Well both of those dates have come and gone
A permanent fee schedule has yet to be adopted

Previously reported – September 2019
System Development Fees lawsuit filed on Oak Island
We have filed an Amicus Brief in support of their position
THB will delay activity on our System Development Fees until this has been adjudicated

In split decision, court sides with property owners in Oak Island sewer lawsuit, town plans to appeal
Reversing the decision of the lower court, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina ruled against the Town of Oak Island in a lawsuit raised by property owners of undeveloped lots, despite one judge on the panel dissenting. The issue between property owners and the town dates back to 2015, when owners of undeveloped property on the island filed suit regarding the town’s sewer service fees. Tuesday, Oak Island’s sewer system cost $140 million to install. In 2004, action from North Carolina’s General Assembly allowed the town to charge property owners fees related to the sewer system in order to help reduce the debt the town carried as a result of the sewer installation. The action allows Oak Island to “impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service” on property owners who could or do benefit from the service. From 2010 to 2017, that resulted in developed property owners paying a total of $4,478.57 in fees, while undeveloped property owners would have paid $3,978.08. Additionally, the court pointed out in its ruling that from 2015 to 2017, the owners of undeveloped properties were actually paying more per year than those who owned developed lots. The term “availability” is what the court’s decision ultimately hinged upon, because the plaintiff property owners argued that for those with undeveloped lots, the sewer system is not actually “available” to them. Therefore, they argued, they should not be subject to the fees. They further argued charging undeveloped properties went beyond what the statute establishing the fees allows, and that the collection of the fees was unconstitutional. The appeals court agreed, saying: “although the Session Laws do not define the term ‘availability’ for purposes of imposing the sewer service availability fees, it is clear that the enabling Session Laws do not, as a matter of law, apply to Plaintiffs’ undeveloped property.” Originally, the plaintiffs wanted the court to declare the fees unconstitutional, as well as order the town to refund the fees paid by the owners of the undeveloped properties. In May 2018, when Brunswick County Superior Court Judge James Ammons found in favor of Oak Island, the plaintiffs attempted to change their plea, only asking for the refund. However, the court declined their motion to amend, and instead ruled in favor of Oak Island’s countersuit, therefore upholding the fee structure. As far as those occurrences, the appeals court said it could not weigh in, because the matters were never ruled upon, and therefore couldn’t be appealed. Judge Allegra Collins disagreed with her two fellow judicial colleagues, arguing the opposite with regard to the “availability” language. Collins argues that just because property owners would have to go through the development process in order to connect to the sewer system, doesn’t mean that it isn’t “available” to them. Despite the split decision, the Court of Appeals ruling reverses the ruling and remands the issue back to Brunswick County Superior Court. Town Attorney Brian Edes said in an email Tuesday the town will likely appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. His statement read: The North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a split opinion today ultimately holding that the subject 2006 N.C. Session Law does not authorize the Town of Oak Island to charge a sewer district fee to owners of undeveloped lots. Naturally, we are disappointed with this holding.
Read more » click here

Supreme Court Construes Local Law to Allow “Availability” Fees to be Charged Against Developed Property and Undeveloped Property
Infrastructure fees are a common battleground between landowners/developers and local governments. The Supreme Court decided a case this week that counts as a “win” for the local governments, reversing a Court of Appeals decision. That is, the Supreme Court determined that the unambiguous language of a State law granted to the local government broader powers than the Court of Appeals otherwise thought. Let’s dig in.

The Facts
The Town of Oak Island constructed a sewer system at a cost of $140M. In 2006, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a local act – which is a State law that relates to one or more local governments – designed to assist the Town in reducing its outstanding debt for the sewer system. The law authorized the Town “to impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within” its sewer treatment district.

Then Town’s sewer lines run in front of both developed and undeveloped parcels in the district, but the system had the capacity to serve all parcels in the district. Beginning in 2009, owners of developed parcels began paying fees as an additional charge on their monthly sewer bills. Owners of undeveloped parcels began paying fees in 2010, with charges appearing on their real property tax bills.

The Trial Court
In 2015, certain owners of undeveloped property filed suit against the Town challenging the authority to assess the sewer service availability fees against undeveloped properties. In 2018, the trial court granted summary judgment to the Town, which the property owners appealed.

The Appeal
On appeal, the North Carolina Court of Appeals was divided. In a published decision, the majority concluded: “[A]lthough the Session Laws do not define the term “availability” for purposes of imposing the sewer service availability fees, it is clear that the enabling Session Laws do not, as a matter of law, apply to Plaintiffs’ undeveloped property.” The majority determined that the language of the State law was unambiguous, requiring the Court “to give effect to the plain meaning of the statute” and leading the Court to a dictionary definition of “availability” that read: “the quality or state of being available” and ““present or ready for immediate use”. The Court determined that the “complex, costly additional requirements—many of them conditional— that the owner of an undeveloped lot must fulfill in order to benefit from Oak Island’s sewer services foreclose any conclusion that such services are ‘present or ready for immediate use’ by those owners”, such that undeveloped lots did not have the “availability of sewer service” as compared to developed lots; therefore, “annual fees for availability” were not chargeable to the undeveloped lots under State law.

The dissent agrees that the statute is unambiguous and cites to the same dictionary provisions as does the majority, however, the dissent spends more time than does the majority on the Session Law, itself, and reaches a different conclusion as to what “availability” means.

Originally adopted in 2004 (S.L. 2004-96) as applied only to the Town of Holden Beach, the local act was amended in 2006 to apply both to the Town and the Town of Holden Beach. The actual law, as amended, provides: (1) “A municipality may create a fee-supported sewer treatment district for all properties that are or can be served by the sewage collection and treatment plant serving properties within the Town”, (2) “The Town may impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within the district”, and (3) “Said fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment”. The dissent focuses on the language of the Session Law, that “fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment. That is, to the dissent, the statute clearly authorizes the charging of fees to developed property (does benefit) and undeveloped property (could benefit). More to the point, however, the dissent is concerned that the majority’s analysis “would require terms be added to the Session Law, while rendering the terms ‘can be served [,]’ ‘within the district[,]’ and ‘parcel of property that could . . . benefit’ superfluous”, which the dissent notes neglects the judicial duty “not to delete words used or to insert words not used” when construing laws.

The Supreme Court’s Decision
On March 3, 2019, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals “for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion”. That is, the Supreme Court agreed with the dissent’s analysis and conclusion regarding the meaning of “availability” and the ability of the Town, pursuant to the local law, to charge sewer system fees to owners of developed and undeveloped properties, alike.
Read more » click here

NC Supreme Court sides with Oak Island in sewer system dispute
North Carolina’s highest court has sided with the town of Oak Island, reversing a lower court’s decision on whether the town has the right to levy sewer fees on undeveloped properties.

The case, which was heard on Feb. 4 with an opinion filed Feb. 28, began when Bobby Boles filed a lawsuit against the town in 2015.

In that suit, Boles argued the town did not have the right to collect the fees established to help offset the cost of the town’s new sewer system — fees made possible by a 2004 action by the North Carolina General Assembly — from the owners of undeveloped properties.

[ In split decision, appeals court sides with property owners ]

From 2010 to 2017, the fee program resulted in developed property owners paying a total of $4,478.57 in fees, while undeveloped property owners would have paid $3,978.08. The appellate court whose decision the supreme court overturned had pointed out in its ruling that from 2015 to 2017, the owners of undeveloped properties were actually paying more per year than those who owned developed lots.

Property owners argued that because their lots were undeveloped and not connected to the sewer system, the sewer service was not truly “available” to them, and therefore they should not be required to pay the fees.

The Court of Appeals ruled in a split judgment on May 2, 2018, in favor of the property owners, but that result has now been reversed. The reversal was just one page and says: “We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion.”

Judge Allegra Collins disagreed with her two fellow judicial colleagues, arguing the opposite with regard to the “availability” language.

Collins argued that just because property owners would have to go through the development process in order to connect to the sewer system, doesn’t mean that it isn’t “available” to them.
Read more » click here

Stay tuned …


Previously reported – January 2020
Federal judge temporarily blocks NC’s voter ID law

A federal judge has put a temporary hold on North Carolina’s voter ID law, according to the NC NAACP. U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs issued the notice on Thursday that says voters will not have to present a photo ID in the March primaries. Late Thursday night, the North Carolina Board of Elections informed a printing company in Pennsylvania to stop printing a 12-page informational pamphlet regarding the need for photo ID at the polls. That pamphlet would have gone to 4.7 million households in North Carolina. The Board had already sent a one-sheet explainer to voters about a month ago. The judge’s move comes as the NC NAACP is suing over the voter ID law – saying it was passed with discriminatory intent and will have a discriminatory impact on African American and Latinx voters. The judge granted the plaintiff’s request for an injunction – halting the requirement for photo ID to vote. A full trial is expected before the November general election. Voters approved the constitutional amendment during the November 2018 elections.
Read more » click here

Update –
Another court blocks NC voter ID law, citing ‘racially discriminatory intent’
North Carolina’s new voter ID law appears to have been enacted with racially discriminatory intent and will be at least temporarily blocked during the 2020 elections, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. A federal court has already blocked the voter ID mandate at least through the 2020 primary elections, which are underway now. Tuesday’s decision — in a separate lawsuit in state courts rather than federal courts — could also extend that block until the general election in November. The voter ID law was written after voters passed a new constitutional amendment in 2018 requiring voter ID. However, this is now the second court to rule that African American voters could be harmed by the way the legislature wrote the law behind the amendment. The judges issued what’s called a preliminary injunction, which is not a permanent ban on voter ID. It simply blocks the law from going into effect while the lawsuit is still underway. So, if the case is still in the courts in November — which is entirely possible — then voters won’t have to show ID then, either. Based on the evidence they’ve seen so far, the three judges who heard the case wrote, it appears the legislature will lose in its defense of the law. The activists who sued appear likely to be able to prove “that discriminatory intent was a motivating factor behind” the voter ID law.
Read more » click here


Dog Park
The dog park will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Town needed to use the land at the dog park to place material from the canal dredging project as the dredge spoils area. It is unknown when it will be returned to a useable state as a dog park again. They are currently looking at other options for a dog park on the island.

Four people spoke during the Public Comments session at the January BOC’s meeting, all in favor of creating a new Dog Park area. The park was utilized by people daily. We no longer have anywhere on the island to walk a dog safely. The nearest dog park for off leash activity is in Shallotte. I think we should make every effort to provide an area for dogs on the island. My recommendation is to utilize existing town property. The Town actually owns quite a bit of property. For instance, we have two parcels between BAW and OBW, across from Marker Fifty-Five, that were platted as streets but never put in; between High Point Street and Neptune Drive. We had previously discussed the possibility of creating parking areas out of them, one of them could be made into a dog park. Parking should be on the BAW side of the park, so it doesn’t get taken over by guests going to the beach. The designated area would be an additional recreational opportunity as well as an option for having dogs off their leashes instead of in unauthorized areas like the beach strand. As for allocating funds the cost should be paid for by the canal POA’s. You ask: Why? In April of 2014 we established the Dog Park on Town owned property at Scotch Bonnet Drive, at a cost of $19,000 sourced from BPART account. The Canal Dredging Project was mostly paid for from the Water Resources Development Grant of $1,439,922 which we secured in December 2017. According to Town Manager Hewett, “the Canal Dredging Project is paying all costs for the reconstitution of the Scotch Bonnet site to include installation of dog park facilities at that location.” That’s all well and good but meanwhile we do not have a dog park. It is my humble opinion that the right thing to do is for them to pay to create a temporary replacement dog park too.

NRPA Park Pulse: Americans Agree Dog Parks Benefit Local Communities
Local parks and recreation agencies provide dog parks for the areas they serve
Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. With this month’s poll, we look at the possible benefits dog parks bring to their communities.

91% of Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to their communities.

Availability of dog parks is especially popular among millennials (94 percent) and Gen Xers (92 percent) followed by baby boomers (89 percent) who agree dog parks provide benefits to communities.

Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

      • 60% Gives dogs a safe space to exercise and roam around freely
      • 48% Allows dogs to socialize with other dogs
      • 36% Allows owners a chance to be physically active with their pet

For more information » click here


Corrections & Amplifications –

Classification and Pay Plan
Previously reported – April 2019
Town Manager Hewett said that they had already engaged the MAPS Group. The process has been started but he anticipated that it would take the better part of three to four months before they had the completed report.

The Management and Personnel Services Group – MAPS – is a team of consultants specializing in human resource management and development.
For more information » click here

Previously reported – September 2019
The study updates the classification and pay plan for THB as well as making recommendations concerning personnel policies and fringe benefits. Recommendations are being made for salary schedule, position classification plan, and costs for implementing the salary plan. Salary data determined by prevailing rate in geographic area as well as with employers who directly compete for the same pool of workers with those job skills. The salaries represent the local market which provides a reflection of the actual cost of living in the geographic area. Implementation strategy offered three options; the recommended option had an additional annual price tag of $80,327 in just salary cost. An additional cost of roughly 20% for benefits brings the total cost to implement at almost $100,000 annually. Interestingly, we offer significantly higher family health insurance coverage than the rest of the local market, yet we didn’t seem to get any credit for that in a total compensation package. Recommendations for THB are based on meeting the market, not leading the market. Takeaway was that we were in pretty good shape considering we hadn’t done a study in a very long time, but adjustments need to be made to stay competitive in the local market. Staying competitive in our total compensation package will allow us to recruit and retain employees. Presentation was a very pragmatic approach to the subject and clearly directs us on how to proceed.

Previously reported September 2019
The recommended option being considered had an additional annual price tag of $80,327 in just salary cost. An additional cost of roughly 20% for benefits brings the total cost to implement at almost $100,000 annually. The Board is considering adopting this option with the new personnel policy and classification and pay plan potentially beginning January 1, 2020. They have requested that the Town Manager look at how we would pay for it.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)
Commissioner Freer voted against the motion

Previously reported – October 2019
Management and Personnel Services Group
For more information » click here

Three of the Commissioners took a position that this should be addressed in the next budget cycle. They also stressed that we need to address all the components of the total compensation package not just implementing the pay plan.

A decision was made – Not Approved
Commissioners Fletcher, Freer, and Butler all voted against the motion

Previously reported – January 2020
Agenda Packet –
The attached Budget Amendment  is necessary to implement the Classification and Pay Plan per BOC direction. It has been developed in accordance with BOC direction for implementing Option 1 previously briefed to the BOC at the Special Meeting of September 17,2019. The budget amendment  totals $51k and provides implementation funding for the new pay plan to be effective for the second half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

Pat briefly reviewed the timeline on this issue. She recommended changes to the submitted Personnel Policy which David agreed with and will incorporate them into the policy. Surprisingly, there was very little discussion regarding the pay plan with an annual increase in expenses in excess of $100,000.

Moved funds of $51,351

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

I am neither for nor against moving forward after due deliberation. Frankly, I’m more likely to be for than against. Really would have liked to see a workshop for the pay plan that considers the entire compensation package – salary, benefits, time off, and advancement opportunities. This also would have allowed them to include pay plan cost increases  to be incorporated into the next budget cycle.

Classification and Pay Plan – implemented

Management and Personnel Services Group

Option 1 –
Employee salaries are placed in the range to meet the following criteria:
  1.
At least to the new hiring rate for the recommended salary grade for employees who .       have not completed probation
  2.
At least to the minimum of the range for employees who have passed probation
.   3.
1% per year of service above the minimum for employees who have been employed        more than 1 year

2020 – Police Officer Pay Range
All five officers are in the minimum window pay range of $40K to $44K
None of the officers are getting paid adequately based on the criteria set in Option 1

$38/$40 – $44 (47) $50 – $56
$38/$40         Hiring Rate / Minimum

$40 – $44       Minimum Window Range
$47                
Mid-Point

$44 – $50       Middle Window Range
$50 – $56       Max Window Range

Police $40,000 minimum salary / 1% year
1) $40,400             7) $42,800
2) $40,800             8) $43,200
3) $41,200             9) $43,600
4) $41,600             10) $44,000
5) $42,000             11) $44,400
6) $42,400             12) $44,800

NAMEYearsSALARY$ S/B $%Pay Plan $
Jessica Camara12$41,766 $44,480 94%$145
Sean Watson 10$40,726 $44,000 93%$0 
John Duncan3$39,312 $41,200 95%$1,872
Colton Robinson2$37,898 $40,800 93%$1,810
Edwin Roman1$31,429 $40,400 78%$0 

Let me get this straight –
We promote two beach rangers to administrative positions grade level 9 and 10 and now we increase their pay to $30,950 with benefits. Meanwhile Edwin a Police Officer that is a grade level 14 is making only $31,429. Despite the fact that  he puts himself in harm’s way daily, he makes just $479 more. MAPS claimed that making our compensation competitive was supposed to help with employee retention. Yet our most at risk employees leaving are our Police Officers who can pretty much get a job almost anywhere else in Brunswick County for more money. So, in what universe does this  salary schedule make sense?


Breaking News –

While the police department currently has eight (8) officers, one (1) officer has tendered their resignation; and then there were seven (7).
.

The Pay Plan ostensibly was supposed to make compensation competitive and address inequities. THB has twenty-two (22) employees not counting the Town Manager. Twelve (12) employees or @55% were not placed in the pay range as described in Option 1. Six (6) are below the minimum for their pay grade. Six (6) are slightly above the minimum, despite their many years of service. What’s more, seven (7) employees or @32% had wages increase by $53,120 or 71% of the total

The total cost to implement Pay Plan Option #1 is almost $100,000 annually. Keep in mind that each penny of your taxes generates just $133,641 of tax revenue. How does this board plan to pay for this? Previously we were told that the budget was lean, so there shouldn’t be $100,000 available to pay for this. When this Board ran for office, they all indicated that there should be no need to have any tax increase for the foreseeable future. One of those statements can’t be right. It seems like higher property taxes are pretty much inevitable.

I just don’t feel that the wage increases were done fairly. It does not address either the inequities that currently exist or making our employee compensation more competitive. Frankly it was not the bill of goods that was sold to us. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Pay Plan did not accomplish any of the stated objectives.


EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS
Previously reported – February 2018
Reminder of Decal Distribution and Re-entry Policies for Owners
For more information » click here


NC General Statute 166A-19.22
Power of municipalities and counties to enact ordinances to deal with states of emergency.

Synopsis – The governing body may impose by declaration or enacted ordinance, prohibitions and restrictions during a state of emergency. This includes the prohibition and restriction of movements of people in public places, including imposing a curfew; directing or compelling the voluntary or mandatory evacuation of all or part of the population, controlling ingress and egress of an emergency area, and providing for the closure of streets, roads, highways, bridges, public vehicular areas. All prohibitions and restrictions imposed by declaration or ordinance shall take effect immediately upon publication of the declaration unless the declaration sets a later time. The prohibitions and restrictions shall expire when they are terminated by the official or entity that imposed them, or when the state of emergency terminates.

Violation – Any person who violates any provisions of an ordinance or a declaration enacted or declared pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.


Vehicle Decals
The 2020 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

The decals are your passes to get back onto the island to check your property in the event that an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the driver side lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle. 

Property owners without a valid decal will not be allowed on the island during restricted access. No other method of identification is accepted in an emergency situation. Click here to visit the Town website to find out more information regarding decals and emergency situations.


Odds & Ends


Holden Brothers Farm Market closes in wake of estate dispute
For decades, Holden Brothers Farm Market has dominated the landscape as one of Brunswick County’s main roadside attractions. For decades, David Holden and his younger brother Kelly Holden partnered and toiled to keep their U.S. 17 produce market running and drawing customers every spring, summer, fall and even into winter on rented family heirloom acreage just a few miles west of downtown Shallotte. Just about anybody with Brunswick County ties knows Holden Brothers as one of the main go-to places for fresh produce that customers could almost take for granted: pick-your-own strawberries ripe from the field every spring; homegrown corn, watermelons and tomatoes in summer; field-harvested pumpkins in the fall; winter collards and extras like homemade jams, boiled peanuts and Blenheim Ginger Ale available most seasons. This year, the tradition known as Holden Brothers has come to an abrupt, noticeable halt. The landmark market has closed, its signs removed with little indication it will be open this spring.
Read more » click here


Do you know the Butcher of Brunswick?
Have you heard of the Butcher of Brunswick? No, he is not a serial killer. “Sometimes people do bust my chops about that,” said Kevin Fahy , owner of the New York-style deli and meat shop in Ocean Isle Beach. While he caters to southern Brunswick County and its beaches, he sees visitors show up from all over the Carolinas — sometimes people traveling from Raleigh just to pick up an order.

Fahy, a retired homicide detective from the Bronx, moved to Brunswick County in 2003 and opened up the small market at 5850 U.S. 17 in 2008. At first he opened within the long-time locally-owned Randy’s Meats, but later purchased the business and re-branded it. In the last few years, he leased the space next door in the building to Makai Brewing Company so you can enjoy an eggplant Parm hoagie and run next door for your beer.
Read more » click here


Large great white sharks ‘converging’ off Carolinas. Is the weather a cause?
A sudden convergence of great white sharks is taking place off the Carolinas — from Cape Hatteras to Charleston — proving the apex predators are being mysteriously drawn to a tight strip off the coast. Satellite tags reveal seven great whites are within that area, with an eighth hovering at the South Carolina-Georgia border, near Hilton Head. Most (five) are sitting off Southport, near Wilmington.
Read more » click here

Tracking site » click here

Cluster of sharks in one spot off Carolinas coast grows more intense
The clustering of great white sharks off the Carolinas coast is growing more pronounced and mysterious, based on satellite tracking data shared Saturday on social media. Eight tagged great white sharks are now practically on top of each other along the border of North and South Carolina — and they represent the only sharks currently tracking along the East Coast, according to a map posted on Facebook by OCEARCH. Researchers began noticing a convergence of great white sharks off the Carolinas in late January, but the group was more spread out. Now the sharks are exhibiting a clear preference for the same spot off Southport, near Wilmington, the data shows. OCEARCH says the tagged sharks, ranging in size from 8 feet to nearly 13 feet, represent a tiny sampling of what is actually off the coast, meaning waters could be full of great
Read more » click here

Sharks of North Carolina
Read more » click here

Shark Attack
The chances of being attacked by a shark are very small compared to other animal attacks, natural disasters, and ocean-side dangers. Many more people drown in the ocean every year than are bitten by sharks. The few attacks that occur every year are an excellent indication that sharks do not feed on humans and that most attacks are simply due to mistaken identity.

Your chances of being attacked by a shark are just 1 in 11.5 million!

What Are the Odds? Long, Most Likely
Not everyone is at risk of a being bitten by a shark. 1 in 11.5 million is the rate of attacks in one year at 68 U.S. beaches and is based on attendance figures at the venues.
Read more » click here


This & That


Carolina Bays Parkway (SC 31) Extension

NCDOT preparing to narrow down route options for CBP Extension
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will soon narrow down its list of route alternatives for the Carolina Bays Parkway Extension, a half-billion-dollar proposed highway project proposed to streamline traffic between southern Brunswick County and North Myrtle Beach. In December, NCDOT released nine route alternatives for the project that’s been studied since the mid-2000s. Shortly after, NCDOT hosted a pair of public meetings in Little River and in Sunset Beach to present information on the project and hear feedback from stakeholders. So far, the project has already received pushback from some factions of the community, including Sunset Beach Town Council, Brunswick County Board of Commissioners, and a multi-generational farm, Indigo Farms.

Concerns have been raised that progress on the Horry County side of the project will outpace North Carolina’s, thereby locking in NCDOT to a route that the public hasn’t endorsed. Also, local tourism dollars are likely at stake, given the project would increase traffic flow to the Grand Strand. South Carolina is further along in funding the project, having already dedicated $125 million to it via a 2016 Horry County capital project sales tax referendum. Right-of-way acquisitions on the South Carolina side of the project will begin in 2022 ; NCDOT has not dedicated any funds for right-of-way acquisitions for its portion of the project. In all, the 19-mile proposed project will cost an estimated $552 million combined, with NCDOT required to cover roughly two-thirds of the total cost (14 miles of the project would run through North Carolina). Each of the nine proposed route alternatives would replace roughly 6 miles of existing roadway on Highway 17 and ultimately converge at the existing terminus in South Carolina between the existing Carolina Bays Parkway S.C. 31 at S.C. 9 (view all route alternatives).

Public comment
The public comment period on narrowing down the nine proposed alternatives ended Jan. 10 at midnight. Comments submitted before this deadline will be considered part of the public record, according to an NCDOT spokesperson, and comments submitted after will still be considered but not in the public record. Weigh in on the routes via a detailed project website, which includes the option to draw suggested lines, provide commentary, and rank alternatives. Once comments are analyzed, NCDOT will rule out a few of the proposed alternatives to narrow down which routes will be further studied in a detailed environmental analysis. NCDOT will narrow the routes down this spring; a Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected this winter. Once the environmental study is available, a new public comment period will open, including public hearings. A preferred alternative (not the final decision, but the last step before it) could be selected by summer 2021.
Read more » click here


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Sneezing Dogs, Dancing Bees: How Animals Vote
The 2020 election is off to a complicated start. Maybe we can draw some comparative political lessons from the animal kingdom.

Are humans the only animals that caucus? As the early 2020 presidential election season suggests, there are probably more natural and efficient ways to make a group choice. But we’re certainly not the only animals on Earth that vote. We’re not even the only primates that primary.

Any animal living in a group needs to make decisions as a group, too. Even when they don’t agree with their companions, animals rely on one another for protection or help finding food. So they have to find ways to reach consensus about what the group should do next, or where it should live. While they may not conduct continent-spanning electoral contests like this coming Super Tuesday, species ranging from primates all the way to insects have methods for finding agreement that are surprisingly democratic.
Read more » click here


Hot Button Issues
Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions


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Climate
For more information » click here
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear

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More Heat, Floods, Storms ‘Virtually Certain’

North Carolina can expect large changes in climate by the end of the century, much larger than any time in the state’s history, and it’s very likely that temperatures here will increase substantially during all seasons unless the global increase in heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere is stopped. Temperatures warmer than historic norms, disruptive flooding from rising seas, increasingly intense and frequent rainstorms and more and more intense hurricanes are “virtually certain” in the next 80 years. That’s according to an independent, peer-reviewed report released Wednesday by North Carolina State University’s North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, or NCICS. As a result of hotter temperatures and increased humidity, the state can face public health risks, more frequent and more intense heavy rains from hurricanes and other weather systems, increased flooding in coastal and low-lying areas and severe droughts that are more intense and that will increase the risk of wildfires.
Read more » click here


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Development Fees
For more information » click here
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CFPUA wants customer input on proposed system development fee increase
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) is looking to raise its ‘system development fees.’ These fees, which new customers pay when they ‘connect’ to the water and sewer system, help fund overall improvements and expansions. The fees have also been cited as a factor in driving up the cost of housing.

New rates have been proposed to come into effect on July 1, 2020, and would increase both the water and sewer system development charges. “The system development charge (or SDC) is the fee that new customers pay to ‘buy-in’ to the water and sewer system. The proposal includes an increase in the water SDC from $1,880 to $1,920 and an increase in the sewer SDC from $1,930 to $2,070,” according to a memo from CFPUA. The rate changes are not yet approved or finalized and CFPUA has opened an online form to receive public comments on the issue.

According to the utility provider, “The objective of CFPUA’s system development charge is to assess new customers their proportionate share of the cost of infrastructure improvements benefitting the new customer that were paid for by past or existing customers.” The logic and reasoning behind the proposed rate change is that new customers drive the need for new infrastructure and using existing customers’ payments to pay for this is not the most equitable way to fund it.

“CFPUA’s SDC calculation seeks to allocate the equity in existing infrastructure assets to new water and sewer customers. “Equity in existing infrastructure” is defined as the assets funded with rate revenues that will benefit new customers less [with] outstanding debt used to acquire or construct those assets,” according to the memo. While the rate increases could potentially hinder future affordable housing construction in the area, CFPUA does have a responsibility to its ratepayers as well to make sure everyone is paying their equal share and hopefully keeping rates low.
Read more » click here

Supreme Court Construes Local Law to Allow “Availability” Fees to be Charged Against Developed Property and Undeveloped Property
Infrastructure fees are a common battleground between landowners/developers and local governments. The Supreme Court decided a case this week that counts as a “win” for the local governments, reversing a Court of Appeals decision. That is, the Supreme Court determined that the unambiguous language of a State law granted to the local government broader powers than the Court of Appeals otherwise thought. Let’s dig in.

The Facts
The Town of Oak Island constructed a sewer system at a cost of $140M. In 2006, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a local act – which is a State law that relates to one or more local governments – designed to assist the Town in reducing its outstanding debt for the sewer system. The law authorized the Town “to impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within” its sewer treatment district.

Then Town’s sewer lines run in front of both developed and undeveloped parcels in the district, but the system had the capacity to serve all parcels in the district. Beginning in 2009, owners of developed parcels began paying fees as an additional charge on their monthly sewer bills. Owners of undeveloped parcels began paying fees in 2010, with charges appearing on their real property tax bills.

The Trial Court
In 2015, certain owners of undeveloped property filed suit against the Town challenging the authority to assess the sewer service availability fees against undeveloped properties. In 2018, the trial court granted summary judgment to the Town, which the property owners appealed.

The Appeal
On appeal, the North Carolina Court of Appeals was divided. In a published decision, the majority concluded: “[A]lthough the Session Laws do not define the term “availability” for purposes of imposing the sewer service availability fees, it is clear that the enabling Session Laws do not, as a matter of law, apply to Plaintiffs’ undeveloped property.” The majority determined that the language of the State law was unambiguous, requiring the Court “to give effect to the plain meaning of the statute” and leading the Court to a dictionary definition of “availability” that read: “the quality or state of being available” and ““present or ready for immediate use”. The Court determined that the “complex, costly additional requirements—many of them conditional— that the owner of an undeveloped lot must fulfill in order to benefit from Oak Island’s sewer services foreclose any conclusion that such services are ‘present or ready for immediate use’ by those owners”, such that undeveloped lots did not have the “availability of sewer service” as compared to developed lots; therefore, “annual fees for availability” were not chargeable to the undeveloped lots under State law.

The dissent agrees that the statute is unambiguous and cites to the same dictionary provisions as does the majority, however, the dissent spends more time than does the majority on the Session Law, itself, and reaches a different conclusion as to what “availability” means.

 Originally adopted in 2004 (S.L. 2004-96) as applied only to the Town of Holden Beach, the local act was amended in 2006 to apply both to the Town and the Town of Holden Beach. The actual law, as amended, provides: (1) “A municipality may create a fee-supported sewer treatment district for all properties that are or can be served by the sewage collection and treatment plant serving properties within the Town”, (2) “The Town may impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within the district”, and (3) “Said fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment”. The dissent focuses on the language of the Session Law, that “fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment. That is, to the dissent, the statute clearly authorizes the charging of fees to developed property (does benefit) and undeveloped property (could benefit). More to the point, however, the dissent is concerned that the majority’s analysis “would require terms be added to the Session Law, while rendering the terms ‘can be served [,]’ ‘within the district[,]’ and ‘parcel of property that could . . . benefit’ superfluous”, which the dissent notes neglects the judicial duty “not to delete words used or to insert words not used” when construing laws.

The Supreme Court’s Decision
On March 3, 2019, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals “for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion”. That is, the Supreme Court agreed with the dissent’s analysis and conclusion regarding the meaning of “availability” and the ability of the Town, pursuant to the local law, to charge sewer system fees to owners of developed and undeveloped properties, alike.
Read more » click here

NC Supreme Court sides with Oak Island in sewer system dispute
North Carolina’s highest court has sided with the town of Oak Island, reversing a lower court’s decision on whether the town has the right to levy sewer fees on undeveloped properties.

The case, which was heard on Feb. 4 with an opinion filed Feb. 28, began when Bobby Boles filed a lawsuit against the town in 2015.

In that suit, Boles argued the town did not have the right to collect the fees established to help offset the cost of the town’s new sewer system — fees made possible by a 2004 action by the North Carolina General Assembly — from the owners of undeveloped properties.

[ In split decision, appeals court sides with property owners ]

From 2010 to 2017, the fee program resulted in developed property owners paying a total of $4,478.57 in fees, while undeveloped property owners would have paid $3,978.08. The appellate court whose decision the supreme court overturned had pointed out in its ruling that from 2015 to 2017, the owners of undeveloped properties were actually paying more per year than those who owned developed lots.

Property owners argued that because their lots were undeveloped and not connected to the sewer system, the sewer service was not truly “available” to them, and therefore they should not be required to pay the fees.

The Court of Appeals ruled in a split judgment on May 2, 2018, in favor of the property owners, but that result has now been reversed. The reversal was just one page and says: “We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion.”

Judge Allegra Collins disagreed with her two fellow judicial colleagues, arguing the opposite with regard to the “availability” language.

Collins argued that just because property owners would have to go through the development process in order to connect to the sewer system, doesn’t mean that it isn’t “available” to them.
Read more » click here
 

Stay tuned …


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Flood Insurance Program
For more information » click here
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National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 20, 2019.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2020.

FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders. Should the NFIP’s authorization lapse, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings per month.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance.

The level of damage from recent catastrophic storms makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP.

Flood insurance – whether purchased from the NFIP or through private carriers – is the best way for homeowners, renters, business, and communities to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods.
Read more » click here


 

GenX
For more information » click here
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Homeowners Insurance
For more information » click here
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Hurricane Season

For more information » click here
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Inlet Hazard Areas
For more information » click here
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Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
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QUARTERLY LONG-TERM MOA USER’S GROUP MEETING
From: Mike Pearson, Inlet and Beach Protection Board Vice Chair

Todd Horton Chief of Waterways Management
Brennan Dooley Shallow Draft Navigation Project Manager
Wilmington District
Date: 19 February 2020

Brennan Dooley, Shallow Draft Navigation Project Manager, talked about Lockwood Folly and the dredging and sand placement on Holden Beach by Goodloe Marine.  He said there was a large amount of sand taken from the bend widener and placed on Holden Beach.  He stated that the project would be completed either today or tomorrow.  The Corp did their survey of the project on February 18 and the assessment would be done on February 19.  The side-caster Merritt is scheduled to return and begin dredging the Inlet on April 1 – 14, 2020.  As of February 18, there was still $311,000 in the fund to finish the Merritt job.  There also will not be a mobilization charge when the Merritt returns.

Mr. Dooley also gave an update on AIWW maintenance projects for FY 21.
These included:
.     •
Lockwood River Crossing
.     •
Lockwood Inlet Crossing
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Shallotte River Crossing
.     •
Shallotte Inlet Crossing

The schedule is as follows:
  1)
Issue work in June 2020
.   2)
Bids in July 2020
  3)
Award of Contracts in August 2020

Another speaker gave updated rates for the dredges as follows:
.     • Murden – $1,700 per hour
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Currituck – $1,500 per hour
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Merritt – $2,292 per hour 
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Snell – $1,500 per hour
Rates are based on a minimum10-hour day for scheduling purposes


Sand build up in LWF Inlet causing issues as waterway waits for dredging
The narrow passage between Oak Island and Holden Beach is even more narrow than usual as sediment buildup has left Lockwood Folly Inlet at critically shallow depths. According to the Feb. 3 survey by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a majority of the inlet is less than six feet deep at low tide, with localized spots barely having three feet of water. “About any boat that’s going to come in and out of there is going to scrub the bottom at the moment,” said Cane Faircloth, who is president of the Lockwood Inlet Association. Faircloth said before Hurricane Dorian, the inlet was in the best shape it has seen in decades after it was dredged following Hurricane Florence. “We had it, it was about eight feet at low tide, and then Hurricane Dorian hit, and it pumped that thing full of sand,” he said. “And that’s just how mother nature works. You know, you have events you have erosion, so we end up with a lot of sand in it, and then now we’ve been playing catch-up.”
Read more » click here


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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
For more information » click here
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Solid Waste Program

For more information » click here
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Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
///// October 2019
Name:            Benny Rappa’s Trattoria
Cuisine:         Italian
Location:      1453 Highway 17 South, North Myrtle Bch SC
Contact:        843.361.1056 / www.bennyrappas.com

Food:              Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:               Inexpensive <=$18 / Moderate <=$24 / Expensive <=$30 / Exorbitant <=$40
Rating:           Three Stars
Open since 1996, it’s a small restaurant that is very unassuming from the street but is ranked #2 out of @266 restaurants located in North Myrtle Beach. Their chalkboard menu which changes daily, offers about a dozen entrée choices. If you don’t see what you like on the board, ask and they will prepare any dish for you if they have the ingredients. Although the entrees are a bit pricey, the food is terrific and well worth it. They do have an extensive wine list that is very reasonably priced. A trattoria is a home away from home for many Italians where the food is basic, simple, and most of all delicious. I think you’ll enjoy the casual fine dining at this trattoria.


Dining Guide – Local
Old places, New faces
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Name:              Mini Jalapeno
Location:        3408 Holden Beach Road, Supply NC
Main Street Grill permanently closed at the end of February. Mini Jalapeno, a Mexican restaurant opened at this location early in March.
For more information » click here


North Carolina governor bans dine-in service at bars, restaurants
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper will close all bars and restaurants in the state to dine-in customers, only allowing take-out and delivery food services to operate as the state works to stop the spread of COVID-19.


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
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BLUE MOON by Lee Child
This is the twenty-fourth (24) entry in the bestselling series of crime thrillers with vigilante hero Jack Reacher. Reacher arrives by bus, just another stop in a small town in the middle of nowhere, where he sets out to protect the innocent people caught up in a deadly turf war between rival gangs. Situational ethics allow for his breaking a lot of rules. Then once again he is back on the road, as if nothing had happened. Yet another satisfying entry, but perhaps the last. The author plans to pass the writing baton duties to his younger brother.


.That’s it for this newsletter

See you next month


HBPOIN / Lou’s Views

.         • Gather and disseminate information
.         • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

.         • Act as a watchdog
.         • Grass roots monthly newsletter since 2008

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