04 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Emergency Meeting 03/23/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here NA

Audio Recording AM  » click here

Audio Recording PM  » click here


1. Consider Action that May Be Necessary Due to the Coronavirus Threat

Town of Holden Beach has declared a State of Emergency over coronavirus concerns. They are discouraging tourists from traveling to the island. In the Town of Holden Beach Declaration, they have implemented eight (8) prohibitions and restrictions.

Mayor’s Desk
I, with the consensus of all five commissioners have declared a State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach. Click here to view the declaration

DECLARATION OF A LOCAL STATE OF EMERGENCY
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as the Mayor and Emergency Management Director of the Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina, under Article 1A of Chapter 166A of the North Carolina General Statutes and Chapter 33 of the Town of Holden Beach’s Code of Ordinance, I hereby declare a State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach based on the public health emergency posted by COVID-19.

Article 1A. / North Carolina Emergency Management Act.

In consultation with the commissioners at meetings held today at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., the State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach is amended. Click here to view the prohibitions and restrictions to be implemented within the Town of Holden Beach. 


State of Emergency: Beach towns respond to COVID-19
Like dominoes, the beaches lining the Southeastern North Carolina coast have moved to reduce crowds and address concerns regarding the novel coronavirus. The beaches join county governments like Brunswick County, New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington in formally recognizing the threat of COVID-19, and responding.

[ As beaches, bars and restaurants close, what exactly does ‘State of Emergency’ mean? ]

From Topsail Island to Ocean Isle Beach, the local governments of the area beach communities held emergency meetings Monday or over the weekend to address COVID-19, and either declared a state of emergency or modified an existing declaration. Some beaches, including those in New Hanover County, have completely closed, while others are only closing public beach accesses and parking lots.
Read more » click here

Governor Cooper announces state-wide ‘stay-at-home order’
State of NC Executive Order No. 121 with is “STAY AT HOME AND STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR NC IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 CASES”.   This order was issued on March 27th by Gov Roy Cooper and outlines all of the directives the state has put in place and will enforce with respect to Covid-19 safety protocols and procedures.
For more information » click here


BOC’s Emergency Meeting 04/07/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here NA

Audio Recording » click here


1. Report, Review and Evaluate Status of Emergency Operations of the Town and Consideration of Further Protective Measures – Mayor Holden

Declaration of State of Emergency » click here

Brunswick County Coronavirus Update » click here


State of Emergency – Timeline

04/19/20
Item #9 of the existing Town of Holden Beach State of Emergency, which was made effective on April 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., shall hereby be rescinded at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. This action will thus allow the beach strand to be open for the purpose of exercise and relaxation. No congregating shall be allowed. All other parts of the current declaration of emergency shall remain in effect. Click here to view Amendment No. 6.

This amended declaration shall remain in force until rescinded or amended.

04/08/20
Emergency Management Director, in consultation with the Commissioners, have decided to close the beach strand effective Wednesday, April 8 at 11:59pm. Today’s Amendment No. 5 is being added to the existing Declaration of the State of Emergency. Any person who violates any provision of this declaration or any provision of any Executive Order issued by the Governor shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of sixty days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine per offense.
Click here to view Amendment No. 5.

04/01/20
Town of Holden Beach has declared a State of Emergency, Amendment No. 4 is an attempt to more clearly define the purpose (no new tenancy) of the original declaration.
Click here
to view Amendment No. 4.

03/31/20
The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended to coincide with Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Order. Click here to view the Amendment No. 3.

03/27/20
Governor Cooper announces Executive Order No. 121, state-wide Stay at Home Order. Click here to view the Executive Order details. 

03/27/20
The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended regarding short-term rentals. Click here to view the Amendment No. 2.

03/23/20
The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended regarding prohibitions and restrictions to be implemented within the Town of Holden Beach.
Click here to view the Amendment No. 1.

03/23/20
Mayor Holden, with the consensus of all five commissioners, has declared a State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach. Click here to view the Declaration

Coronavirus Information
The Town Hall is currently open during normal business hours. All activities, with the exception of Board of Commissioners’ meetings, scheduled in the Town Hall Public Assembly and conference rooms and the Emergency Operations Center conference rooms are canceled until further notice. The Town encourages residents to follow social distancing protocols and to seek communication options like phone, email and other online resources to limit exposure to others.

Brunswick County has developed a dedicated webpage for community assistance. Click here to view their website. Remember to seek the most verified information from sources likes the CDC, NC DHHS and the county regarding the coronavirus. You can contact the Brunswick County Public Health Call Line at (910) 253-2339 Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You can also email them at coronavirus@brunswickcountync.gov. The NC Public Health Call Line can be reached at 866-462-3821 (open 24/7).

The situation is serious; take it seriously!


BOC’s Regular Meeting 04/21/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording
»
click here


1. Quarterly Financial Update – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
slide presentation
The report presented a snapshot of our current situation at this point in the fiscal year. All debt services were paid, which had been $3.54 million dollars.
At the end of the third quarter we appear to be in good shape.

Monthly statements of actual vs. estimated budget numbers is available at the Town’s website
For more information » click here


2. Report on Town Hall Generator Directive – Town Manager Hewett

Supplemental Agenda Packet » click here  

BOC’s Directive
Have the Town Planning and Inspections Director prepare a document that defines what a critical facility is and whether or not Town Hall meets the criteria. Include the citations from government regulations, ordinances, codes etc. that address the classification of a critical facility.

Have the Town Planning and Inspections Director advise the Town Manager and BOC on whether a backup generator or power source must be permanently affixed to the critical facility  or, in the alternative, can the backup generator or power source be readily accessible on an as needed basis?

Request Brunswick Electric perform an assessment of the electrical needs for Town Hall including the recommended size of a backup generator.

Based on the findings and recommendations of the Brunswick Electric assessment, and within the legal constraints imposed on purchases, provide information on the cost of electrical equipment that would satisfy the electrical power needs of Town Hall

Town Hall Designation and Generator Requirements
At the 17 March 2020 regular monthly meeting of the Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners  the following 4 (four) tasks for Town Manager action were set forth (Att. 1) to assist them in evaluating options available related to the purchase of a generator for Town Hall.  Each task is enumerated below with its corresponding  response. Target completion date was 3 Apr in order to be addressed at the April 21 Board of Commissioners’ meeting.

Task 1.
Have the Town Planning and Inspections Director prepare a document that defines  what a critical facility is and  whether Town  Hall meets  the criteria. Include the citations from government regulations, ordinances, codes etc. that address the classification of a critical facility.
Response:
FEMA guidelines specifically talks about the need to consider police stations and structures that are important (i.e., critical) in the recovery of a governmental entity such as a municipality. The criterium for this does not mitigate occupancy during an event but does inclusively state the structure should be considered and prep for the recovery even after reconstitution. The current town hall more than meets those facility requirements. Having those structures in place and protecting them under the town floodplain ordinance is also qualification for points under the CRS program and being prepared for minimum impact and maximum recovery is important under any emergency or natural disaster. The  following sources were used to determine the Town Hall as a critical facility, the authority having jurisdiction must use article 708 of the NEC to determine under the Critical operation Guidelines as to whether a building or facility should be classified and wired for Critical operations, one of several of those criteria is natural disasters and the impact of the loss of the facility. As the authority having jurisdiction it was my predecessor’s decision, but I can concur it was the right decision. The second source of requirement is that the local government entity has so designated in the Hazard Mitigation plan that the Town Hall is a Critical Facility and by applying it as such, applied it to the NFIP which in turn looks at it has a point critical component of re-constitution.

Task 2.
Have the Town Planning and Inspections Director advise the Town Manager and BOC on whether a backup generator or power source must be permanently affixed to the critical facility or, in the alternative, can the backup generator or power source be readily accessible on an as needed basis?
Response:
The Town hall was designated as a critical facility based on the current definition as established under FEMA guidelines and by doing so the structure was designed to accommodate the very worst-case scenario by the designing architect and engineers (Stewart Cooper Newell), who specifically designed such for both FEMA and the North Carolina Building Code/ National Electrical Code requirements.

North Carolina Building Code requirements requires that the life safety equipment, egress lights and egress components and Fire Apparatus be fully functional in the absence of primary power. Chapter 32 of the North Carolina Building code specifically states accessible egress elevators must have emergency backup power­and while this could be achieved by some alternate means – the egress lights and fire safety equipment must also be considered

The engineers who originally designed the structure designed it based on the critical facility criterion and made the entire structure, as was required under the North Carolina NEC, to comply with the backup power requirements. In a nutshell the entire electrical system within its main components cannot be rewired without tremendous cost to accommodate just the life safety equipment if the Town so chooses to remove the critical facility designation. This course of action would require a complete rework of the electrical components and would not be cost effective, and under the NEC and COPS criteria would require my approval acting in the Capacity of the Chief Building Official. So yes, the generator must be permanently attached to the Structure.

Task 3.
Request Brunswick Electric perform an assessment of the electrical needs for Town Hall including the recommended size of a backup generator.
Response:
In the process of gathering the information for the commissioners, staff engaged with two electrical engineers (Debra Fish- BEMCO and Allen Cribb- CBHF Engineers, PLLC) and spoke with the original designer of the structure. Mr. Cribb’s written analysis is at Att. 2. Both outside engineers and I  reviewed the electrical load over a three-year period and concluded that the maximum usage provided indicated that the generator is oversized considerably. Two engineering firms and two separate generator companies’ evaluations indicated that a 50 percent reduction in the original generator design would be more indicative of the electrical loads applied for a critical facility under the National Electrical Code.

Task 4.
Based  on  the  findings  and  recommendations   of  the  Brunswick  Electric assessment, and within the legal constraints imposed on purchases, provide information on the cost of electrical equipment that would satisfy the electrical power needs of Town Hall.
Response
Informal solicitations have been acquired that indicate that a generator of sufficient   size  can   be   acquired  and   installed  turn   key  with   necessary replacement of the transfer switch for less than $1OOK. Lead times can take up to 12 weeks or longer to acquire the power plant and equipment with installation subject to labor availability. Currently the Town is being supplied back up power capability via a rental 150 kw genset costing approximately $3000/month and which has been procured for 10 more weeks as of this writing.

Previously reported – September 2019
Town Hall genset is history
Discussing options – repair cost / noise level / location are all issues being considered

Previously reported – January 2020
Returned rental to vendor, no budget allocation for backup power generator
Right Angle working on proposal for a permanent solution

A generator set, also known as a genset, is the combination of an electrical generator and an engine mounted together to form a single piece of equipment that produces electrical power. … Generation sets are used in sites that are not connected to the power grid or to supply emergency power when the grid fails.

Editor’s Note –
Why does the Town Hall need a genset?
Don’t we have a genset at the EOC?
Isn’t the EOC where they would be for long term outages like storm events?
These things are not cheap, and we rarely have power outages.

Previously reported – March 2020
Agenda Packet –
Preliminary Engineering Report for Standby Diesel Generator Relocation

Presented with three (3) options as follows:
#1 Near water tank area – 550 feet away                                    $245,650
#2 In the triangle town property – 100 feet away                      $134,010
#3 At existing location with sound absorbing enclosure          $197,400

Town Manager Hewett presented the three options.

Commissioner Murdock took the point and made a very convincing fact-based case that none of these options made sense.

He asked the following questions:
.    1)
Why do we even need a generator for the Town Hall?
.      • THB has
required a power source for less than six (6) hours over the last ten (10) years excluding two (2) storm events
.    2) Why is Town Hall considered a critical facility?
.      • W
e have an Emergency Operation Center that already has a generator
.    3)
If we do require a generator, then why do we need a permanent unit?
.      •
Unit costs a ton of money and we can rent a unit when we need one
.    4)
Why do we need a 300-kilowatt unit?
.      •
BEMC says that a unit a fraction of that size will suffice

Commissioner Sullivan pointed out that there is an exception in our noise ordinance that the government is exempt which represents a $100,000 difference in the cost if we don’t need a sound absorbing enclosure. The Board agreed that the Town Manager needs to do additional legwork and they tasked him with five action items. Everyone recognized the need to be prepared but were not ready to spend a couple hundred thousand without exploring other options.

No decision was made – No action taken

You have to ask: why didn’t our Town manager ask any of these questions? Very impressed with Commissioner Murdock who was really prepared and challenged the proposed action. Kudos!

Update –
Town Planning and Inspections Director Tim Evans handled this agenda item, briefly covering the supplemental agenda packet material. Abridged version is that Town Hall should be designated as a critical facility and Timbo explained why.

Takeaways:

    1. A fifty (50) percent reduction in the original generator design would be adequate
    2. A generator of sufficient  size  can   be   acquired  and   installed  turn  key  for less than $100,000
      * Board made an allocation of funds totaling $209,818 for genset replacement
    3. Currently back up power capability via a rental 150 kw genset costing approximately $3,000/month

Allocation of funds was not an appropriation; Town Manager still needs authorization before funds can be spent. David requested that they allow him to procure generator, in other words delegate contract authority to him. At least some of the Board were not having any part of that and instructed him to present the bids to them for approval as it should be.


3. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 20-09, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 19-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 (Amendment No. 12) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
FEMA Florence and Michael Project Cat Z-Management Costs /Dorian Cat B
This three-part budget amendment will serve to create a working budget for previously expended funds related to Hurricane Dorian and Category Z-Management Costs tor Florence/Michael.   The Dorian amendment is for Category B-emergency protective measures and serves to reimburse the Town for previously expended overtime funds during the storm event.  The Category Z funds will be reimbursed at up to five percent of total expenditures as related to management costs of all PWs related to Florence and Michael  Category Z work requires monthly reporting.

 Recommend Approval

Suggested  Motion:    Approval  of  Ordinance  20-09. and  Ordinance  Amending Ordinance  19-10,  the Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 (Amendment No. 12)

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


4. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 20-03, Designation of Applicant’s Agent (4487-DR-NC, COVID-19) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
Designation of Applicant’s Agent
In a webinar hosted by the NC Department of Public Safety on Thursday, April 9th that we would need to do a Designation of Applicant’s Agent (4487-DR-NC) for the COVID-19 response. Currently there are two declared categories: Category B (emergency protective measures) and Category Z (management costs).   In order to qualify for reimbursements. the BOC will need to designate a primary and secondary agent.

Recommend Approval

Suggested  Motion:    Designation  of  Town Manager  Hewett as  Primary  Agent  and Assistant  Town Manager  Ferguson  as  secondary  agent  on  Resolution  20-03  and  in carrying  out  all  tasks  related  to 4487-DR-NC.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


5. Discussion and Possible Ratification of Decisions Made by Staff Concerning Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The FFCRA allows an employer to exclude  employees who are emergency responders from the leave requirements under the Acts. Based on the current guidance, staff determined  that the following people should be deemed as emergency responders:

Police Department
Public Works Department
Inspections Director
Town Manager, Town  Clerk & Assistant Town Manager
.     * as emergency management personnel

The  Emergency  Family  and  Medical  Lean Expansion  Act: This  Act  adds  a new  category  of qualifying reasons for the employee to take job-protected leave to existing FMLA regulations. The new category is if an employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been  closed or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable due to an emergency with respect to COVID-19 as declared by a federal, state or local authority.

Under the Act, after a 10-day waiting period. employees will be paid two-thirds of their regular rate of pay.

Staff has made the decision that employees deemed emergency responders are excluded from this new qualifying reason.

Emergency  Paid Sick  Leave Act: An employee  is entitled to take leave  related to COVID-19  if the employee is unable to work, including unable to work  because:

    1. The employee is subject to a state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19:
    2. The employee has been advised b) their healthcare provider to self-quarantine because they are infected with or have been exposed to COVID-19 or because they are at high risk of complications from COVID-19:
    3. The employee  is showing  symptoms of COVID-19  and  is seeking  but  has not yet  received  a medical diagnosis:
    4. The employee is caring for someone  subject to a  federal, state or local quarantine or  isolation order related to COVID-19 or who has been advised by their healthcare provider to self-quarantine  for COVI D-19 related reasons; or
    5. The employee is caring  for his or  her son or daughter  because the child’s school or childcarefacility has been closed  or the childcare provider is no longer available because of a COVID-19 related reason.
    6. The  employee  is  experiencing  any  other  substantially similar  condition  specified  by  the  US Department of Health and Human Services.

Under this Act. employees  who cannot  work  for one of the reasons  set forth above are entitled  to a maximum of 80 hours of paid sick leave if they arc full-time employees. Employees become eligible  for emergency paid sick leave as soon as they need it. Employees needing sick leave for provisions 1, 2 and 3 are entitled to the full amount  of emergency  paid sick leave. While employees  needing sick  leave for reasons 4 and 5 are only entitled to two-thirds payment.

Staff has determined that employees deemed emergency responders are excluded from provisions 1, 4 and 5.

All other positions should fully qualify for the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

Staff is asking the Board to ratify the decisions discussed above:

    • The Police Department, Public Works Department, Inspections Director, Town Manager, TownClerk and Assistant Town Manager be deemed emergency responders.
    • Employees deemed emergency  responders  are excluded  for  the  new qualifying  reason  in theEmergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.
    • Employees deemed  emergency  responders  are  excluded  from  provisions  1, 4  and  5  of  theEmergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

The suggested  motion is to ratify the decisions  made by Town  Staff concerning Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Commissioner Sullivan thanked the Town staff for actually limiting the potential benefits they would get;  they could have gotten more. The recommendation that they made potentially could have adversely impacted them. Mike commended the Town staff for doing that.


6. Town Manager’s Report

Inlet Hazard Area
Submitted Town’s positions to the Coastal Resource Commission (CRC)
ATM our coastal consulting engineer provided a technical memo to support our position
Meetings have been canceled, tabled for the time being

Personnel
Vacant police officer position –
filled by Brandon Dosher a former regular and reserve HB police officer

Vacant Budget and Fiscal Analyst position –
filled by Daniel McRainey who is working on MA in accounting

Audit
Currently underway

Budget
Process will need to be abbreviated this year
First BOC’s budget workshop scheduled for Thursday, April 23rd

Lift Station #3
We are on schedule, completion date set for December

Lift Station #3 is progressing as follows:
Advertise for Bids          10/24/19          done
Mandatory Pre-Bids      12/10/19          done
Receive Bids                    12/19/19          done
Contract Award             01/21/20          done
Construction Start        03/23/20          done
Closeout                          12/31/20

Roadway Work
Highland Paving was awarded the $112,500 contract for the Brunswick Avenue West project. Paving work will be started after Easter and should be completed before Memorial Day.

Bend Widener Navigation Maintenance Project
The LWF inlet crossing maintenance project dredging operations were completed.
Sand fencing and vegetation will be put there starting this week

Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund
Town submitted for $100K grant for sand fencing and vegetation

FEMA / Storm Events
Total Cat G beach nourishment funding is now close to $40 million dollars
Five projects in play, full time administrative effort is ongoing
Not helping the situation, we are on our eighth FEMA Project Manager

Annual Beach Survey Monitoring
East Coast Engineering currently on the beach strand this week

Beach Nourishment
Previously reported – January 2020
The sand search continues.  The hydrography survey and vibracores have been completed. However, we were told that an archeological side beam scan is required before we can submit for permit modification. Offshore investigation is moving forward expecting that it will be completed soon.

Previously reported – February 2020
Surveyor left for another opportunity, so we had to source a second surveyor
Work should be completed by the end of February
We need to submit permit revisions by the end of April

Update –
Bad weather has compromised bathymetry
     •
The measurement of depth of water
Now looking at May / June completion date

Special Obligation Bond Legislation
Enabling legislation has been inadvertently removed
Efforts are being made to reinstitute that capability
We both want and need it, this is important to us

Legislative Error Wipes Out Bond Program
Coastal officials said a legislative error last year eliminated a key funding mechanism for beach renourishment and other public projects, which if not fixed could have a big impact on future plans. Last June, in a unanimous vote in both chambers, the North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 381, Reconstitute and Clarify Boards and Commissions, a rewrite of laws for a handful of state boards and commissions affected by a successful executive branch legal challenge to having boards with a majority of legislative appointments. Tucked into the 14-page bill was a one-sentence repeal of Chapter 159I of the state’s general statutes. The repeal eliminated as intended an obsolete board that was in part of the chapter law, but it also deleted authorization for municipalities to use special obligation bonds to finance projects in several categories, including beach renourishment, landfills, transportation, water and wastewater projects, and downtown improvements.

At least one sponsor of last year’s bill said he will work on a fix when the legislature returns at the end of the month for its short session. “The repeal of special obligation bonds was not my intent in sponsoring S381 last year,” Mike Woodard, D-Durham, wrote in an email to Coastal Review Online. “I will work with our local governments to fix this situation when the short session begins.” A legislative staff reply to Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, who asked about the change, also said the change appeared to have been “inadvertent and unintended,” according to an email from McGrady. Scott Mooneyham, director of political communications and coordination for the North Carolina League of Municipalities, said a fix should happen soon. “Given that the repeal appears inadvertent, we would hope that the General Assembly restores the authority as soon as possible,” he said. “This financing is critical when it comes to large capital projects like beach renourishment and solid waste facilities.”
Read more » click here


7. Executive Session Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(A)(6) to Discuss a Personnel Matter – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

No decision was made – No action taken


  • General Comments –

Due to the Town of Holden Beach’s State of Emergency Restrictions and Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Order, in person public attendance is prohibited. The meeting will be livestreamed on the Town’s Facebook page. Visit https://www.facebook.com/holdenbeachtownhall/ to watch the livestream. Public comments can be submitted to heather@hbtownhall.com or deposited in the Town’s drop box at Town Hall prior to 6:00 p.m. on April 21, 2020


.
BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, May 19th

 


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