06 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Budget Workshop 05/28/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion and Possible Action on Generator for Town Hall

Previously reported – April 2020
Informal pricing for procurement of a replacement Town hall generator has been obtained from three power production firms. Categorical costs by vendor for equipment, installation, warranties, and maintenance programs are included in the decision selection matrix.

Presented with three (3) turn key bids as follows:
#1        James River                             $59,600
#2        Gregory Poole                         $69,650           +16.86%
#3        Western Branch                      $71,794           +20.45%

Previously reported – May 2020
Previously Town Manager Hewitt has said that they were not required to accept the recommendation or the lowest bid as long as they select a vendor that was responsive to the bid request. Due to the sense of urgency the informal pricing proposals were difficult to compare apples to apples. The Board requested the Town Manager get additional information so a decision could be made at the next scheduled Budget Workshop meeting.

Update –
Informal bid process caused some problems with comparison shopping. When everything was said and done, all three bids were awfully close. The Board selected Gregory Poole as the vendor and authorized the purchase of a Caterpillar generator from them.

Extremely impressed with Commissioner Murdock who challenged the original proposed action and saved the town a bundle of money. The Board had made an allocation of funds totaling $209,818 for genset replacement; contract awarded for less than $75,000.

2. Budget Workshop

Previously reported – May
Due to coronavirus, the depth and the duration of the economic downturn are extraordinarily uncertain, revenue will be affected. Town Manager Hewett does not expect a major budget hit this fiscal year which ends June 30. However, David anticipates a decline in both property tax and occupancy tax revenue for our next fiscal year potentially creating a huge budget gap. It is pretty hard for them to forecast with so many unknown variables. One of the Town’s largest source of revenue is the occupancy tax, with fewer tourists anticipated there will be less revenue in the pipeline. The sixty-four-dollar question is just how much less revenue to plan for. Local governments must balance their budget, the loss of revenue will need to be addressed by reducing expenses, tapping reserve funds, or increasing taxes. None of these options seem particularly good. At this point in time, they are attempting to maintain services at their current level without taking any extreme measures. Since the Town faces  unprecedented uncertainty regarding budget revenues  in the coming fiscal year, they may need to amend the budget at some point in the future.

§159-15.  Amendments to the budget ordinance.
   Except as otherwise restricted by law, the governing board may amend the budget ordinance at any time after the ordinance’s adoption in any manner, so long as the ordinance, as amended, continues to satisfy the requirements of G.S. 159-8 and 159-13. However, except as otherwise provided in this section, no amendment may increase or reduce a property tax levy or in any manner alter a property taxpayer’s liability, unless the board is ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction, or by a State agency having the power to compel the levy of taxes by the board.

   If after July 1 the local government receives revenues that are substantially more or less than the amount anticipated, the governing body may, before January 1 following adoption of the budget, amend the budget ordinance to reduce or increase the property tax levy to account for the unanticipated increase or reduction in revenues.

Update –
Town Manager Hewett prepared a slide presentation with a recommended path forward.

Key Takeaways

Tax rate
Maintain current tax rate of $.020
A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

Beach & Inlet Capital Reserves Fund
Make transfer of funds as budgeted and continue to fund this account
A decision was made – Approved (3-2)

Police Department
Fund one (1) additional full-time police officer position
Which
brings us up to nine (9) funded full-time positions
Investigate the feasibility of having part-time seasonal officers for next tourist season
A decision was made – Approved (3-2)

Merit Pool
In the past they usually budgeted 3% a year but it was reduced to just 2% this year
The rationale for the lower percentage increase was a combination of things
Most significantly:
    1)
the economic uncertainty because of the pandemic
    2)
the recent Pay Plan adjustment based on MAPS
A decision was made –
Approved (3-2)

Sewer Assessment
Based on legal restrictions the fee will be reduced by 35% from $497 to $370

Each item created a unique coalition,
politics makes
strange bedfellows.


Budget Message 06/01/20

Budget Message » click here

Notice is hereby given that the Budget Message for the Fiscal Year, beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021, has been submitted to the Board of Commissioners. Click here to view the Budget Message.

A public hearing on the proposed Budget will be held by the Board of Commissioners at 7:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 in the Holden Beach Town Hall Public Assembly, 110 Rothschild Street. Due to emergency restrictions pertaining to COVID-19, in person public attendance is prohibited. The public hearing will be livestreamed on the Town’s Facebook page. Visit https://www.facebook.com/holdenbeachtownhall/ to watch the livestream. Comments on the budget will be accepted until June 17, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. If you would like the comments to be heard at the public hearing, they must be submitted by June 16, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. Submit your comments to heather@hbtownhall.com or deposit them in the Town’s drop box in front of Town Hall.

Key Takeaways

        • Use of Beach & Inlet Capital Reserves Fund to pay debt service on Central Reach Special Obligation Bond – $1,473,190
        • Maintaining the current tax rate of 20 cents per hundred dollars
        • Reducing the Sewer Assessment to $370
        • Estimated General Fund Balance of 77%
        • FEMA Hurricane Flo/Mike storm damage mitigation projects – $24.4 million
        • Police Department – add one (1) officer, procurement of three (3) vehicles
        • Sewer Lift Station #2 & #3 – upgrades and financing
        • Public Works – acquisition of Sewer Vactor Truck – $366,405
        • Public Works – procurement of one (1) replacement truck
        • Administration – procurement of one (1) replacement truck
        • Appropriations for a Second Water Tower evaluation
        • Appropriations for a Water/Sewer Capacity Study
        • Ensuring Canal Subdivision’s navigability
        • Continued beach , inlet, and waterways advocacy
        • Funding 2% merit pay performance pool
        • Pave second half of Brunswick Avenue    

Public Hearing 06/16/20

Budget Message » click here

Proposed Budget by Fund
                                                               2018                           2019                           2020
General                                                     $3,447,300                $3,446,793                $3,631,081
Water & Sewer                                        $5,561,260                $5,320,990                $5,066,429
BPART                                                       $5,887,335                $3,078,146                $28,305,961
Canal Dredging                                       $2,551,479                $2,167,214                $2,708,552
Capital Reserve                                       $3,430,452                $3,255,657                $2,393,242
Total All Funds                                        $20,877,826              $17,268,800             $42,105,266

The Board is required to hold a Public Hearing prior to adopting  the budget. The Public Hearing was held at the beginning of the BOC’s June Regular Meeting. Because of pandemic restrictions they cannot enact the budget for at least twenty-four (24) hours after Public Hearing. The proposed budget sets forth four (4) main governmental funds – General, Water & Sewer, BPART (Beach Preservation / Access & Recreation / Tourism), and Canal Dredging. It also includes three (3) Capital Reserve Funds – Beach Nourishment, Water, and Sewer. The total budget is $42,105,266. David stated the budget was prepared as directed by the Board. Went over budget highlights, they were listed as key takeaways from the Budget Message. Commissioners must adopt budget no later than July 1st for the next fiscal year.


BOC’s Regular Meeting 06/16/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Public Comments on Agenda/General Items

Commissioner Woody Tyner sent an e-mail asking for feedback specifically on the budget items, they received forty (40) e-mails that were not read but are posted on the Town website.

I personally thanked Commissioner Tyner for asking for feedback and would like to see the Board solicit input more frequently. Kudos! 


2. Discussion and Possible Consideration of Ordinance 20-10, Budget Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Final Approval No Earlier than 24 Hours After Public Hearing) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
An Ad Valorem Tax Rate of twenty cents ($.20) per one hundred  dollars ($100) at full valuation is levied for Fiscal Year 2020/2021.  The Ad Valorem Tax Collection rate used to calculate the estimated  ad valorem tax revenue is ninety-nine-point zero four percent (99.04%) based on collection rate results from the fiscal year ended 30 June 2019. The total valuation for the new fiscal year is estimated to be one billion three hundred fifty  million nine hundred eighty-five thousand two hundred and sixty-one dollars, ($1,350,985,261).

Way too large a document (@20 pages) to include here. More importantly, the document is not particularly useful to understand the proposed budget.

Ad Valorem Tax
Estimated 2020 tax base is $1,350,985 with tax rate of $.20 per $100 of assessed value
.     a)
$1,350,985 X $.20 = $2,701,970
.     b)
$2,701,970 X 99.04 = $2,676,031
.         •
Tax collection rate of 99.04%
A penny generates $135,098 of tax revenue

The Board revisited issues discussed at the Budget Workshop held in May

Tax rate
Maintain current tax rate of $.020
A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

Beach & Inlet Capital Reserves Fund
Make transfer of funds as budgeted and continue to fund this account
A decision was made – Approved (3-2)

Police Department
Increased funding of  one (1) additional full-time police officer position to two (2) full-time police officer positions
Which brings us up to ten (10) funded full-time positions
Investigate the feasibility of having part-time seasonal officers for next tourist season
A decision was made – Approved (3-2)

Merit Pool
Increased salary merit pool from the 2% they approved to 3% which is what is usually  budgeted
A decision was made –
Approved (4-1)

Proposed budget balanced with revenues equaling expenses. BOC’s were unable to approve the town’s $42.1 million-dollar budget ordinance for the upcoming fiscal year. Because of pandemic restrictions they cannot enact the budget for at least twenty-four (24) hours after Public Hearing.

 In the past, the Town Manager usually did a presentation that included the following:

1) Highlights by Fund
2) What it does do
3) What it doesn’t do
4) Concerns
5) Capital Improvement Plan

Commissioners must adopt budget no later than July 1st for the next fiscal year
Adopting the annual budget is a primary responsibility of the Board.


Despite $4.6 million revenue dip,
no tax increase proposed in Brunswick County budget
Brunswick County will not raise property taxes this year even though some sources of revenue are expected to dip due to the ongoing financial impacts from Covid-19. Though sales tax and revenues collected through various county services and fees are projected to decrease, the county’s draft budget has cut back on spending to accommodate a balanced book.
Read more » click here

Fire fees may mount for some Brunswick County towns
According to Brunswick County Fire Administrator Malcolm “Mack” Smith the following committees have recommended raising their fire fees for the upcoming budget year: Ocean Isle Beach Fire Department (8 percent), Supply Fire & Rescue (23 percent), Leland Fire and Rescue (10 percent), Northwest Fire & Rescue (12 percent), Civietown Volunteer Fire Department (10 percent) and Southport Fire Department (10 percent). “The fire fees are important because they are the primary funding mechanism for fire protection for Brunswick County,” Smith said. Brunswick County fire departments provide fire protection, rescue services and response to Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls in the area. Additionally, the fire departments play a role in community risk reduction through their fire prevention education, child seat checking stations and community outreach. Programs they teach include everything from water safety to fall prevention. Fees also go to paying for employees since volunteer firefighters are becoming a thing of the past. Supply Fire & Rescue Chief Bill Bailey reported that his station struggles getting volunteers during the daytime due to many volunteers holding separate jobs.
Read more » click here


3. Discussion and Possible Action on the Suggested Rules of Procedure for the Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners – Commissioner Kwiatkowski/Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
The Suggested Rules of Procedure in the packets is the version that incorporated Attorney Carpenter’s suggested revisions. Revisions made by the Board at the February meeting are also reflected in this version. The item was removed from the agenda of the Board of Commissioners’ Regular Meeting in March due to the circumstances surrounding the  COVID-19 pandemic, but the rules are  ready for  the Board’s consideration if you desire.

Rules of Procedure document is way too large a document (@20 pages) to include here

Previously reported – December 2019
Agenda Packet –
The Board of Commissioners is required to adopt Rules of Procedure per the Town’s Code of Ordinances, Section 30.19.

I have included the version currently being used. Another version. the Suggested Rules of Procedure for a City Council, by the School of Government has also been used in the past. A copy of this version is also included in your packets. If the Board chooses to adopt either version for the upcoming term, the entire rules can be adopted, or amendments may be made. I suggest the Board review the materials and adopt rules at the January meeting.

The Board is required to adopt some version of Rules of Procedure each year. Heather has given them two (2) options or they can create their own new version. Pat has volunteered to review current version and make recommendations of any necessary changes. This will be on the agenda again next month so that they can adopt rules as required.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – January 2020
Decided to put off discussion until the February meeting giving the Board additional time to review all the changes.

No decision was made – No action taken

Previously reported – February 2020
Despite the number of changes already submitted the Board made additional changes tonight. They decided to revise the document and put it on the agenda at the March meeting, giving the Board additional time to review all the changes.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Despite the number of changes already submitted the Board made additional changes tonight. They adopted it with the suggested changes made by Commissioner Kwiatkowski.

 A decision was made – Approved unanimously


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 20-07, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 30.11: Terms of Office; Filling of Vacancies – Town Clerk Finnell 

Agenda Packet –
In July 2017, the Board of Commissioners voted to amend the charter of the Town of Holden Beach to implement four-year staggered terms for the commissioners. Section 30.11: Terms of Office; Filling of Vacancies was not updated to reflect the change. Ordinance 20-07, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 30.11: Terms of Office; Filling of Vacancies corrects the error.

Staff recommends approval of Ordinance 20-07.

Previously reported – June 2017
Staggered Terms Appointing the members of Boards so that all the members do not change at the same time because their terms expire at different times.

Advantage of Staggered Terms – Help preserve institutional memory by not allowing total rotation of the leadership at one time. Good institutional memory generally improves decision-making and promotes the continuity of good practices and programs.

Reinstitute Staggered Terms – Holden Beach and Bolivia are the only Brunswick County town governments that do not have staggered terms. The Board normally would have two (2) options on how they could make change back to staggered terms. We will need to do a referendum for it to be in effect before the November 2017 elections. It will take two election cycles to fully implement. Justification given is to preserve continuity.

Referendum – a general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.

By unanimous vote, the Board of Commissioners approved the crafting of a resolution that would put the proposed changes to voters as a referendum on the ballot in November of 2017. If the referendum is approved the staggered terms would be implemented after the November of 2019 election. To be clear, only registered voters of Holden Beach would get to vote on the referendum.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – July 2017
Agenda Packet –
ORDINANCE 17-10 / AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH TO IMPLEMENT FOUR-YEAR STAGGERED TERMS FOR THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS.

Section 2. At the regular municipal election to be held on November 5, 2019, the three commissioner candidates who   receive the   highest number   of votes shall be elected for four-year terms, while the two commissioner candidates who receive the next highest   number   of votes shall be elected for two-year terms.  At the regular municipal election to be held in 2021, and every four years thereafter, two commissioners on the Board of Commissioners shall be elected to serve for four­ year terms. At the regular municipal election to be held in 2023, and every four years thereafter, three commissioners of the Board of Commissioners shall be elected to four-year terms.

Previously reported – November 2017
Referendum was approved so we will implement the four-year staggered terms beginning in 2019.

Previously reported – March 2020
In July 2017, the Board of Commissioners voted to amend the charter of the Town of Holden Beach to implement four-year staggered terms for the commissioners.  Section 30.11: Terms of Office; Filling of Vacancies was not updated to reflect the change. Ordinance 20-07, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 30.11: Terms of Office; Filling of Vacancies corrects the error.

Update –
Administrative housekeeping issue, correction was made, and they adopted the ordinance.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


5. Discussion and Possible Action on Membership of Town Boards and Committees – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Attached is list of current members serving on boards and committees of the town. Appointments to most boards are typically made in July of each year. The members who are highlighted have terms that are expiring.

A majority of the current members are eligible to serve another term if they are interested and the Board agrees (highlighted in yellow on lists). There are a couple of members who have reached the maximum terms allowed for their positions (highlighted in blue on lists). Normally the Board will hold interviews for any vacancies on the various boards at this time.

Due to the current restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, staff needs direction on our interview process. Options include soliciting volunteers, with the Board making their decisions based on the applications submitted or having staff arrange for a remote interview process. Please let me know if you have any questions

Blue / not eligible to serve another term, there are three (3) volunteers
Yellow / eligible to serve another term, there are thirteen (13) volunteers

Discussion was on how to proceed given the current restrictions in interviewing candidates. None of the Boards or Committees are currently holding any meetings. Therefore, there is no sense of urgency, so they decided to  hold off on doing anything at this time.

No decision was made – No action taken


6. Discussion Related to Hiring a Firm to Conduct an Evaluation to Determine System Development Fees – Commissioner Sullivan 

Agenda Packet –
GENERAL ASSEMBLY  OF NORTH CAROLINA SESSION 2017
SESSION LAW 2017-138 / HOUSE  BILL 436
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR UNIFORM AUTHORITY TO IMPLEMENT SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEES FOR PUBLIC WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS IN  NORTH CAROLINA AND TO CLARIFY THE APPLICABLE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.

For more information » click here


Review of Development Fees Timeline

Previously reported – February 2018
North Carolina General Assembly – House Bill 1730 / S.L. 2004-96
Enacted on 07/13/2004
Gives us the authority to impose sewer fees
For more information » click here

Holden Beach Sewer Treatment Fee
For more information » click here

House Bill 436 / Public Water and Sewer System Development Fee Act
Enacted on 07/20/2017
Eliminates the authority to charge the sewer fee
Authority to impose fees has been modified
Necessitates us having to retool water and sewer fee rate schedule
Recommends it be prepared by licensed professional engineer
Town must comply not later than July 1, 2018
Town Manager plans to commission McGill and Associates to develop rate schedule
For more information » click here

Previously reported – April 2018
McGill and Associates has prepared the System Development Fees Report for the Town. The report was posted to our website on March 26th and written comments were solicited. The report must be posted for at least 45 days.

In accordance with §162A-209, after expiration of the posting period, the Board needs to hold a public hearing prior to considering the adoption of the analysis. We recommend the Board schedule the Public Hearing for May 14th.

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

Previously reported – May 2018
In accordance with §162A-209, after expiration of the posting period, the Board needs to hold a public hearing prior to considering the adoption of the analysis. The Board has scheduled to hold a Public Hearing on May 23rd at 1:00pm

Previously reported – June 2018
Agenda Packet –
Legislation House Bill 436 required a Public Hearing as one of the steps that must happen before the Town can move forward and implement the charges. HB436 is prescriptive, with precise instructions and the report given is in accordance with the legislation. The next steps are adoption of the study report and creating Ordinance that incorporates the recommended fees into a fee schedule. This process must be completed no later than July 1st. We are required to review the fee schedule and must reevaluate it in a maximum five-year timeframe.
RESOLUTION 18-04 / ADOPTING SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEES REPORT
RESOLUTION 18-05 / AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH FEE SCHEDULE
Fee Schedule / Water and Sewer System Development Fees

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / RESOLUTION 18-04
RESOLUTION ADOPTING SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEES REPORT

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH / RESOLUTION 18-05
RESOULUTION AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH FEE SCHEDULE

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – July 2018
RESOLUTION 18-04 / ADOPTING SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEES REPORT
RESOLUTION 18-05 / AMENDING THE HOLDEN BEACH FEE SCHEDULE

Fee is based on combination of existing system capacity and planned capital improvements to expand capacity  

An unintended consequence of System Development Fee adopted in June

    • Seven (7) bedroom permit was $10,000 now costs $30,000 a difference of $20,000
    • Five (5) bedroom permit was $7,000 now costs $21,000 a difference of $14,000

That’s a whapping 300% increase which will negatively impact new construction on the island. By comparison, Ocean Isle Beach had a minor increase since their system is older and already paid for. I’d expect to see both the General Contractors and the Realtors up in arms. Unchanged we will have significantly reduced the future revenue stream from new construction from both our Ad Valorem and Occupancy taxes. Really don’t see how the Board doesn’t have to reevaluate the fee schedule.          

Town Attorney Noel Fox walked them through the prescriptive legislation and all the protocols that were followed which was a lengthy and complicated procedure. Most of the community including contractors and realtors were unaware of the significant fee increase. Based on what was presented to the public, a reasonable case could be made that posting System Development Fees without any explanation given as to the effect on construction cost is why no one questioned the report or even knew the building permit fees would be impacted.  Although the process was followed as required, they are now aware that people who needed to know didn’t. Thus, the brouhaha. In an attempt to address any misunderstanding, the Board submitted some thirty (30) questions for the Town Manager to complete and post on the Town website. It appears that they are at least willing to give it a second look. They were elected, and it is strictly their call whether to make an adjustment or not.  I got the feeling that the Board took umbrage to some of the comments that were made, particularly a lack of understating what the fee schedule change would actually translate to in dollars and cents. In addition, they questioned the negative economic impact that was suggested by some of the speakers. If in fact they decide to reduce the development fee it was established that they can’t make it retroactive.



This Board –

1) chose to implement the max recommended fee schedule
2)
did not adequately consider whether the increased fee would “unduly burden new development”

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

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

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

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

Repeal the Board’s Previous Vote on Implementation of the Water and Sewer Development Fee
They repealed and replaced the development fee schedule

    1. Repealed Resolution 18-05
    2. Replaced with the following interim fee schedule:
        • Water Capacity Fee is $100 per bedroom
        • Sewer Capacity Fee is $2,700 per bedroom

A five (5) bedroom in the sewer fee schedule before June 30th was $13,125
A five (5) bedroom in the new interim sewer fee schedule after June 30th is $13,500
A five (5) bedroom in both the old and the new interim water fee schedule is $500
Total cost of $14,000 vs. $13,625, approximately what the fees were before July 1st

For those property owners that already paid their sewer share fee they will get a credit of $2,700 per bedroom up to and including a five-bedroom house; additional bedrooms will be assessed at $2,700 per bedroom

This is an interim fee schedule until they have an opportunity to reevaluate the situation

 A decision was made – Approved (3-2)
Vote was three (3) to two (2), no surprise there
Mayor Pro Tem Sullivan and Commissioner Kwiatkowski both voted against the motion

Previously reported – October 2018
Discussion of Activities and Timelines to Re-conduct the Determination of Maximum Sewer and Water System Development Fees and Subsequently Set “Permanent Fees Before the End of 2018 – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

All Pat said is that the interim rates would remain in effect for the next ninety (90) days which takes us into 2019.

No discussion of activities, timelines, or variables being considered were shared with the public.

Previously reported – February 2019

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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 – April 2019
Discussion and Possible Action to Instruct Town Manager to Obtain Bids for the Development of a Cost Justified Water and Wastewater System Development Fees Report – Commissioner Freer
a. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 19-07, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 1810, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2018 – 2019 (Amendment No. 7)

Agenda Packet –
ORDINANCE NO.19-07
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE NO.18-10,

THE REVENUES AND APPROPRIATIONS ORDINANCE FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018-2019 (Amendment No.7)

Moved funds of $10,000
From Revenue account #30.0399.0500 to Expense account#30.0810.0400

The original motion was to allocate funds 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.

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 –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

Previously reported –March 2020
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

Update –
Commissioner Sullivan did a brief timeline review that explained how we got here on this issue. The current Development Fees were supposed to be an interim fee schedule. Request was made that an analysis be conducted so they can establish fees based on the facts. They still have to make a choice between financial professional vs. engineering firm to do the analysis.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


7. Discussion Related to Increased Police Resources – Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Commissioner Sullivan requested a committee investigate the feasibility of hiring seasonal part-time police officers for the next budget year. The motion tasked the committee with looking into this option. Both Pat and Mike volunteered to be on the committee.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Editor’s note –
The Town of Holden Beach has 575 permanent residents and this year we have budgeted for ten (10) full-time officers and zero (0) part-time officers. By contrast, The Town of Ocean Isle Beach has 554 permanent residents and
employs thirteen (13) full-time officers and ten (10) part-time seasonal officers.


8. Discussion and Possible Action on Potential Issues –Commissioner Tyner

Agenda Packet –
Loose Ends

Loose Ends (16)

        • Waste Ordinance Enforcement Policy                          January 2019
        • Fee Based Rollout of Containers                                     January 2019
        • Commercial District / Zoning                                         February 2019
        • Development Fees                                                             April 2019      
        • Parking                                                                               October 2019             
        • Mega-Houses / Zoning                                                     October 2019 
        • Audit Remedial Policies & Procedures                          November 2019
        • Rules of Procedure                                                            December 2019
        • Land Use Plan                                                                    January 2020
        • Dog Park                                                                             January 2020
        • 796 OBW                                                                             January 2020
        • Speed Limit                                                                        January 2020
        • IBPB – Dune Protection Game Plan                               February 2020
        • Staggered Terms                                                               March 2020    
        • Beach Patrol                                                                      April 2020
        • VRBO Action Plans                                                           April 2020

Waste Ordinance Enforcement Policy

Previously reported – January 2019
Defining the Waste Ordinance Enforcement Policy
Discussion was about how to combine education with enforcement and how do we effectively communicate the rule change to the public. Pat plans to meet with Town staff and put something together for the next BOC’s meeting. David reminded the Board that they need to keep in mind that there is a cost associated with the enforcement phase. At least three (3) of the Board members want to hold off issuing any civil fines until we are able to offer a fee-based rollout service. 

Chapter 50: Solid Waste
Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
Enforcement fines to those not following the yard waste requirements
Enforcement fines for those placing trash on the ground or on top of trash containers
Enforcement and communication reside with the town staff to determine
Examine the possibility of providing a rollout program in addition to rollback.

We were told protocols would be established, communication to the public would be made, followed by enforcement. When are we planning to do these tasks?


Fee Based Rollout

Previously reported –
January 2019
Discussion and Possible Action to Include Fee Based Rollout of Waste and Recycle Containers in Ordinance 18-16, Chapter 50: Solid Waste – Commissioner Freer

The saga continues. Apparently, some of the Board members feel that we have only addressed half of the problem. Therefore, we should hold off until we are able to implement a fee-based rollout service. David pointed out that implementing a rollout service was not as simple as it would seem, a number of variables make it much more complex than the rollback program. Peter volunteered to take the point on this issue.

The question that needs to be asked is: Why didn’t we have this conversation before adopting the ordinance? The process started in August and Ordinance 18-16 was adopted in December of 2018.


Commercial District

Previously reported – February 2019
Tim made a mea culpa for presenting this before getting adequate feedback regarding the major impact of the changes. Unfortunately, the ordinance is not going to work as presented. It appears that it would have more negative impact on commercial properties then they thought once they looked at individual parcels. It was recommended and decided that it should be sent back to P&Z Board to address these issues. There is no hurry and they would like to get it right.

Previously reported – March 2019
Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 19-05, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 157.062: Commercial District– Planning Director Evans
a)
Discussion and Possible Scheduling of a Date to Hold a Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to Section 157.062: Commercial District


Development Fees

Previously reported – April 2019
Discussion and Possible Action to Instruct Town Manager to Obtain Bids for the Development of a Cost Justified Water and Wastewater System Development Fees Report – Commissioner Freer
a. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 19-07, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 1810, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2018 – 2019 (Amendment No. 7)

Agenda Packet –
ORDINANCE NO.19-07
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE NO.18-10,

THE REVENUES AND APPROPRIATIONS ORDINANCE FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018-2019 (Amendment No.7)

Moved funds of $10,000
From Revenue account #30.0399.0500 to Expense account#30.0810.0400

The original motion was to allocate funds 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.

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?


Parking

Previously reported – October 2019
Agenda Packet –
After due discussion and consideration, in April 2018 the Board of Commissioners voted to revise ordinance section 72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS OF WAY. The revised ordinance contains section(k) It shall be a violation of this chapter to leave standing any portion of a vehicle in a lawful parking area between the hours of 2:00am and 5:00am.

The stated purpose for the revision was a concern for the safety, privacy, and property rights of the property owners of Holden Beach. Due to an increase in proactive enforcement measures of the Holden Beach Police Department related to parking in the right of way, the benefit of the revision has been questioned by some residents and visitors.

It was the original intent of the Board to prohibit parking only in the nine municipal areas between the hours of 2:00a.m.- 5:00a.m. If an owner wants to restrict parking, they can use a post and rope fence. If someone parks between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. and is carrying on, then just call the Police the same way you would any other time of the day.

Previously reported – February 2020
Directives for Town Attorney Action

1. Date of BOC Meeting:  February 11, 2020
2. Agenda Item # 23: Executive Session with Town Attorney
3.
Issue: Revision of Current Ordinance Section 72.02 Parking Regulated on Public Streets and Rights of Way
4.
Request to: Town Attorney
5. Motion: Request the town attorney conduct research on the State of North Carolina’s notice requirements related to parking restrictions on public roads and rights of way and the permissibility or limitations on granting residents/owners parking privileges greater than those enjoyed by the public at large.
6.
Action Requested:  Request the town attorney conduct research on the State of North Carolina’s notice requirements related to parking restrictions on public roads and rights of way and the permissibility or limitations on granting residents/owners parking privileges greater than those enjoyed by the public at large.
7.
Vote Tally: 5-0
8. Proposed Deadline: No later than March 16, 2020 for discussion at the March 17, 2020 BOC Meeting.


Mega-Houses
Originally reported – October 2019

 Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –
The Board directed  Inspections Director Evans to prepare an ordinance around his description for house size  limitation and provide it to the attorney  before it was presented  to the Board for review. Attorney Carpenter has advised me that she does not have any concerns with the ordinance prepared by Inspections Director Evans. It is enclosed for your review.

We have been working on this issue for at least the last five (5) years. Timbo did not make slide presentation since he has made this same presentation numerous times already. The abridged version is simply that you can’t build as big a house that you could before. State statutes require that the governing board hold a public hearing prior to the adoption, amendment, or repeal of any ordinance regulating development. Therefore, it was decided to schedule a Public Hearing before the next Regular BOC’s meeting so they can adopt the Ordinance.


Audit Remedial Policies & Procedures

Previously reported – November 2019
Discussion and Possible Action to Recommend Remedial Policies or Procedures with Respect to Obstruction, Interference or Non-Cooperation in Connection with Audits, Investigations or Reviews of the Town’s Affairs – Commissioner Freer

Plan was to ask attorney for some direction. Since the attorney was not in attendance, they delayed discussion until the attorney is present at the next meeting.


 Rules of Procedure

Originally reported – December 2019
The Board is required to adopt some version of Rules of Procedure each year. Heather has given them two (2) options or they can create their own new version. Pat has volunteered to review current version and make recommendations of any necessary changes. This will be on the agenda again next month so that they can adopt rules as required.

Previously reported – February 2020
Despite the number of changes already submitted the Board made additional changes tonight. They decided to revise the document and put it on the agenda at the March meeting, giving the Board additional time to review all the changes.


Land Use Plan

Originally reported – October 2019

Previously reported – January 2020
Discussion and Possible Action on Land Use Plan
a.
Discussion and Possible Action on Suggested Changes to Draft Land Use Plan – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
b.
Discussion and Possible Scheduling of a Date to Hold a Public Hearing to Hear Proposed Comments on the Land Use Plan – Inspections Director Evans

Agenda Packet –
Commissioner Kwiatkowski has prepared the changes discussed by the Board at the January 17th Special Meeting (Attachment 1 ). Wes Macleod has reviewed them and asked that staff communicate to the Board that Goal 4.2 on page 4-16 comes from the state’s 7B planning guidelines (Attachment 2). He encourages the Board to consider leaving the goal as originally written.

The  proposed  plan was  approved  by the  Department  of  Coastal  Management. The  next step  in the adoption process would be to schedule a public hearing on the plan. Staff recommends the Board set the public hearing for April 21st at 7:00p.m.


Dog Park

Previously reported – January 2020
Dog park was utilized for canal dredging spoil site. We did some site ditching prior to Hurricane Dorian storm event to facilitate draining of the pond.

Intent is to reestablish pre-dredge capabilities which in order of priority are as follows:

      • Permitted primary disaster debris management area
      • Public Works lay down yard
      • Dog Park

Must maintain compliance with environmental permit and monitoring
Safety is the priority for this site, at present it is not ready for use

Previously reported – February 2020
Discussion and Possible Direction Concerning Property Owners’ Desire for a Dog Park to Replace the One Previously Located on Scotch Bonnet Drive – Commissioner Tyner 

Agenda Packet –
Several property owners offered comments at January’s Board of Commissioners meeting during the public comment time on the agenda concerning the desire to see a replacement dog park for the previous one located on Scotch Bonnet Drive.

The purpose  of this  agenda item is to discuss  the concerns expressed  by the property owners  and determine  whether the Board  should  request  the Town Manager to explore options to replace the previous dog park.


796 OBW

Previously reported – September 2019
Ordinance 19-15, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance (#3)

    • Provide funds for purchase of property at 796 OBW – approved $349,000
    • A significant portion of the cost of acquiring this property is offset by us no longer needing to do additional acoustical engineering.

Previously reported – January 2020
We need to determine what we will do with the building. The first step is deciding how you want to use the property. Pat’s position is that we need to keep building because of noise abatement issues. Board wanted to hand this off  to the Parks & Recreation Committee for them to develop some potential uses.

Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –

Directive to:
Parks and Recreation Board

Issue  and Action  Requested:
The Town purchased 796 OBW, the property next to Sewer Pump Station 3, primarily as a solution for decibel concerns due to proximity. Various potential uses for the property were discussed, including possibilities for public use. It was agreed to defer any decision on the best use of the building to 2020, when a proper plan of action would be determined. With potential public uses of the building in the mix, Parks and Rec is appropriate to lead this effort. Parks and Rec is asked to seek input and recommend possible uses for 796 OBW.

Background and Potential Implications:
When the Town purchased 796 OBW, a number of possible uses for the building were identified as potentially viable, some involving staff use and some public use. Instead of exploring costs for all possibilities, it was decided to defer further evaluation until 2020, when input could be sought and a “short list” of possible uses defined before examining re-modelling and re-zoning implications. Without  a  pre-screen,  internal time  and  money could  be  wasted  on evaluating facility uses that are not of interest to either staff or our property owners or simply not possible given the nature of the location and/or structure.

Charge Questions:
1) What uses do our residents and property owners envision and prefer?
2)
What uses does Town staff envision and prefer?
3)
Does proximity of the pumping station impact the viability of the envisioned use
4)
Does proximity to neighboring properties impact the viability of the envisioned use?
5)
Is parking going to be adequate for the envisioned use?
6)
What other possible upsides or downsides might be associated with the envisioned use?
7)
Will it be possible to request grant money to  help defer remodeling and/or maintenance costs for the envisioned use?

Proposed Deadline:
September 2020 BOCM

Most of the discussion was over what the next step should be. It can be characterized as: which comes first the chicken or the egg? The choice between sending it to Parks & Rec Board or sending it to Timbo in Planning & Inspections Department. Between us, this is the same exact discussion we had last month but here we are again. By sending it to the Planning Department first the thinking is that it will help to narrow down the parameters of what we can do there. Once we know what we can do then we can discuss what we would prefer to do. Consensus was to send it to Timbo now and hold off on tasking Parks & Rec Board.


Speed Limit

Originally reported – January 2020
Discussion and Possible Action Pertaining to the Speed Limit on Ocean Boulevard – Commissioner Sullivan

Proposal is to reduce speed limit on OBW to 35 miles per hour year-round

Police Chief Dixon had four (4) talking points

      1. Accident death rate goes from 45% to 85% when speed is increased by 10mph
      2. Stopping distance increases by 79 feet when speed is increased by 10mph
      3. Time difference from general store to west end gate is just over 1 minute with change
      4. Lower speed limit allows golf carts and installation of crosswalks

Previously reported – February 2020
Speed Limit on Ocean Boulevard
John Plumridge made appeal again, at the Public Comments section of the meeting, in favor of keeping OBW at 35mph year-round. His case is plain and simple, we need to take reasonable precautions to safeguard pedestrians. Despite the talking points presented the community still does not appear to be convinced about making the change. The Board hedged their bets, seeking additional public input since it is pretty much a split decision right now. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on them putting safety over mobility.


IBPD

Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –

Directive to:
Inlet Beach Protection Board (IBPB)

Issue  and Action  Requested:
Stay off the dunes warning signs do not provide information on why the dune system is important for environmental and economic reasons, or how human behaviors can damage the dunes. Without a better understanding of the importance and fragility of dune systems, owners and visitors may not realize how some of their behaviors can damage dunes. The IBPB should recommend a 1 pager detailing the importance of maintaining dunes and potential negative implications of some of the owner and visitor behaviors that are frequently observed, also restating (not threatening) the legal consequences of not obeying the signs. The IBPB should also recommend ways the message can best be delivered to owners and visitors.

Background and  Potential  Implications:
Residents often see examples of  visitor behaviors damaging to dunes. It is likely the visitors don’t realize the potential harm of their actions. Signs stating stay off the dunes and showing the penalty of not complying do not help educate owners and visitors on why the dune system is critical and how their behaviors can cause harm. Until there is better understanding, behaviors wont change.

Charge Questions:
1) What publications/public information support the 1 pager?
2)
Is the information consistent with state and local law/regulation?

Proposed Deadline:
May  2020 BOCM


Staggered Terms

Previously reported –
March 2020
Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 20-07, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 30.11: Terms of Office; Filling of Vacancies – Town Clerk Finnell 

Agenda Packet –
In July 2017, the Board of Commissioners voted to amend the charter of the Town of Holden Beach to implement four-year staggered terms for the commissioners.  Section 30.11: Terms of Office; Filling of Vacancies was not updated to reflect the change. Ordinance 20-07, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 30.11: Terms of Office; Filling of Vacancies corrects the error.


Beach Patrol

Previously reported –
April 2020
At the last budget meeting the Town Manager characterized Beach Rangers as just for PR

That is not my understanding, PR was only one of their roles on the beach strand

If the Beach Rangers were strictly for public relations, why wasn’t Christy tasked with supervising them?

If they were never supposed to be out there for code enforcement than why is Timbo in charge of them?

The three stated goals were –

      1. Put a friendly face out there to interact with guests
      2. Educate guests about targeted ordinances to get compliance
      3. Explain the purpose of the ordinance and consequences for non-compliance

 So, only one of the three stated goals are public relations with the other two being code enforcement


 VRBO Action Plans

Previously reported – April 2020
Discussion of Occupancy Tax collection from VRBO properties

Local occupancy tax collectors should put the burden on property owners to prove that they are either satisfying their occupancy tax obligations on their rentals or that they are not personally responsible for those taxes under the rules described above. If the tax collector knows of properties being rented on-line but not paying occupancy taxes and polite requests for payment have failed, the tax collector could send estimated occupancy tax bills to the owners based on the rates listed for those properties on-line. The bills could explain that the local government will proceed with enforced collection efforts unless the taxpayers provide documentation to disprove the local government’s estimates of liability. 

Occupancy Taxes and Airbnb

More Occupancy Tax Q & A

New software will redefine how New Hanover County tracks Short Term Rentals
The county’s new approach – known as Short Term Rental Helper – is produced by Bear Cloud Software, and was developed out of a similar, albeit slightly more extreme, set of circumstances. New Hanover County’s use of STR Helper focuses largely on its tax revenue aspect. For Lisa Wurtzbacher, the county’s chief financial officer, the two important pieces are an online portal that allow rental owners to make monthly room occupancy tax payments online. It also allows the county to know when people who aren’t paying ROT book a room or building online. Some people might think that there’s a punitive aspect to the compliance side, but that’s not really it – we’re just asking people to pay for what they’re using. If you have one property paying (ROT) and then another one not, that’s not a level playing field,” Wurtzbacher said. ‘We think most people will find this system much easier to use (than the current mail-in system). We want it to a win-win.” The county plans to finalize its deal with STR Helper in April and roll out the program by July 1, the start of the county’s fiscal year.
Read more » click here

Your Reservation Has Changed: Regulating the Sharing-Economy
What can our county do to capture lost tax revenue?
STRs present counties with two kinds of tax revenue possibilities: sales tax and, in many places, occupancy taxes. And one common reason for STR regulation is to create a plan for tax collection. The sales tax applies to everyone throughout the state. However, a local act is needed to establish an occupancy tax.

Not all hope is lost for those wishing to collect the occupancy tax from local hosts. The Town of Ocean Isle has been extremely resourceful (and successful) in its approach to collecting the occupancy tax, and, according to tax collector Wendy Barbee, all it takes “is a little investigative work.” Barbee explained that the investigative work (which is handled by one customer service representative) includes scrolling through the online booking sites to identify new listings, locating those properties on the Brunswick County GIS, and notifying the homeowners of the requirement to pay the occupancy tax. To help with enforcement, the town sends a letter each December to property owners asking if they plan to rent their property in the following tax year. If so, the homeowner receives an occupancy tax coupon book to use in remitting the tax bill on a monthly basis. New homeowners are automatically sent a letter informing them of the obligation to pay local taxes on STR income. Barbee admits that the task of creating a master list of all STR properties was initially labor intensive. However, now the town primarily focuses on identifying new rentals, which they estimate to be about 40-50 properties per year.

The takeaway here is that local governments may want to get creative in their tax collection efforts, even if they opt out of regulating the overall use of STRs. Educating homeowners on this topic and making compliance easy are ways to ensure that your local government does not miss out on a sizable portion of funding.
Read more » click here


Update –
Three of the Board recommended that they need to prioritize these items sooner rather than later. Two items were addressed on the agenda at this meeting. Consensus was that they need to prioritize these items by what’s important and urgent, assign Board member to run herd and start chipping away at this list. The Town Manager suggested they look at it from the perspective of how they relate to their goals and objectives that they had established as strategic items and they wanted to move towards. For no apparent reason, David got pretty upset and went into a tirade about how it sounded like he and his staff were just sitting on their hands and not doing anything. At that point, it was decided that they would revisit the unfinished business items at the July meeting and determine what can they work on.

No decision was made – No action taken

Woody gave me a shout-out for the work I did on this that was posted on Lou’s Views

Thank You!

For those of you that did not listen to the audio recording, our Town Manager took umbrage to this agenda item   and its title Loose Ends. The definition of loose ends is a fragment of unfinished business or a detail that is not yet settled or explained which is exactly the point of the document. My intent in submitting these items to the BOC’s was to be a sort of catalyst so that they would be put back in the queue. Most of these agenda items were started and then put on hold and some with little additional effort could be brought to a resolution. At least some of these issues were put on pause even before the pandemic brought everything to a grinding stop. David’s rant was inappropriate and an inexplicable reaction since the list was about unfinished business, which is their current status, and was not about either him or his staff. The fact of the matter, it is the Board that needs to continue working on them and move these issues to closure and at least three of Board saw it that way too.  


9. Police Report

Police Patch
It’s the busy season on Holden Beach
Typical summertime fun at the beach


Public Safety Announcement

The Police Department would like to remind everyone that it is important to protect your personal property. Remove all items of value from your vehicle when you are not driving it. Always lock your vehicle doors when you are not in it. Leaving items on display, whether on the dashboard or sitting on a passenger seat, is an invitation to opportunist individuals. Make sure to follow these important tips!


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


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


Pets on the beach strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / §90.20
Pets must be on a leash at all times on the island.
From May 20th through September 10th
It is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand
. * During the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm


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


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


Parking
§72.02 PARKING REGULATED ON PUBLIC STREETS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY.
(1) All vehicles must be as far off the public street rights-of-way as possible; and
(2) No vehicle may be left parked on any portion of any roadway; and
(3) No vehicle may be parked on portion of the sidewalk.


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


10. Town Manager’s Report

Sewer Lift Station #3
Both the progress meeting and the engineers on-site inspection were completed
Project is on schedule

Brunswick County Issues
.   1) Considering revising terms Sewer Service Agreement
.   2)
Considering revising terms Wholesale Water Contract
.   3)
CARES Act relief funds THB received only $8,000

LWF Inlet Navigation Maintenance Project
Inlet crossing maintenance project dredging operations were completed
Navigability questionable, decent channel cut but the buoys not placed properly

USACE
Sand for the AIWW contract scheduled to go to Oak Island

Central Reach Project / 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

Previously reported – April 2020
Bad weather has compromised bathymetry, the measurement of depth of water
Now looking at May / June completion date

Previously reported – May 2020
Working on requirements for archeological survey
Plan to submit permit sometime in June

Update –
On schedule plan to submit permit sometime in August

Editor’s Note –
How is this on schedule? This was supposed to be completed in February.

Recreation Programs
Continuing to adapt due to coronavirus restrictions
Tide-dye has become a do it yourself activity
The first five (5) concerts of the season will be rescheduled to a later date


In Case You Missed It –

HB Bridge Safety Railing Project
Contract was awarded October 29, 2018
C
ompletion date for the contract to be October 1, 2019
Work on the bridge safety railing has been delayed
COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in delayed fabrication and delivery of the rail
Work is scheduled to resume on June 15th.

Update –
Work started a week before the date it was scheduled to resume. The existing concrete railing structure doesn’t meet the 48” minimum safety standard height requirement  guidelines for cycling and pedestrians. The existing railing is only 27″ high, the newly installed railing adds another  21” which gets us up to the 48” minimum safety standard height requirement.  Just so you know, work has not been completed yet.


11. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11 (A)(6) to Discuss Qualifications, Competence, Performance of a Public Officer or Employee–Commissioner Tyner

No decision was made – No action taken


Recessed Meeting: The June 16th Regular Meeting of the BOC’s has been recessed to Thursday, June 18th at 3:30 p.m.


Continuation BOC’s Regular Meeting – 06/18/20

Audio Recording » click here

1. Discussion and Possible Consideration of Ordinance 20-10, Budget Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 – Town Manager Hewett

The Board engaged the Town Manager with a number of issues to get clarification and ensure everyone was clear as to what was being agreed to. Brilliant!

Proposed budget balanced with revenues equaling expenses
BOC’s approved the town’s budget ordinance for the upcoming fiscal year

A decision was made – Approved (3-1)

Mayor Pro Tem Gerald Brown was not in attendance


      • State of Emergency – Timeline

        06/02/20
        With the exception of the playground and splash pad, Bridgeview Park is now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 10 of the Town’s State of Emergency.

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

        05/29/20
        With the exception of Bridgeview Park (across from Town Hall), Town recreational areas are now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 9 of the Town’s State of Emergency. 

        05/22/20
        Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 141 which is a transition to Phase 2 of a three-part plan to reopen North Carolina amid the coronavirus pandemic went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, May 22. The Governor announced that they are lifting the Stay at Home order and shifting to a Safer at Home recommendation. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

        05/18/20
        Public restroom facilities are now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 8.

        05/08/20
        Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 138 to modify North Carolina’s stay-at-home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions. Phase 1of Governor Cooper’s three-part plan to reopen North Carolina amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, May 8. It’s the first step in the state’s gradual return to normalcy. Phase two is expected to begin two to three weeks after phase one, given that certain conditions are met. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

        04/30/20
        Having consulted in an emergency meeting with the Board of Commissioners, the terms of the State of Emergency have been amended. Highlights include the following: rentals may resume as of May 8th; and public parking and public accesses are open immediately. All other restrictions remain in full force. Click here to view Amendment No.7.

        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.

        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 define the purpose of the original declaration more clearly (no new tenancy).
        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!

        You may not be interested in the coronavirus, but it is interested in you.


        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.


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

         


        Hurricane #1 - CR

         

        Hurricane Season
        For more information » click here

        Be prepared – have a plan!

        .

        .

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

        2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Fast Facts
        The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The areas covered include the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.

        The National Weather Service defines a hurricane as a “tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher.”

        Hurricanes are rated according to intensity of sustained winds on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

        The 1-5 scale estimates potential property damage.
        A Category 3 or higher is considered a major hurricane.
        The National Hurricane Center advises preparedness:

        • A hurricane watch indicates the possibility that a region could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours.
        • A hurricane warning indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours.

        Read more » click here

        THB EMERGENCY INFORMATION

        EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS

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

        Busy Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2020
        Multiple climate factors indicate above-normal activity is most likely
        An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.
        Read more » click here


        No matter what a storm outlook is for a given year,
        vigilance and preparedness is urged.


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