11 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Regular Meeting 11/17/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Presentation of Fiscal Year 2019 –2020 Audit Results–Elsa Watts, Martin Starnes, and Associates (Town Manager Hewett)


Audit Results

For more information » click here

.

Agenda Packet –
Financial Highlights

  • The assets and deferred outflows of resources of the Town of Holden Beach exceeded its liabilities and deferred inflows of resources at the close of the fiscal year by $30,693,619 (net position).
  • The government’s total net position increased by $3,274,077, primarily due to an increase in the governmental activities of $2,694,520 and increases in the business-type activities of $579,557.
  • As of the close of the current fiscal year, the Town of Holden Beach’s governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $12,908,385, an increase of $1,440,892 in comparison with the prior year. Of this amount, $2,849,394, is available for spending at the government’s discretion.
  • At the end of the current fiscal year, unassigned fund balance for the General Fund was $2,849,394, or 112%, of total General Fund expenditures for the fiscal year.

Auditor’s report for fiscal year 2019 – 2020 audit was presented by Elsa the project manager. Audit was submitted to Local Government Commission timely and approved with no changes. The auditor Martin Starnes was able to render an unmodified/clean opinion; which is the best possible opinion that you can receive.


2. Police Report –Chief Dixon

Police Patch
It’s that time of year, rental season ends, and break-in season officially starts. We all serve as the eyes and ears for law enforcement.

If you know something, hear something, or see something –
call 911 and let police deal with it.


Neighborhood Watch

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

Crime prevention 101 – Don’t make it easy for them
. a) Don’t leave vehicles unlocked
. b)
Don’t leave valuables in your vehicles
. c)
Lock your doors & windows – house, garage, storage areas and sheds

Keep Check Request Form
. a) Complete the form and return it to the Police Department
. b)
Officers check your property in your absence

Property Registration Form.
. a)
Record of items in your home that have a value of over $100
. b)
Complete the form and return it to the Police Department


3. Discussion and Possible Action on Employee Health Benefits -Commissioner Sullivan

Agenda Packet –

DependentDependentDependentDependent
Rate Town Pays80%
(Current)
60%40%20%
Family Coverage$31,004.52$23,253.34$15,502.22 $7,751.11
Employee & Spouse Coverage$31,351 .92$23,513.98 $15,675.98 $7,837.99
Employee & Child Coverage$26,248.68$19,686.53 $13,124.35$6,562.18
Total$88,605.12$66,453.84$44,302.56 $22,151.28

Previously reported September 2019
The Maps Group has completed their research in August last year. The study updates the classification and pay plan for THB as well as making recommendations concerning personnel policies and fringe benefits. Some of the Board members stressed that we need to address all the components of the total compensation package not just implementing the pay plan.

Previously reported September 2020
Commissioner Sullivan said that the study was done and that the Board adopted the monetary part of the report, but never addressed health care coverage. Mike proposed that consideration be given for modifications of our family health insurance coverage. He requested that staff prepare a table showing the cost of family coverage at five (5) percentage levels for them to consider.

Previously reported – October 2020
THB employee coverage is comparable to benefits provided by the surrounding municipalities. The family coverage is more than being provided by those same municipalities. The question Mike posed is this: Do we want to continue to provide superior coverage or make an adjustment? There was no discussion, consensus was to put it on the agenda next month after they had time to consider how they want to proceed.

Update –
Commissioner Sullivan did a brief overview and once again asked the Board: whether they want to continue to provide superior coverage or make an adjustment? Mike made a motion to discuss the issue, once again there was no discussion. That means we will continue to provide health care coverage with no cost changes to our employees.

No decision was made – No action taken

It was the right thing to do. Given that we are in the midst of a pandemic, now would not be a good time to change employee health care coverage.


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Legal Services Proposals–Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
A Request for Proposals (RFP) for Legal Services was advertised in the local paper and was placed on the North Carolina League of Municipalities’ website. In response to the RFP, the Town received two proposals.

The firms who are interested in providing legal services to the Town are the Law Firm of Richard F. Green and the Brough Law Firm.

Law Firm Proposals
For more information » click here

Replacement of Town Attorney
As provided for at North Carolina General Statute §160A-173.
§160A-173.  City attorney; appointment and duties.
The council shall appoint a city attorney to serve at its pleasure and to be its legal adviser.

Previously reported – October 2020
One-year anniversary of our relationship with this firm that was selected by the previous Board. Apparently, they have some concerns about the amount of money we are spending for legal services. Woody suggested that now would be a good time to decide whether to stay the course or make a change. Surprisingly, he then proposed terminating our relationship with them. The Board tasked the Town Manager with doing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Legal Services.

Update –
Mayor Holden and Commissioner Kwiatkowski both stated that they were disappointed that we did not get a better response to the RFP. The Board has the responsibility to make sure that they have the appropriate person in this position. Mayor Holden asked them to consider approaching Noel Fox to represent us on an interim basis as needed. Noel Fox of Craige & Fox was our new town attorney, has municipal law experience, currently is working on beach nourishment easements and is familiar with the issues. Two motions were made.

The first motion was to do another Request for Proposals (RFP) for Legal Services.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

The second motion was to offer the interim town attorney position to Noel Fox.
A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

Commissioner Brown objected. Gerald felt that the position should be offered to Richard Green since his firm responded to the RFP and that he had previously served as the attorney for the Town, albeit not recently.


5. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 20-13, Designation of Applicant Agent for Isaias –Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
Through   recent communication, the NC Department   of Public Safety informed   the Town of Holden Beach that an applicant designee would need to be appointed for Hurricane Isaias (DR-4568-NC). The resolution form from the state is attached.  The applicant   designee   will be responsible as signatory   for the FEMA application process and formation of project worksheets.  A primary and secondary designee is required. This memo   requests   the BOC designate Town   Manager   David Hewett as the primary   contact   and Assistant Town Manager Ferguson as the secondary contact on the FEMA Resolution.

Suggested motion: The BOC hereby designates Town Manager David Hewett as the primary applicant agent and Assistant Town Manager Ferguson as secondary agent on the FEMA Resolution.

Update –
Resolution 20-13 authorizes Town Manager Hewett and Assistant Town Manager Ferguson to execute and file applications for assistance on behalf of the Town. Approval of this resolution is necessary to move forward with requesting assistance relating to Hurricane Isaias. Simply part of the process that we establish an official point of contact to process FEMA reimbursement requests. Recommended motion was approved as submitted.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


6. Discussion and Possible Action on a Request for a New Audit on Trash Can Numbers at Rental Properties –Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
Rental properties must have at least a specified number of waste bins depending on bedroom count. Two years ago, an audit of rental property compliance was conducted, finding a significant number of properties with too few waste bins. Letters were sent to out of compliance properties and the situation improved.

This past summer there were properties observed with too few and frequently overflowing trash bins. There has been a relatively high rate of home sales over the past year, and new property owners may not be aware of the town ordinance. In addition, bins have been reported lost in the August hurricane and may not have been replaced.

In order to start next season with adequate waste bins ta all rental properties, a new audit should be conducted, and letters sent to out of compliance properties by the end of February 2021 so there are adequate bins at rental properties before May 1.

Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties
Waste Industries – trash can requirements / Ordinance 07-13, Section 50.10
Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
.     a)
One extra trash can per every two bedrooms

§50.08 RENTAL HOMES.

   (A)   Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in abnormally large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like).

Update –
It would seem that the Town staff does not think that it’s really a problem. Timbo responded that this is a difficult task, and they don’t get a lot of complaints. In addition, they got a considerable amount of negative feedback the last time they sent out letters for noncompliance. Currently they monitor the situation, call if they see noncompliance and take action as needed. David committed to include a friendly reminder with the water bill.

No decision was made – No action taken

The Town should address noncompliance with our ordinances regardless of whether complaints are made or not. As far as it not being a problem, all you have to do is drive down OBW on any trash pickup day to see how many properties are not in compliance.

Spoiler alert – it’s a lot of rental properties.


7. Discussion and Possible Action to Approve the Formation of Parking Work Group –Commissioners Tyner and Murdock

Agenda Packet –
Commissioners Murdock and Tyner are requesting approval by the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners to form a working group composed of two Commissioners (Murdock and Tyner) and the appropriate Town staff members to evaluate the below parking-related items:

    • Paid parking opportunities: investigate paid parking including the use of new technology used by other communities.
    • Jordan Boulevard: investigate organizing Jordan Boulevard to improve aesthetics and allow more parking
    • Boat trailer parking: investigate opportunities to provide parking for boat trailers utilizing the NC Wildlife boat ramp in anticipation Block Q may be sold and developed for housing.
    • Avenue A: investigate alternatives to make Avenue A a one-way street with angled parking spaces

At the November 2018 meeting of the Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners, the Planning & Zoning Board was tasked with forming a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to study and make recommendations on the following parking items:

    • Jordan Boulevard: investigate organizing Jordan Boulevard to improve aesthetics and allow more parking
    • Visitor Parking: If additional parking is needed, investigate property the Town does not own which could be utilized
    • Town Owned Properties: If additional parking is needed, develop a list of properties owned by the Town that could be used and the cost to develop
    • Paid Parking: investigate paid parking including the use of new technology used by other communities.

The recommendations from the CAC and approved by P&Z included:

  1. Jordan Boulevard: Investigate completing a similar project to the one proposed by NC State many years ago.
  2. Visitor Parking: It was felt that at the time that there was adequate parking except on a few days each year, and even on busy days parking spots were still avail Several suggestions were made to improve parking that included increased police enforcement of parking rules, better signage and maps, and implementation of bumpers. It was further suggested that parking continued to be monitored and the issue revisited in the fall (2019). It was also recommended there was no reason to look for Town owned or other sites for increased parking because it was determined that more parking was not needed at the time.
  3. Paid Parking: The CAC felt that paid parking should be investigated further and recommended that the Town issue an RFP for vendors. Reasons for this recommendation included:
    .     a. Surrounding towns already have or are moving to paid parking
    .     b. Paid parking has been identified as a source of funding for the Town and could be used to help cover expenses incurred as a result of visitors such as portable toilets and extra trash pickups.
    .     c. Extra funds could be used to enhance the visitor experience with improved amenities
        d. An informal poll of East End residents showed they were in favor of paid parking.

The CAC & P&Z felt it would be impossible to get a true sense of the potential revenue or potential issues without proposals from vendors and felt that an RFP should come from the Town at the direction of the BOC.

Since the P&Z/CAC report in early 2019, several events have occurred which have prompted the need to revisit these parking issues:
    • Two large RV parks are being developed off-island that may significantly increase the demand for more visitor parking.
    • More daily visitors are coming to Holden Beach due to travel limitations imposed by the current COVID-19 virus.
    • The owner of Block Q has communicated his desire to sell these properties for future housing development thereby negatively impacting boat trailer parking using these properties. Boat trailer parking may negatively impact visitor parking near the bridge if the current parking options are eli
    • The owner of the Holden Beach Pier has communicated his desire to be included in a public-private venture for paid parking if the Town decides to evaluate and implement paid parking.
    • There is a recognition that seasonal police officers are potentially needed to handle visitor Paid parking could help offset these costs and other daily visitor-related costs.
    • Other surrounding beach communities continue to implement paid parking as an option to offset costs associated with daily visitors. Please see attached article about Kure Beach.

Commissioners Murdock and Tyner believe it is in the best interest of Holden Beach for the Board of Commissioners to urgently move forward with investigating these parking challenges and opportunities before the Town is faced with significant negative impacts.

Update –
After a considerable amount of discussion, the motion was made for them to form a working group to evaluate several parking related issues.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Color me surprised, that this was the agenda item that generated the most discussion.


8. Town Manager’s Report

Central Reach
CAMA Scoping meeting was held
Regrading analysis of sand samples is underway
Discussion with attorney regarding obtaining additional easements 

Previously reported – October 2020
Permit application has been made. CAMA has notified us that they wish to schedule a scoping meeting in response to our September permit modification submission. Meeting is scheduled later this week.

Editor’s Note –
What is a ‘Scoping Session‘? The first step in ensuring a successful engagement with a prospect is to conduct ‘Scoping Sessions‘. In these sessions, you have the opportunity to formally capture the prospect’s expectations, success factors, and high-level business requirements for a fruitful project.

Federal Advocacy
Monday held virtual meetings to conduct advocacy briefings with Congressional delegation and Federal agencies

Previously reported – October 2020
Mike McIntyre has changed law firms from Poyner Spruill to Ward and Smith. The change of agent forms were executed accordingly. All terms and conditions including those with Ferguson Group remain the same. Virtual Capitol Hill advocacy visits are being scheduled for November ; the date is to be determined.

Street Paving
Minimum number(20) of affirmative responses received so far
Town’s position now is the time to do it –

    • Opportunity to take advantage of low fuel prices
    • NCDOT paving projects on pause
    • Street maintenance is not cost effective without paving, particularly on Seagull

Previously reported – October 2020
Letters were sent out mid-September distributing info and petition for paving. So far, there has been an extremely limited number of responses. They have till December 5th to respond.

Parks & Rec Master Plan
Requests for Proposal, advertised and out on the street for solicitation

Sewer Lift Station #3
Now in operational test mode subject to final completion and inspection
Contractor remains on schedule and within budget
Sewer Lift Station #2 upgrade process will begin in January

Previously reported – October 2020
So far so good, no issues at this point in time. Project is ahead of schedule with a tentative startup date at the end of October.

Advertise for Bids                  10/24/19
Contract Award                     01/21/20
Construction Start                 03/23/20
Contract Completion             12/18/20
Closeout                                  12/31/20

796 OBW
The property has been rented to a Public Works employee and he has moved in.   

Previously reported – October 2020
Concerns were expressed about maintenance issues and our insurance liability. Timbo offered to do inspection to confirm that it is habitable and reasonably safe. Approved contingent upon Town Inspector favorable report at which time  the Town Manager can lease the property to Town employee for $700 per month.

Canal Surveying
Canal subdivisions canal surveying is being done and they should have completed report by the end of the year.


In Case You Missed It –


Community Rating System (CRS)
The Town’s CRS rating is being lowered from eight (8) to seven (7) which will result in an additional downward adjustment to all property owners flood insurance premiums. That would be the third favorable adjustment, each with a 5% reduction of your flood insurance premiums. To be clear, we will now enjoy a 15% reduction in flood insurance premiums due to the new lower CRS rating. Timbo has been the driving force in getting us to qualify for the lower rating allowing us to enjoy significant savings and is very much appreciated. KUDOS!

What is the CRS?
The National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.

As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:

      1. Reduce flood damage to insurable property;
      2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and
      3. Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

For CRS participating communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5% (i.e., a Class 1 community would receive a 45% premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5% discount (a Class 10 is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount)). The CRS classes for local communities are based on 18 creditable activities, organized under four categories:

      1. Public Information,
      2. Mapping and Regulations,
      3. Flood Damage Reduction, and
      4. Flood Preparedness.

National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System
For more information »
click here

NFIP Community Rating System Coordinator’s Manual
For more information » click here


    • Loose Ends (8)

        • Waste Ordinance Enforcement Policy             January 2019
        • Fee Based Rollout of Containers                       January 2019
        • Commercial District / Zoning                           February 2019
        • Dog Park                                                              July 2020                    
        • Development Fees                                              September 2020
        • Land Use Plan                                                    October 2020             
        • 796 OBW                                                             October  2020            
        • Parking                                                                November 2020

    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, December 15th
    .


     

    I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family, friends

    and all of the memories that make you thankful!

    November 26, 2020


    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.


Subtropical Storm Theta Makes 2020 Busiest Hurricane Season On Record
A history-making storm is gaining momentum over the middle of the Atlantic. Monday, Subtropical Storm Theta became the 29th named storm of the year, surpassing the 28 storms of 2005 and making the 2020 hurricane season the busiest on record. The system is not expected to make landfall in the U.S.
Read more » click here

Theta Forms as Season’s 29th Named Storm, Breaking a Record
The arrival of Theta broke the annual record for the number of storms strong enough to be given names. That benchmark was set in 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
Subtropical Storm Theta became the 29th named storm of the tumultuous 2020 hurricane season on Monday night, breaking a record set in 2005. Government scientists had predicted an unusually busy hurricane season this year. But the number of named storms exceeded even the initial forecasts issued by the National Hurricane Center and forced the National Weather Service to resort to using the Greek alphabet after Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean in September. The Weather Service had not done that since 2005, when 28 storms grew strong enough to have names. (The National Hurricane Center named 27 storms that year and later identified a 28th qualifying storm: a subtropical storm that formed briefly in October 2005 near the Azores, a remote archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.)
Read more » click here

Tropical Storm Iota forms in Caribbean and will likely become a major hurricane
Iota is the 30th named storm of 2020, a new record
Tropical Storm Iota formed in the eastern Caribbean on Friday afternoon, set to become a powerful major hurricane and threaten areas of the western Caribbean still reeling from Hurricane Eta that hit just last week. Iota is the season’s 30th named storm, an unprecedented milestone that brings us deeper into uncharted territory. It comes days after Tropical Storm Theta formed and broke the record for the most named storms ever observed in a single Atlantic hurricane season.
Read more » click here

A hurricane season for the record books
Starting with the first storm, which struck two weeks before the official start of the Atlantic season on June 1, this year has now seen 30 named storms — 13 of them hurricanes — breaking a record set in 2005, when 28 storms grew strong enough to be named. This is only the second time — after 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast — that meteorologists have exhausted the list of storm names in alphabetical order and moved on to the 24-letter Greek alphabet.


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