04 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments

BOC’s Special Meeting 04/20/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here

1. Per Section 160A-63 of the North Carolina General Statutes, the Holden Beach Bord of Commissioners Will Select a Person to Fill in the Vacancy Created by the Resignation of Commissioner Tyner (The current Board will conduct interviews of all persons, who timely expressed their interest in the open position and appear in person at the Special Meeting. After the interviews are concluded, the current Board members will vote, by ballot, to fill the existing vacancy.) – Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski

 These are the six (6) candidates being considered to fill the BOC’s vacancy

        1. Page Dyer
        2. Michael Keaney
        3. Mike Kelly
        4. Regina Martin
        5. Pete Pallas
        6. Rick Smith

They interviewed all of  them individually; then the Board voted by ballot and selected Rick Smith to fill the vacancy.

Previously reported – March 2021
Agenda Packet –
(A) Commissioner shall be two years, both of which begin on the day of first regular meeting in December following their election, except in case either is elected to serve an unexpired term, in which case the newly elected officers shall qualify and commence serving immediately upon the declaration of the result of the election by the Town BOC.
(B) Vacancies shall be filled as provided for in North Carolina General Statute § 160A-63

§160A63. Vacancies.
A vacancy that occurs in an elective office of a city shall be filled by appointment of the city council. If the term of the office expires immediately following the next regular city election, or if the next regular city election will be held within 90 days after the vacancy occurs, the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Otherwise, a successor shall be elected at the next regularly scheduled city election that is held more than 90 days after the vacancy occurs, and the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve only until the elected successor takes office. The elected successor shall then serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

Filling a Vacancy on the Town Council

Commissioner Woody Tyner has resigned, he no longer lives on the island. The Board needs to fill the vacant seat sooner rather than later since we are about to begin the budget process. Mike suggested that although the statute states that the position is to be filled by appointment by the Board, he asked that instead they consider anybody in the Town that wants to be a Commissioner. The Board agreed to request that anybody interested should submit their qualifications in the next two (2) weeks. Applications will be accepted, and candidates will be interviewed by the Board.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Board of Commissioners’ Vacancy
There is currently a vacancy on the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners.

If you are interested in filling the vacancy, please send your name and qualifications/background to Heather Finnell at heather@hbtownhall.com or to 110 Rothschild Street, Holden Beach, NC 28462 by April 1st. The Board of Commissioners will review the submissions and schedule a special meeting to interview the interested candidates.

2. The Town Clerk Will Swear in the Newly Selected Commissioner – Commissioners Sullivan and Kwiatkowski

Rick Smith was sworn in followed by a photo-op. He will only serve the remainder of the unexpired term until the next regular election which is this November.

BOC’s Public Hearing / Regular Meeting 04/20/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here

BOC’s Public Hearing

PUBLIC HEARING: Resolution 21-04, Preliminary Assessment Resolution to Improve the Existing Soil Roadway of Seagull Drive

Public Comments –
They received just five (5) comments which are posted online at the Town’s website
For more information » click here

BOC’s Regular Meeting

1. Public Comments on Agenda/General Items

Only one (1) comment about paid parking which is posted online at the Town’s website
For more information » click here

2. Presentation and Possible Action on Holden Beach Coastal Storm Risk Management Study Federal Cost Share Agreement (FCSA) – Bob Keistler, Corps (Assistant Town Manager Ferguson)
   a. Ordinance 21-09, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 11)

Agenda Packet – slide presentation pages 14 to 40
In order for us to become a USACE beach requires a new study be authorized
Three (3) years / Three (3) levels of review / Three (3) million dollars
     • $1.5 million Feds and $1.5 million Town of Holden Beach
Why consider doing a study?
FEMA is not an insurance policy
The rule book is changing
.      •
We have to consider risks

Coastal Storm Risk Management Study
This attached draft agreement for a Coastal Storm Risk Management Study (Attachment 1) between the USACE and the Town of Holden Beach represents the inclusion of the study in the Corps work plan for this federal fiscal year. The study was the Town’s number one advocacy priority at the federal level as a proposed means of storm damage reduction . The Town will not know if it is economically and environmentally feasible for us to become a federal beach unless the study is conducted. The attached budget amendment (Attachment  2) in the amount of $500,000 represents the town’s commitment for the upcoming FY for the Town’s share of the total non-federal (Town) study cost of $1,500,000.

If the BOC chooses to pursue the study, a motion will need to be made to authorize the Town Manager to execute the contract document and self-certification of financial capability with the USACE and approve the attached budget amendment.

Moved funds of $500,000
From Revenue account #50.0398.0300 to Expense account#50.0710.5008

Previously reported – January 2021
Last week they held a “what’s next” call with Ward & Smith regarding Federal Coastal Storm Damage Study. Holden Beach is competing for a new study as part of USACE 2021Work Plan authorized by the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. Wilmington District USACE has affirmed Holden Beach is at the top of their priority list. Town staff is working with Ward & Smith to maintain formal contact with Office of Management and Budget and Corps to ensure that the continuity of the Town’s position is maintained through changes in the federal administration. Ward & Smith has reiterated that if included in the work plan, the Town would need to sign an agreement with the Corps committing the Town to participate in a study effort at a cost of $1.5mm spread over course of three years; $500k of which would need to be included in fiscal year 21/22. David received a call today informing him that Holden Beach has been selected, which means we have been made a priority.

It appears that we have also been funded.

Allocation: $500,000
Summary of Work: Initiate a General Reevaluation Report for Holden Beach

Previously reported – July 2020
Congressman Mike McIntyre of Poyner Spruill made presentation to the Board with an update on Poyner Spruill and The Ferguson Group’s most recent advocacy efforts.

Board was presented with four options for moving forward and recommended pursuing the following two options:

        • Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Study Authorization Section 7001 program – three / three / three. Three years / three million dollars / reviewed at all three levels – District / Division/ Washington. Deadline to file a Letter of Intent application, is the end of next month, this just gets us in line to be included for consideration. If we are selected and we have made the cut, we would then have to sign a contract probably sometime around 2024 making a commitment to pay our share. That would be half the cost, so our portion would be $1.5 million. At best this is a long shot and years down the road. That said, we would still be committing to pay $1.5 million for the study with no assurances that we will actually have the project constructed.
        • Congressional authority to do study was approved in 1966 but was never completed. We could pursue this option simultaneously with the 7001 process. However, as it stands now, we would be obligated to pay the costs that were incurred during the original study request. This is like a Hail Mary pass. We would attempt to run the 1966 Brunswick County Beaches Project up the flag pole. USACE spent $8.5 million and the beaches are obligated to pay half of that. We could ask for forgiveness, where we would not agree to pay for our share which is $1.1 million and do a new study. Uncertain whether USACE would go for this.

The whole purpose of the study is to identify a plan of improvement that is in the public’s best interest which comprises of three prongs that includes being technically feasible, environmentally acceptable, and cost justified.

Board agreed to give authority to proceed with both options, with no financial obligation at this point.

Editor’s Note
Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (S. 1811)
Backlog of Authorized Projects
S. 1811 (§301) addresses the authorization of various types of projects in the backlog.
deauthorize projects authorized prior to November 17, 1986, that had not been started or were unfunded for 10 years;

Update –
Christy went through a slide presentation briefly reviewing how we got to this point. The abridged version is that FEMA continues to change the rules for engineered beaches maintenance programs. The study with the USACE gives us another option if we can’t count on FEMA moving forward. Commissioner Kwiatkowski was prepared as usual and had a number of questions for the USACE representatives that were in attendance at the meeting. The Corps representative walked them through the process. Commissioner Sullivan asked a couple additional questions regarding funding. An important takeaway is the federal government contributes 65% of the costs for initial construction, the cost split is 50% between federal and non-federal funding for maintenance nourishment projects. Of course the major concern is whether there will be adequate funding for not only the study but for an approved project. The Corps rep made it very clear that there is no guarantee, but he felt confident that they both would be funded. He understands that the Town is looking to obtain the best deal possible. FEMA and USACE organizations are both here to help and each have a place. The difference between them is that the USACE is more of a designed project, build, and maintain whereas FEMA is primarily there to help cover emergencies. The BOC’s decided to fund the  $1.5 million study and take the funds from the BPART account instead of the Capital Reserve account.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

We just approved spending $1.5 million to potentially switch to USACEwait for itafter we just received $45 million for FEMA projects. I have some reservations about making the change and was really disappointed that there was not more serious discussions prior to spending that kind of money.  Just to be clear I’m for beach nourishment, but I am generally opposed to moving forward with the federal project due to the uncertainty of the funding. Congressional authorization of a project does not necessarily mean that the project will receive federal construction funds. Project authorizations over the years have far outpaced the level of federal appropriations provided. Our portion is $1.5 million just for the Storm Risk Management study, which is a huge amount of money when we don’t even know if the study will be completely funded let alone whether the project will be approved or funded.

3. Police Report – Lieutenant Dilworth

Police PatchDespite the number of people here there has not  been a lot of issues. 

Previously reported – April 2019
The Town of Holden Beach made it offi
cial Monday, April 1, when they swore in Jeremy Dixon as the town’s newest police chief, taking the mantle from former chief Wally Layne.

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

Golf carts are treated the same as any other automotive vehicle.

In the State of North Carolina, if a golf cart is to be operated on the streets, highways, or public vehicular areas, it is considered a motor vehicle and subject to all laws, rules and regulations that govern motor vehicles.

In short, the golf cart must have all of the following:

      • The driver MUST have a current, valid Driver’s License
      • Child Restraint Laws must be followed
      • Headlights
      • Tail lights
      • Turn signals
      • Rear view mirrors
      • State Inspection Sticker
      • License Plate Issued by NCDMV
      • Liability Insurance

All of the streets in the Town (including the side streets) are considered streets or public vehicular areas according to the State Law. This means that to operate a golf cart anywhere on the island, you must meet the standards above.

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

4. Discussion and Possible Action on Emergency Restrictions Pertaining to Town Hall/Board of Commissioners’ Meetings – Commissioners Sullivan & Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –
Gov. Cooper Announces North Carolina Will Relax Some COVID-19 Restrictions
State’s trends continue to move in the right direction and key indicators used to inform decisions throughout the pandemic remain stable
For more information » click here

As I read what is in place thru April 30 , the following seem potentially relevant for us when considering opening our BOC meetings to the number of individuals that can be allowed under the restrictions, taking into account our meeting room size and social distancing requirements.

      • 3.6.Government Operations
      • 3.8. Meeting Spaces, Conference Centers, and Reception Venues
      • APPENDIX F: Additional Health and Safety Requirements for Meeting
      • APPENDIX A: Core Signage, Screening, and Sanitation Requirements

Update –
Commissioner Sullivan would like to open up all public meetings to the permissible number allowed and have the Town Hall be open for business effective May 1st. Mayor Holden  will need to sign a revised emergency declaration, which he agreed to do, to make this happen.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

5. Report on Parking Committee Finds on Paid Parking – Commissioner Murdock

Agenda Packet –
Parking Committee Meeting 03/05/21
The committee listened to a presentation from Jim Varner and Emily Irons of Otto Connect. Mr. Varner answered questions from the committee. Mr. Varner said he could prepare estimates/pricing model for the committee. Inspections Director Evans said there are 219 -226 permanent spaces. Some of those are in the DOT ROW and not on Town property. Commissioner Murdock wants to know what number of spaces makes it viable to utilize paid parking. Mr. Varner talked about required parking for receiving federal funds for beach nourishment.

Tim Hoppenrath from Premium Parking presented information on his company. He answered questions after the presentation. Mr. Hoppenrath will send a proposal. He mentioned the possibility of his company contributing towards the purchase of land for parking.

Chief Dixon said he spoke with a representative from Wildlife. They said the purpose of the ramp is for launching and recovery of water vessels. It has 15 spaces, one being handicap. Parking is on a first come­ first serve basis.

Premium Parking Presentation
For more information » click here

Otto Connect Presentation
For more information » click here

Previously reported – March 2021
Almost all the public comments were against public parking in residential areas. Although there was a consensus that paid parking in commercial zones is an acceptable option. The committee met with two vendors that offer paid parking options. Both vendors offer one stop shopping, like a smorgasbord we can pick and choose what we want them to do including having them manage all elements of the program. The billing is based on a unique identifier, the vehicle license plate number. Payment can be made by text, their app or by calling them. Fees can be adjusted based on things loke activity, date, or location. Incredibly paid parking could be implemented everywhere on the island including in the rights-of-way.  At first blush, this appears to potentially be a significant revenue stream for the Town.

Update –
Brian discussed the two (2) paid parking presentations/proposals. The programs are very flexible and can be tailored to what we want. Paid parking has the potential to be a significant revenue stream for the Town and help offset the numerous costs we incur from the daily influx of day trippers. Commissioner Sullivan stated that we need to determine how this will work and then how we will  communicate that to the public.

No decision was made – No action taken

6. Discussion and Possible Action on Recruiting a Member to Fill Commissioner Tyner’s Position on the Parking Committee – Commissioner Murdock

Agenda Packet –
Recruit Member to Fill Woody Tyner’s Position on Parking Committee
At the November Board of Commissioners’ meeting the Board voted to form a parking committee that would be staffed by Commissioner Tyner, Commissioner Murdock, and the appropriate town staff members. As the result of Woody Tyner’s resignation from his commissioner position, there is an open spot on the Parking Committee. The Board should discuss the possibility of appointing another member to the position.

Update –
Our new Commissioner Rick Smith will replace Woody on this Committee. They also added two (2) additional members of the public and the Town will solicit for volunteers to participate on this committee.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
Volunteers Needed
Two volunteers are needed to serve on the Town’s Parking Committee. If you are interested, please click here to fill out an application form. Completed forms can be turned in to heather@hbtownhall.com

7. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 21-06, Assessment Resolution to Improve the Existing Soil Roadway of Seagull Drive (Cannot Adopt until 24 hours after Public Hearing) – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
At the March Board of Commissioners’ meeting, the Board adopted a preliminary resolution (Attachment 1). The required public hearing on the resolution is scheduled for April  2oth at 5:00 p.m. . The public hearing was advertised, and a copy of the resolution was sent to each property owner within the proposed project area (Attachment 2).

After the hearing, the Board may adopt a resolution directing the project to be undertaken. The proposed resolution is included for your review (Attachment 3). Since comments for the public hearing will be accepted through April 2 is• at 5:00 p.m., the Board should wait until a date/time after that to adopt the resolution. The Board can choose to recess the meeting or wait until the May meeting for adoption.



1. That the existing soil roadway of Seagull Drive be improved by paving it, under and by virtue of Chapter 160A. Article 10 of the General Statutes of North Carolina and the procedure therein established, and that said paving be done by contract after due notice and advertisement for bids as outlined in C.G.S. Chapter 143;
2. That fifty percent (50%) of the total cost of said improvement be hereafter assessed upon the properties receiving the improvements, using the frontage basis assessment; and
3. That the assessment herein provided for shall be payable in cash or if any property owner shall so elect and give notice of the fact to the Board of Commissioners in accordance with Chapter 160A. Sections 232 and 233 of the General Statutes of North Carolina, he shall have the option and privilege of paying the assessment in one annual installment to bear interest at the rate of 8% per annum after thirty days following publication of the notice that the assessment roll has been confirmed.

Previously reported – March 2021
Agenda Packet –
The Town has received signatures from the majority of property owners on Seagull Drive, requesting the improvement of the existing soil roadway of Seagull Drive. A copy of the certificate as to the sufficiency of the petition is in your packets (Attachment 1).

The next step of the assessment process is for the Board to adopt a preliminary resolution (Attachment 2). The Board is required to schedule a public hearing on the preliminary resolution. Staff is recommending the hearing be scheduled for April 20th at 5:00 p.m. Once the public hearing is scheduled, notice will be sent to the property owners in the project area and will be published in the newspaper.

If the Board desires to proceed with the improvement project, the suggested motion is to set a public hearing on the preliminary resolution for April 20, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. and adopt Resolution 21-04.


    1. That the above-mentioned petition is said to be sufficient in all respects.
    2. That it is intended that the existing soil roadway of Seagull Drive be improved by paving it, under and by virtue of Chapter 160A, Article 10, of the General Statutes of North Carolina and the procedure therein established.
    3. That fifty percent (50%) of the total cost of said improvement be hereafter assessed upon the properties receiving the improvement , using the frontage basis assessment in accordance with Chapter 160A, Section 217.

Motion was made to adopt Resolution 21-04 and to have a Public Hearing at next month’s BOC’s Regular Meeting.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Approval must be delayed a minimum of 24 hours. It will be put on the budget meeting agenda that is scheduled on May 7th for approval.

8. Final Agreement and Action on Proposed Ordinance 21-04, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Chapter 50: Solid Waste – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

Agenda Packet –

All garbage and household refuse shall be kept in proper containers as required by this chapter and it shall be unlawful for any person to permit garbage to accumulate or remain on any premises longer than is reasonably necessary for its removal. It is the intent of the town that all containers be secured in such a manner either next to non-elevated, underneath elevated houses or alongside of the house except prior to collection days when they are to be placed at street side. Through a town contract for island wide rollback, empty all trash and recycling containers will be rolled back to the street side of the house, under the house or to a corral if available. Full containers will stay curbside until emptied by the next pickup.

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 large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In the 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). In instances where three trash cans or more are required, one can may be substituted with a contractor approved recycling bin.

Previously reported – March 2021
Agenda Packet –
At the January 2021 BOCM, we were asked to bring our ordinance proposal to the February BOCM. Attached is a revised version of the December 2018 approved ordinance done with track changes.

During the discussion, there are several items that should be discussed, listed below.

Proposed for Discussion:

          • penalties will not be imposed for a reasonable period of time after a revised ordinance
          • goes into effect {recommended to be 6 months as was proposed in 2018)
          • rollback practice needs to be changed so that ALL bins, empty or full, are rolled back
          • a reasonable period of time for trash racks/corrals within 30 feet of the public right of way to be relocated (30 feet proposed in line with Emerald Isle information included in January 2021 packet)
          • rollout will be the responsibility of the resident, property owner or vacation rental company (see Emerald Isle information included in January 2021 packet)
          • what is needed for a valid report/complaint of violation?
          • can the Town establish the right to require that a property owner increase their container capacity for any property receiving repeated reports or complaints of garbage placed at curbside outside authorized containers?
          • what can be done to encourage compliance and/or discourage non-compliance in particular as relates to number of cans and adhering to a defined time window for cans at the street?

Patty took the point on this issue; she reviewed the game plan and submitted the proposed ordinance changes.

At this time they are proposing changing our policy of leaving full containers roadside and would like to see them be included in rollback just like we do for all empty containers. She said that this is just a good starting place and they want to give the public time to review the changes and make comments. It will be put on next month’s meeting agenda.

Mike pointed out the idea of the ordinance is to make life better for everybody. The same objections to public parking could be used to support the proposed trash ordinance. That is to reduce trash, increase public safety, and increase property value.

Mike said that they had asked the public for comments/input at the last meeting prior to changing the ordinance. They did receive approximately fifty (50) emails, the vast majority said that they would prefer them not to impose a strict rollout period of time and that they are not in favor of fines for noncompliance. He recommended that we still move forward with the other changes that they had proposed. The Board briefly discussed this issue and agreed to some of the proposed changes. They decided to bring a clean version of the ordinance to next month’s BOC’s Regular Meeting agenda for approval.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

This is all for naught if requirements do not include a clear enforcement mechanism.

Update –
After kicking this around for a while, they approved just two (2) changes to the current ordinance as follows:

1) All containers including full trash cans that miss the pickup will be rolled back under the house
Recycling containers are in addition to, not in replacement of, the required number of garbage containers for rental properties

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
Solid Waste Restrictions
Rental homes need to make sure they have the proper amount of garbage carts to meet Town ordinance. All rental homes need to have at least one trash cart per two bedrooms (example: 1 – 2 bedrooms – 1 cart, 3 – 4 bedrooms – 2 carts, 5 – 6 bedrooms – 3 carts). As of April 21, 2021, it is no longer permissible for rental homes to replace a required garbage cart with a recycling cart.

The Town’s rollback contractor will now roll back ALL containers to the street side of the house, under the house or to a corral if available. Full carts will no longer be left at the curb.

Click here to view the revised ordinance.

9. Discussion and Possible Approval of Budget Amendments – Town Manager Hewett
Ordinance 21-05, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 7, Capital Projects)
Ordinance 21-06, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 8, Isaias)
Ordinance 21-07, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 9, Inspections Department)
Ordinance 21-08, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 10, Recycling)

Agenda Packet –
Capital Grants Project Budget-Florence, Michael, and Dorian
The size and scope of FEMA projects: Florence, Michael, and Dorian, necessitate the establishment of a separate capital grants project budget. The projects are currently housed in the BPART fund. This budget amendment will move the expenses and revenue associated with these storms to a special capital grants project budget where it will remain open across budget years until project completion and closeout. The auditor was contacted about this process and supports town staff s opinion that this is the more ideal budget set-up for this program.

Recommend approval of the attached budget amendment, Ordinance 21-05, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 -2021 (Amendment No. 7).

Ordinance 21-05
Section I
                    Description                                         Account                Amount          Action
                    FEMA Florence PW 674(0)              50.0364.0100        15,861,220     Decrease
                    FEMA Michael PW 11(0)                  50.0364.0200          8,547,506     Decrease                     FEMA Florence PW 2547(0) Cat-Z  50.0364.0300             798,855     Decrease
                    FEMA Michael PW 158(0) Cat-Z      50.0364.0400             427,376     Decrease
Total                                                                                                       25,634,957
                    FEMA Florence PW 674(0)               50.0810.0119       15,861,220     Decrease
                    FEMA Michael PW 11(0)                   50.0810.0120         8,547,506     Decrease
.                   FEMA Florence PW 2547(0) Cat-Z   50.0810.0121            798,855     Decrease

                    FEMA Michael PW 158(0) Cat-Z       50.0810.0122            427,376     Decrease
Total                                                                                                       25,634,957

 Section II
                    Description                                          Account               Amount         Action
                    FEMA Florence PW 674(0)               70.0320.0000       15,861,220     Increase
                    FEMA Michael PW 11(0)                   70.0321.0000          8,547,506    Increase                          FEMA Florence PW 2547(0) Cat-Z   70.0320.0100             798,855    Increase
                    FEMA Michael PW 158(0) Cat-Z      70.0321.0100             427,376    Increase                           FEMA Dorian PW 00221(0)              70.0322.0000       15,496,802     Increase
                    FEMA Dorian PW 494 Cat-Z             70.0322.0100              775,835   Increase
Total                                                                                                       41,907,594

                    FEMA Florence PW 674(0)               70.0320.0000       15,861,220     Increase                     FEMA Michael PW 11(0)                   70.0321.0000         8,547,506     Increase      .                   FEMA Florence PW 2547(0) Cat-Z   70.0320.0100            798,855     Increase
                    FEMA Michael PW 158(0) Cat-Z       70.0321.0100            427,376     Increase  .                   FEMA Dorian PW 00221(0)                70.0322.0000     15,496,802      Increase
                    FEMA Dorian PW 494 Cat-Z              70.0322.0100           775,835      Increase
Total                                                                                                        41,907,594

FEMA Isaias Budget Amendment
The attached budget amendment recognizes previously received Cat F and Cat B Isaias reimbursements on a small project basis from FEMA. The reimbursements (totaling $33,167) cover $17,392 for force account labor, materials and equipment as related to reconstitution of the sewer valve pits and lift stations following the storm. It also includes $15,775 in reimbursements for overtime and emergency protective measures including supplies. The revenues were temporarily housed in  miscellaneous  accounts  for related funds.  This amendment moves them to newly created line items in the corresponding fund.

Recommend approval of the attached budget amendment, Ordinance 21-06, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 8).

                Description                                                             Account            Amount   Action
                Isaias FEMA Non CAT G/Z Reimbursements    10.0385.000     12,944      Increase
                Isaias FEMA Non CAT G/Z Reimbursements    30.0385.000     18,597      Increase                 Isaias FEMA Non CAT G/Z Reimbursements    50.0385.000       1,626      Increase
Total                                                                                                                   33,167
              Salaries                                                                      10.0420.0200     4,295      Increase
              Salaries                                                                      10.0510.0200     7,525      Increase
              Salaries                                                                      10.0570.0200        830      Increase
             Operational Contingencies                                     10.0410.3301        294      Increase
             Salaries                                                                       30.0810.0200     9,971      Increase
             Dept Supplies & Materials                                      30.0810.3300     5,825      Increase
             O&M Vacuum Stations                                            30.0810.3301     2,365       Increase
             EOC Ops MX and Repair                                         30.0810.9305         436      Increase
             Salaries-Recreation                                                  50.0610.0200     1,626      Increase Total                                                                                                                   33,167

Inspections Department Budget Amendment
The construction economy has continued its upward trajectory during the third quarter of this fiscal year. The sheer number of building related permits issued, and the revenues associated thereto has exceeded the total Inspections annual forecasted revenues by 18% as of this date.

NC GS 159-33.1was revised to require that finance officers of local governments and public authorities report revenues and expenditures of inspection fees collected under G.S. 160A-414 for municipalities. The statute restricts the expenditure of the allowed inspection fees to those expenditures incurred “for support of the administration and activities of the inspection department and for no other purpose”. This information is now reported to the Local Government Commission in the AFIR (Accounting and Finance Information Report) who in turn provides it to the Department of Insurance for compliance review.

Any Inspections revenues exceeding Inspections departmental expenditures requires a specific explanation in the AFIR. Inspections related revenues exceeded Inspections department expenses for the year ending 30 June 2020 and the Holden Beach Fiscal Year 2020 AFIR submittals articulated such.

Budget Ordinance Amendment 21-07, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10,The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No.9) “Inspections Department Appropriations” increases the Fiscal Year 2021 General Fund appropriations by $40,689 to recognize actual revenues received to date and provides corresponding expenditures for a new Inspections department truck ($39,689) and associated administrative homeowners recovery fee reimbursements ($1000).

RECOMMENDATION: BOC approve Budget Ordinance Amendment 21-07, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10,The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No.9) “Inspections Department Appropriations”.

                 Description                                     Account             Amount     Action
                 Homeowners Recovery Fund     10.0357.0500        1,000       Increase
                 Building Permits                            10.0356.0000     30,959       Increase
.                CAMA Permits                                10.0356.0000           228      Increase

                 Zoning Fees                                     10.0357.0000             66      Increase
                 Electrical Inspection                     10.0357.0100        4,868      Increase
                 Plumbing Inspection                    10.0357.0200         3,568     Increase
Total                                                                                               40,689
                Homeowners Recovery Fund      10.0540.6900        1,000      Increase
               Capital Outlay – Vehicle                  10.0540.7400      39,689     Increase
Total                                                                                                40,689

Ordinance 21-08 (Recycling)
The attached amendment is needed to adjust the Blue Can Home Recycling line in order to be in accordance with GASB 159-8. The collected revenues and correlated expenses for the blue can home recycling services have exceeded the previously budgeted amount due in part to the higher-than-expected number of new homes being built. The adjustment brings the line total to a the newly projected year end amount based off the Town’s fee schedule.

Staff recommends Board approval of Ordinance 21-09, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 20-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (Amendment No. 10)

                    Description                                Account               Amount       Action
                   Blue Can Home Recycling       10.0335.0500       11,422          Increase
Total                                                                                             11,422
                   Blue Can Home Recycling       10.0580.4501       10,687          Increase
                   Available for Appropriation   10.0410.9200            735          Increase
Total                                                                                              11,422

Update –

Ordinance 21-05
The size and scope of FEMA projects, necessitate the establishment of a separate capital grants project budget. Strictly housekeeping, money is to be set aside in separate funds.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Ordinance 21-06
Reimbursements on a small project basis from FEMA. The revenues were temporarily housed in  miscellaneous  accounts  for related funds. This amendment moves them to newly created line items in the corresponding fund.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Ordinance 21-07
Due to the amount of construction projects on the island, revenues has exceeded the total Inspections annual forecasted revenues. Statute restricts the expenditure of the allowed inspection fees to those expenditures incurred “for support of the administration and activities of the inspection department and for no other purpose”. Therefore they plan to purchase a new truck for the Inspection Department.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Ordinance 21-08
The amendment is needed to adjust the Blue Can Home Recycling line in order to be in accordance with Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) requirements. 

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

  • 10. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 21-07, A Resolution for Brunswick County to Mitigate Proposed Water Rate Increases – Commissioner Kwiatkowski
  • Agenda Packet –
    Resolution 21-07: A Resolution for Brunswick County to Mitigate Proposed Water Rate Increases
  • .
    that the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Holden Beach requests the County Commissioners mitigate the dramatic impact on all rate payers of Brunswick County, as was originally envisioned by the County by seeking means to delay approximately 50% of the debt service for an additional 5 years.
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in particular, the County should apply some portion of the $28 million that it will receive under the recently passed American Recovery Act that permits using such funds for “…water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure projects”, money that remains available for use through December 2024, and
    BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that before any decision is taken by Brunswick County on the proposed water rate increases , meetings between County and municipal leaders and staff and parties representing county residents should be held to attempt to arrive at viable solutions to help phase in any proposed rate increase and ensure fairness across all customers vs residents receiving water directly or indirectly from Brunswick County.

Previously reported – February 2021
Agenda Packet –

Brunswick County has been supplying potable water to you and this letter is intended to provide you information to assist in in 2021/2022 budget process.

The County is under construction expanding its potable water capacity and adding advanced treatment to its Northwest Water Treatment Plant. The new facilities will add Low Pressure Reverse Osmosis (LPRO) advanced water treatment and increase capacity from 24 million gallons per day to 48 mgd conventionally treated and minimum 36 mgd LPRO treated water. Brunswick County issued revenue bonds to cover the costs of construction and the debt service is to begin in the next fiscal year.

A water rate study had been performed by financial consultant Raftelis (May 2019) based on the cost-of-service methods out lined in the American Water Works Association M-1 Manual “Water Rates. Fees. and Charges”. This method is now the industry standard for water rate setting. Brunswick County has been using the Producer Price Index (PPI) for wholesale and industrial rate-setting for many years. The Water Rate Study was updated using actual project costs. timing and the projected customer base. and recommends wholesale and industrial rate adjustments.

Staff is recommending that the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners set the wholesale and industrial rate beginning January 1, 2022 using the industry standard for rate setting as follow:

Wholesale – per 1,000 gallons $5.25

Industrial – per 1 ,000 gallons $4.35

Town was advised by the County that they are considering an increase to the water rate. The proposed rate increase would change your monthly bill making it significantly higher. When the wholesale water rate cost goes up it needs to be spread across all users. In addition, we can’t run a deficit so the water system must pay for itself.

Brunswick County ponders water hike next year
Brunswick County commissioners are looking into significant water rate hikes to take effect next Jan. 1. Recommended changes allocate for anticipated debt service repayments that begin in 2022 for $156.8 million in capital improvements at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, loss in revenue attributed to pending closure of an industrial customer and expected revenue reductions from wholesale customers as well as rate increases for raw water the county buys. Wholesale customers will see rates go up from $2.89 per 1,000 gallons to $5.25, with a monthly base service charge rising $4 for all meters. County rates would still remain lower or comparable with other retail water rates in coastal North Carolina counties, Brunswick County Manager Randell Woodruff said during the regular Brunswick County Board of Commissioners meeting Jan. 19. “It’s key to compare us with other coastal communities,” Woodruff said. “When you look at other coastal communities that have similar issues that we do, under the new rates we are proposing we would still be below the mid-point. That demonstrates that while the rates will be increasing, the customers here will be receiving a much higher quality water system than any in our region.” In 2018, commissioners took action to finance installation of a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the county’s Northwest Water Treatment Plant to remove chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances(PFAS), like GenX, from water coming from the Cape Fear River. The following year, a Raftelis financial consultant water rate study was completed, with financial forecasts developed in 2020, which was reviewed during the board meeting. According to a Brunswick County newsletter, county retail water rates have seen minimal adjustments over the past 17 years. Commissioners will review and take action on recommended changes as part of the fiscal 2022 budget process, with approved changes going into effect Jan. 1, 2022.
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Water Rate Methodology and Rate Increase

This is what they said in 2019:
About 84% of the county’s residential customers use 5,000 gallons of water a day or less. Accounting for the average 4,500 gallons-per-day customer, using the smallest-sized three-quarter inch meter, an average county water bill increases $3.22 from $25.73 to $28.95

This is what they are proposing in 2021:
Average retail customer billed at 4,500 gallons increases $9.85 from $24.83 to $34.68

The rate increase amount predicted of $3.22 is much less than the current proposed rate increase of $9.85. The average retail customer bill will go from $24.83 to $34.68 which is a 140% increase.

Water Rate Changes
The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners received information on recommended changes to the county’s water rates during its regular meeting this Tuesday, Jan. 19. The Board of Commissioners will review and take action on the recommended changes as part of its Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) budget process. Approved changes would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. Brunswick County retail water rates have seen minimal adjustments over the past 17 years. The only increase occurred in FY 2015 when the monthly retail base rate was increased by $1. Meanwhile, volumetric rates for retail customers were decreased by $0.90 in both FY 2004 and FY 2020. With the proposed changes, the County’s FY 2022 recommended rates would still remain lower or comparable with other retail water rates in other coastal North Carolina counties. The recommended changes address the anticipated debt service repayments that will begin in 2022 for capital improvements at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, loss in revenues due to the recent closure of an industrial customer, expected reductions in revenue from wholesale customers, and expected rate increases for raw water the County purchases. The proposed rate changes considered recommendations from the Raftelis water rate study completed in 2019 and subsequent financial forecasts developed in 2020 and reviewed this month. The rate methodology used in the water rate study is in accordance with procedures outlined in the American Water Works Association M-1 Manual, which is the industry standard. In 2018, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners took action to finance the installation of a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the County’s Northwest Water Treatment Plant to remove PFAS contaminants like GenX from water from the Cape Fear River. All Brunswick County water customers receive all or part of their water from this facility. The project at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant broke ground in Summer 2020. The facility will increase its conventional treatment capacity from 24 million gallons per day to 45 million gallons per day by Spring 2022. The first five units of the low-pressure reverse osmosis system are expected to begin treating water in Summer 2023 with the final three units anticipated to go online by Fall 2023. Brunswick County has joined other utilities in the region to sue DuPont and Chemours. The County is seeking monetary damages from Chemours to hold it responsible for the millions of dollars it is spending to install a new treatment system necessary to remove PFAS contaminants. The lawsuit remains active and ongoing.
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It does not appear that the County plans to do anything at this time to mitigate the significant water rate increase. Working with David they did an assessment of probably what will happen. They laid out what the rate increase implications are for us here at Holden Beach. Bottomline is that we are looking at a significant increase which is much higher than a County residence with the same water usage. We probably need to do a rate study to make sure that revenue and expenditures will stay in balance. Patty read a list of recommended actions and requested authorization to draft a letter to the County stating our issues, concerns, and recommendations regarding the proposed water rate increase. The plan is for her to present a resolution at next month’s BOC’s Regular Meeting agenda for approval.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

County should lessen impact of proposed water rate increase
In January 2021, the Alliance of Brunswick County Property Owners Associations (ABCPOA), which has a membership of 24 residential communities in Brunswick County, became aware of the proposal for a significant increase in retail and wholesale water rates proposed by Brunswick County. Our concerns extend to every individual, business and industry that relies on water from the county system. If you turn on your tap for a glass of water, you are affected! Since January, the ABCPOA has been in communication with county officials to gather information, understand the issues, and share ideas for lessening the impact of a proposed 81% increase of wholesale water rates that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, if approved by the commissioners as proposed. The circumstances that the county cites for increasing the water rates demonstrate the need for meeting the costs for upgrading the water treatment plant, providing low pressure reverse osmosis for secondary filtration, and the loss of two large customers. However, with a range of available options for “lessening the sting,” the initial proposed rates seem to indicate a preference for only one option; pass it along to the consumer in one fell swoop. We find this to be short-sighted due to the risk of long-term damaging consequences for individuals, existing business, and future economic development. Two defenses for the cur-rent proposal that have been presented include: “Our rates are now comparable with other water systems providing secondary level purification,” and “It’s only a $9 increase.” With regard to the first defense, while it is true water rates were below the median for similar coastal counties providing secondary purification, it is also true that they did not get to their current rate levels in one billing cycle. As an enterprise fund with large capital investments, depreciation, and the need to upgrade should have been a part of long-range planning and, the Northwest Treatment Plant didn’t turn 40 years old in one year. The Chemours dumping into the Cape Fear River did create an immediate unforeseen need but with aggressive legal action by the county, what recompense might our residents and businesses expect in the future? As far as the “It’s only $9” argument goes, it’s important to remember that water billing is structured on a tiered system that starts with a set base rate (increasing with this proposal) plus usage that bills based on usage per 1,000 gallons with the price per 1,000 gallons increasing when usage exceeds the prior tier limits. Perhaps a residential user of 1,000 gallons per month might only see a $9 monthly ($108 annual) increase but we suspect there are few customers that meet this description. We urge you to check your own personal usage to gauge the impact. Irrigation and industrial fees are similarly structured. We are particularly fearful of the impact of these rate increases on small businesses, particularly those struggling to recover from the pandemic induced recession. During our meetings and exchanged communications with the Brunswick County Commissioners, the ABCPOA has offered a range of suggestions for lessening the impact of these proposed rate increases. We encourage commissioners to reject the initial proposal and determine a course of action that meets their financial needs while not unduly burdening their customers, the residents, industries, and businesses who rely on them for this service. A meeting between county, impacted municipal leadership and staff to brainstorm viable solutions would seem to be a useful first step. The ABCPOA is willing to participate in such a process
Brunswick Beacon

Calabash OKs letter addressing 81% water hike
Town commissioners last week approved drafting a letter expressing concern about a proposed countywide 81% water-rate hike poised to take effect next January. Akin to concerns recently expressed in Shallotte, commissioners informally agreed at their monthly March 9 meeting that the increase will have impact on Calabash and its renowned restaurants and other businesses, which have already been struggling during the pandemic. Town commissioner Forrest King cited a recent letter penned by the town of Shallotte outlining the effect the hike will have on its own restaurants and businesses. “We can assume it’s going to have exactly the same effect here … significant increases on everybody,” he said. Mayor Pro Tem Jody Nance suggested they “piggy-back on the Shallotte letter.” “We need to adopt something pretty close,” King said, favoring a suggested alternative that the county impose the increase in steps “rather than hitting us all at one time with it.” He noted Shallotte suggested spreading the increase over a two-year period, which he deemed “bearable.” “But all at one time, especially with the environment we’re in right now, I think is a little bit crazy,” King said. A study presented to the county board in January proposed the hike to help pay off $156.8 million in capital improvements for the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, with wholesale water rates increasing from $2.89 to $5.25 per 1,000 gallons and a monthly base service charge rising $4 for all meters. It also proposes a 40% hike to $34.68 per 4,500 gallons for retail and irrigation customers from the current rate of $24.83.Commissioners estimated the climb could amount to thousands of dollars for a restaurant and several hundred dollars for a single-family home. They also wondered how sewer rates will be affected. Town Administrator Chuck Nance said he’s not sure about that but speculated the water hike should not have an effect on sewer unless the county votes on it. “I know what (county officials) have said and why they’re saying they have to do it, but it is a very steep increase,” he said, referring to the water rate rise. “It’s not so much the increase as the design going about it,” said town commissioner Michael Herring, also favoring spreading the increase over a greater period of time. Commissioners approved having Chuck Nance draft a letter to be sent to county commissioners. “A two-year span is something we could live with,” Jody Nance said.
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Mayors from county water customer towns meet with officials about rate increase
A contingent of Brunswick County’s mayors whose towns are Brunswick utilities customers met with county officials April 12 to lobby for taking the sting out of water rate increases expected to kick in next January. County commissioners are looking at water rate hikes as part of the fiscal 2022 budget process. A study presented to the county board  Jan. 19 proposed to pay off the debt for $156.8 million in capital improvements to the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. The study presented examples of Wholesale customers rates increasing from $2.89 per 1,000 gallons to $5.25, with a monthly base service charge rising $4 for all meters and a proposed water rate of $34.68 per 4,500-gallon usage for retail and irrigation customers, a $9.85 hike from the current rate of $24.83. County commissioners will discuss the proposal during budget talks, which begin with a goals and budget workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 3, prior to the county’s first board meeting of the month. At Monday’s meeting, Shallotte Mayor Walt Eccard was joined by Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith, Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden, Northwest Mayor James Knox, Navassa Mayor Eulis Willis, Carolina Shores Mayor Joyce Dunn and Bolivia Mayor Ella Jane Marston. “There were several county officials including Commissioners Randy Thompson and Mike Forte” Eccard said.
“Whatever the water rate increase will be, it’ll be decided and included in the budget that will be adopted in June of this year. And the rate adjustment will take place in January of 2022.” Eccard said the mayors asked the commissioners about using some of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding, which will provide Brunswick County with $26,699,060 to help offset the increase. They indicated that they’re currently reading of the guidance, which is a bit preliminary, is that they can’t use money to repay previously incurred debt,” Eccard said. The bonds were (already) issued to fund the construction. So they aren’t certain, and they seem to think they won’t be able to use it for that. I think it is fair to say that everybody is waiting for some guidance from Treasury. I read the authority to spend money on water and sewer infrastructure a little broader than they do. But I’m also prepared to be cautious and say we need to have more guidance from Treasury. There are other provisions in the bill that talk about not using money to repay debt. I’m not sure how those two provisions completely interact. “I probably have a slightly more aggressive take, but I could be wrong, and they could be right. The fact is unless guidance comes out prior to the budget being adopted, they said the budget rate decision will be final. So I just have to assume that if they don’t get guidance and in their current plan, they would be reluctant to use that money, that they won’t use it. But it’s their decision. My sense is that they’re reluctant to.” Eccard said there was no talk of allocating an equivalent amount of money from other county funds to use for the debt if the rules say they can’t use the ARP money. “We didn’t go into that in-depth. They did say that their staff is preparing recommendations for the commissioners on how to use the $28 million – $14 million this year, $14 million next year – and their current thinking is to use the money on general fund projects and also for some transmission lines for water and wastewater,” Eccard said. “Theoretically, I guess if you save some money there, you could look to save some of that savings. But we didn’t get good clarification on that point.” Eccard said the mayors pressed a number of alternatives and suggestions of things that could moderate the rate increase impact. “One is to review the capital recovery fees and see if some increase in capital recovery fees could, which is new growth, offset the cost to the existing ratepayers,” he said. They committed to look at that. “We also requested they consider using what we would call a more current growth rate assumption. They are currently using a 10-year average. And that’s a conservative approach. We think that with the knowledge they have on the amount of building that’s going on in Brunswick County that it really would pay benefits to look at (again). You could fairly and not wildly assume a somewhat larger growth rate, which again would reduce the impact. So we raised that point.” Eccard said the county officials are concerned about the rate increase impact on businesses. “They’re looking at how they can help them in a way that would mitigate the increase, but there were no specifics and how they plan to do that,” he said. “They’re also looking at breaking the increase over two years, rather than all of this in one year. In previous conversations, to me, the majority of the commissioners are not in favor of that. But they did agree to look at that again.” The county officials told the mayors any recovery they get from a lawsuit against Chemours would be used to benefit the ratepayers. “Of course, that settlement probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon,” Eccard said. But whenever it happens, if they get an amount of money that’s roughly equivalent to the cost of the reverse osmosis plant, the general commitment was to return that money, in one form or another, to the ratepayers. The county said they’re going to consider if there’s a way to adjust some kind of payment plan. We didn’t get specific on it, but the idea is the county ratepayers pay monthly, Shallotte ratepayers pay every other month. They’re going to see if there’s some way of having a payment structure that would let people pay over time in a different way. I don’t know how that would work, but they’re going to look at if there’s some way, they can use some kind of payment mechanism. “The towns in Brunswick County, some of them, like us, are wholesale purchasers of water from the county and we run our own water system. A number of them, perhaps even a majority, have the county run their water system. So the whole question of wholesale rates doesn’t really impact them because they’re not a purchaser of water. They probably purchase water for their own operations, but not for reselling to customers.” Eccard said they did not discuss the higher prices wholesale customers would face compared to retail customers. “That’s one topic we didn’t get to. We covered a lot of ground, but we didn’t get to everything. That’s a point we’ve been scratching our heads on also,” Eccard said. The mayors intend to keep pushing for changes to the water rate increase as the county has proposed it through communication with the county commissioners but also by keeping their residents up to date on the interactions the response, they receive from the county officials. “We’ve raised a number of points and they said they’re going to look at some of them. We appreciate that. But with the schedule they’re under, we’re going to reach out to all of our citizens to alert them in case they haven’t become aware of this coming change and what the impact on them would be,” Eccard said. “At a minimum, we don’t want to have our ratepayers surprised and be mad at us for not even telling them this was going to happen. We’re going to make sure we let them know what’s going to happen. We’re going to continue to urge the commissioners in whatever way that we can that they need to find some ways to reduce the impact, the one-year impact of this.” “I think the mayors are going to huddle to find the most effective way of continuing to communicate our views and concerns. Whether that takes the form of another meeting or some other mechanism, I honestly don’t know at this point. But we’re not going to be silent about this. Shallotte will not be silent and I’m pretty sure that other towns will not be silent.” Eccard couldn’t gauge how receptive county officials were to the ideas brought to them by the mayors. “I think the fairest way to say it is, the fact that they agreed to look at whether the capital recovery rate is set appropriately given the amount of costs thy are incurring. The fact that they’re willing to try to find a way to help businesses and the way that they’re at least willing to consider using of ARP funds if they get legal guidance. It indicated they were listening,” Eccard said.  I don’t really have a good sense of what they’re going to do about the growth rates. I think they may look at that, but I don’t know if they’re going to make any adjustments. Similarly, although they’re going to look at breaking the payment over two years, I don’t have any clarity on whether they’re going to do that or not so. So I guess the fairest view of it is they heard what we were saying. They’re going to review a few things. And that’s all positive. But I didn’t come away with a feeling that we found a solution at all to the problem. “If I could be so bold, I guess my overall statement is one of appreciation that they’re willing to listen and consider some of the suggestions we made. But my deep concern remains about the impact of the proposed increase,” Eccard said.
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Update –
A lot of things going on to try to mitigate the proposed water rate increase
THB Resolution joins the chorus to try and reduce the impact of the increase

  • A decision was made – Approved unanimously

    11. Discussion and Possible Scheduling of a Date to Hold a Public Hearing on the Draft System Development Fees Report – Town Clerk Finnell

    Agenda Packet –
    Draft System Development Fees Report Public Hearing
    The draft System Development Fees Report has been published for comments for a period of 45 days as required by law. Input was solicited via the Town’s Electronic Newsletter on February 23rd and March 23rd. Prior to considering the adoption the report, the Board must hold a public hearing.

    Staff suggests the Board schedule a public hearing on May 18th at 5:00 p.m. (next Regular Board of Commissioners’ meeting). Mihaela Coopersmith from Raftelis is available to attend the hearing if it is schedule for May 18th.

    Previously reported – February 2021

    Draft System Development Fees Report
    Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022

    Agenda Packet –
    The System Development Report herein has been developed by Raftelis in accordance with Board direction to develop an update prior to the expiration of its five-year shelf life. Representatives from Raftelis will provide an introductory review of the report for the Board in addition to outlining the statutory process for consideration and adoption.

    Draft System Development Fee Report
    The Town, like Brunswick County, has chosen to assess its system development fee for its customers based on the number of bedrooms.

    Step 5 – Scale the System Development Fees for Various Categories of Demand
    The system development fees for various bedroom sizes were calculated by multiplying the system development fee for one bedroom by the number of bedrooms. The resulting water and sewer system development fees for up to 4 bedrooms are shown in Table 7.

    Table 7. Water and Sewer System Development Fees by Bedroom
    Bedroom Size       Water Fee       Sewer Fee      Total Fee
    1 Bedroom              $960                   $2,240              $3,200
    2 Bedrooms            $1,920                $4,480              $6,400
    3 Bedrooms            $2,880                $6,720              $9,600
    4 Bedrooms            $3,840                $8,960              $12,800

    The water and sewer system development fees shown represent the maximum cost justified level of system development fees that can be assessed by the Town.

    Schedule 3: Summary of Current and Proposed System Development
    Total System Development Fee
    Bedroom Size            Current Fee       Proposed Fee       Difference $       Difference %
    Cost 1 Bedroom         $2,800                $3,200                    $400                     14%
    Cost 2 Bedrooms       $5,600                $6,400                    $800                     14%
    Cost 3 Bedrooms       $8,400                $9,600                    $1,200                  14%
    Cost 4 Bedrooms       $11,200              $12,800                  $1,600                  14%

This is just the introduction of the draft report educating the public on how this process works. Mihaela briefly reviewed how we got here and also pointed out that this report will need to be done every five (5) years. She went step by step, explaining the methodology used which is how they determined the proposed rate for new construction. The Town has chosen to assess its system development fee for its customers based on the number of bedrooms. The water and sewer system development fees shown in Schedule 3 represent the maximum cost justified level of system development fees that can be assessed by the Town. Compared to the original McGill Associates study this represents a fairly modest fee schedule change. Just to be clear, the proposed fee schedule does not impact current homeowners just new development.

Motion was made to have a Public Hearing at next month’s BOC’s Regular Meeting which is scheduled on May 18th

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Development Fees

There has been no discussion about what their intentions are. I would have expected this to have been kicked around a bit before they take any action.

  • 12. Discussion and Possible Action on Approving Mayor’s Issuance of a Proclamation in Opposition to the Proposed Zoning Bill (SB 349/HB 401) – Commissioner Sullivan

    Agenda Packet –
    From:              Walt Eccard
    Subject:          Zoning Bill

    It has come to my attention that some of you did not receive the explanation of the impact of the zoning bill. Set forth below is the League prepared summary of this bill.

    SB 349/HB 401 Increase Housing Opportunities Edition 1 Explainer
    When taken together, all the provisions that are explained below severely reduce or eliminate the tradition of community-wide decisions regarding development. In SB 349, elected local governing boards see their decision-making authority hamstrung. And community members face new, large hurdles to use legal tools that currently give them a voice. So, by sidelining community members and their elected boards, SB 349 would allow development to proceed with little regard for a community’s preferences.

    How does this bill eliminate local zoning authority?
    . Section 1.1 preempts local zoning authority by putting in place a statewide zoning scheme that would allow duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, and townhomes in every zone that also has single family zoning.

    . Section 1.3 mandates that every single-family zone in the state also accommodate an accessory dwelling unit on each lot, subject to the local government’s setback rules. This section also preempts a local government’s ability to set parking standards for these additional homes
    . Section 2.2 locks in place all zoning codes, and it only allows future changes that would increase the density of development or allow a more-intense land use. An exception for public health, safety, or welfare is likely to happen only rarely. Proposed 160D-702(d) . . Section 2.2 also appears to eliminate all zoning except for industrial zoning and adult establishments. Proposed 1600-702(e) and (f).
    . Section 2.3 severely restricts conditional zoning, thereby taking away a tool that gives developers and local governments flexibility to tailor development. What other devices are in this bill that hamper a local governing board’s ability to make development decisions that benefit the community at large?
    . Section 2.2 appears to prevent a local government from enforcing any prior-enacted zoning changes that shifted the uses in that zone from higher-intensity to lower-intensity. Therefore, this provision invalidates countless past zoning decisions. Proposed 160D-702(d).
    .Section 2.4 gives automatic attorney’s fees to successful legal challengers, paid by local taxpayers. However, the bill does not offer a reciprocal automatic attorney’s fees award if the local government prevails in any lawsuit. The threat of having to automatically pay attorney’s fees will result in overly cautious decision-making by local governing boards who wish to avoid lawsuits.
    .Section 2.5 disallows a governing board from adopting language into its zoning code that would clarify conflicts within the code, if-as it resolved the conflict-the governing board wanted to choose a more restrictive rule. Proposed 1600-706(c). April 2, 2021 In what ways does this bill obstruct the ability of community members and neighbors to have a say in how nearby development should occur?
    . Section 2.6 places hurdles on community members and neighbors who want to intervene in legal disputes involving development, thereby making it difficult for them to participate and protect their property interests. Examples of these hurdles include:

    • Shortening the amount of time in which they may ask a court to grant them intervenor status. Proposed 1600-1402(g).
    • Eliminating their ability to appeal an unwanted local government development decision, if the developer starts work before they can appeal that decision to the courts.Proposed 1600-1402(11).
    • Requiring them to post a bond.Proposed 1600-1402(0).

    How would this bill affect mixed-used developments that are becoming increasingly popular in downtowns and urban areas?
    . Section 2.3 severely restricts conditional zoning, and for many mixed-use developments, this provision would curb flexibility for developers and harm their ability to address the concerns of nearby residents and property owners.

    Would this bill ensure that housing that is built would be affordable?
    There is no language in the bill that would require any housing to be affordable to people with lower incomes

    The battle for ‘middle housing’: NC neighbors fight to save single-family zoning
    Ambitious and bipartisan, the legislation could upend neighborhood zoning statewide. The backlash has been swift.

    Though Kenilworth Forest lies directly behind a major mall, the neighborhood feels divorced from the hum of nearby commercial activity. Secluded by rows of trees and a glistening lake, the small community of 99 houses in Asheville is set on sloped terrain, with a narrow main street that culminates in a dead-end. “There’s only one way in and one way out so everybody’s having to say hi,” said resident Rick Freeman. “It’s quiet and super friendly.” It was this tranquility that motivated Freeman, a former General Electric executive, to purchase a mid-century modern ranch home in the community four years ago when he and his wife were looking to retire to Asheville. And it is this tranquility he hopes to preserve as he fights against a pair of bills that threaten to upend the way North Carolina has zoned neighborhoods like Kenilworth Forest for decades. In late March, a bipartisan group of state legislators introduced companion bills that would eliminate single-family zoning in North Carolina. House Bill 401 and Senate Bill 349 both call for “middle housing” – townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes – to be allowed in any neighborhood currently zoned for detached single-family homes. “Middle housing” fills the gap between single-family houses and taller apartment buildings. Over the decades, zoning ordinances have shrunk this sector of the housing stock, leaving advocates to coin it “Missing middle housing.” By promoting “Missing Middle,” North Carolina could add up to a million housing units said Senator Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson), an enticing prediction given that cities from the mountains to the coast face drastic housing shortages and skyrocketing housing costs. “There’s just simply a lack of supply,” said Edwards, who is a primary sponsor of the Senate bill. “There’s only one solution to providing affordable housing and that is to build more affordable housing.” But for the middle housing legislation to pass, it must overcome fierce objections from residents and local officials who claim the bills benefit developers, private communities, and short-term rental companies rather than actually increase affordable housing options. Middle housing may transform North Carolina’s single-family neighborhoods, though not in ways Rick Freeman and many of his neighbors welcome. “This approach would change the character (of Kenilworth Forest), which was not what I had hoped for when I bought here and not what I really pay taxes to have happen,” said Freeman, who serves as president of the Kenilworth Forest Neighborhood Association. Across North Carolina, a zoning debate is set to unfold over the coming weeks and months. Discussions have already featured plenty of technical jargon about density, parcel standards, and traffic assessments, but they’ve also stirred up broader questions about  wealth, inclusion, urban sprawl, and neighborhood control. No matter its outcome, the fight over middle housing will likely be intense; as Asheville-area realtor Dusty Allison put it: “Zoning is always a very sensitive topic.” 

    Rethinking single-family zoning
    Alongside the white picket fence, car, and clean-cut yard, the single-family home was a cornerstone of suburban neighborhoods that formed in the mid-20th century. To keep low-income and families of color from moving into these communities, cities enacted zoning laws that prohibited multi-family units, said Mai Thi Nguyen, director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego and a former city planning professor at UNC Chapel Hill. “Houses in the suburbs were exclusionary to different racial and ethnic groups, and they also appreciated in value quite dramatically,” she said. “So, once (residents) built wealth in the suburbs, they wanted to keep it that way.”
    Single-family zones continue to cover large portions of North Carolina’s cities. In Asheville, these zones constitute 67% of the city’s residential-only areas. In Charlotte, it’s more than 80%, while close to 60% of Wilmington – not just residential areas but the entire city – is zoned for single-family homes according to data from the Wilmington Planning Department. Nguyen says the abundance of single-family zoning has come at the expense of middle housing options. According to the American Housing Survey, less than 10% of new housing units from 1990 to 2013 were categorized as “Missing Middle Housing”. But as demand for housing continues to outpace supply, many have looked to get middle housing into single-family neighborhoods. In 2019, Oregon became the first, and still only, state to permit multi-family units like townhouses, duplexes, and quadplexes in single-family zones. Two years ago, Durham amended its land use ordinances to “allow for more, and more varied, housing choices.” The City of Charlotte is weighing whether it should eradicate its single-family zones. “I think there are lots of people who see (middle housing) as an avenue towards more economic and racial diversity in neighborhoods,” Nguyen said. In his massive infrastructure plan, President Joe Biden proposed giving municipalities incentives to “take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers to producing affordable housing.” Yet North Carolina’s middle housing legislation doesn’t incentivize local governments to end single-family zoning. It demands it.

    ‘A radical and comprehensive attack’
    The middle housing bills have drawn support from both sides of the aisle. Multiple Republicans and Democrats joined Senator Edwards in sponsoring the legislation, including Sen. Valerie Foushee of Orange County, who chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus. “There’s enough in this bill to be attractive to a wide range of folks,” said Rep. Brian Turner, a Buncombe County Democrat, who didn’t sponsor the House bill but does support it. “There is the concern about the affordable housing issue that’s typically a Democratic-leaning issue. It also goes to property rights, which typically appeals to some of the more conservative folks.” If the middle housing bills were to become law, developers would no longer need special permission from local governments to build townhouses, duplexes, triplexes or quadplexes in single-family zones. The bill also allows accessory dwelling units, smaller homes that share lots with larger, primary houses, to be built statewide. Construction limitations would still apply. Developers could only build middle housing where there’s water and sewer access, and new multi-family units would have to conform to local standards like building height, yard length, and parking location. The legislation exempts historic neighborhoods and subdivisions with homeowner association covenants from having to allow multi-family units, which is one of several criticisms opponents have levied against the bills. The North Carolina League of Municipalities, which represents more than 500 towns, has lambasted the legislation as a disingenuous overreach of state government. “We think it’s basically an attempt to undermine local control and local decision making in the guise of an affordable housing bill,” said Scott Mooneyham, NCLM’s director of political communication and coordination. Mooneyham pointed out the bills are backed by the North Carolina Home Builders Association, which represents developers. In the last campaign cycle, the NCHBA made donations to multiple sponsors of the middle housing bills, including Foushee and Edwards. In a scathing public statement on April 5, the Boone Town Council condemned House Bill 401 and Senate Bill 349 for hiding “behind the term ‘affordable housing’” while not actually requiring middle housing units be sold at affordable prices. Last week, the High Point City Council issued a similar rebuke, deeming the legislation “a radical and comprehensive attack on local land-use decisions.” A retired nurse, Norma Baynes sees the zoning changes as an existential threat to her community of Shiloh, a historically Black neighborhood of single-family homes in south Asheville. Knowing that development had contributed to the displacement or destruction of Black communities in the past, Baynes, who serves as president of the Shiloh Community Association, resists any steps that might alter the look and feel of one of Asheville’s oldest communities. “We’re still struggling to keep the community intact for generations to come,” she said. This week, the executive committee of the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods gathered over Zoom to discuss the controversial legislation. The committee’s six members each live in a different Asheville neighborhood that, at least in part, is zoned for single-family homes. Patrick Gilbert, a retired reporter,
    and CAN’s vice president, called the bills “onerous” and advised the General Assembly to “encourage municipalities to provide more affordable housing” rather than “shackle” their control over what gets built within their borders. Rick Freeman predicted granting developers “carte blanche” to increase housing density would produce more traffic, more parking issues, and less connection among Kenilworth Forest residents. One CAN member suggested Asheville neighborhoods could become homeowner associations in order to sidestep the legislation. In a unanimous vote, the CAN executive committee approved a motion to oppose House Bill 401 and Senate Bill 349. They would send out a letter with their concerns to local legislators and the Governor.
    Read more » click here

    Brunswick County towns push back on proposed bill for state control of zoning decisions
    A bill filed in the state house in March that proposes taking zoning decisions out of the hands of local governments has Brunswick County town officials pushing back on what they see as overreaching by state legislators. Shallotte Mayor Walt Eccard said mayors from 15 of Brunswick County’s 19 towns have signed a letter sent out Tuesday to local state senators and representatives as well as sponsors of the bill to voice their opposition to taking decision-making on development zoning out of local hands. The bill was filed as Senate Bill 349 by primary sponsors Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards, District 48 (Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania), Republican Sen. Paul Newton, District 36 (Cabarrus, Union) and Democrat Sen. Milton F. “Toby” Fitch Jr., District 4 (Edgecombe, Halifax, Wilson). It has also been filed in the House as HB 401 by Republican Rep. Destin Hall, District 87 (Caldwell), Republican Rep. Timothy Moffitt, District 117 (Henderson), Republican Rep. Mark Brody, District 55 (Anson, Union) and Democrat Rep. William Richardson, District 44 (Cumberland).
    The proposed bill would allow duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes and townhomes in every zone that allows single-family zoning statewide. Shallotte planning director Robert Waring said the town ordinance would consider those to be a multifamily development, which are already allowed but with a special use permit. Every single-family zone would also be required to allow an accessory dwelling on each lot. While local setback rules would remain, local governments wouldn’t be able to set parking standards for the additional dwelling. The only allowable future changes to local zoning codes already in place would increase development density or land use with rare exceptions for public health and safety. “By preempting all local authority over the zoning the developer can come in and there is essentially no requirements he has to meet,” Eccard said. “They do reference in one area for the extra buildings on a lot that the setback is applicable. What is the rationale? And why should we be forced to allow an extra building on a single lot without planning for additional parking. These are things that are best decided at the local level, when you have real knowledge of the area that they’re talking about and how the proposed use would fit in with the overall appearance of the town. “The decision makers closest to the people are the people who should be making these decisions, not having all that power taken away by the state, who has no ability and no interest in regulating what the results of this would be. And it prohibits or at least severely limits the town from being able to do that. “Time after time, we impose extra requirements in order to get an authorization to proceed, to meet the needs of local property owners who are adjacent to the property, and property owners, generally, throughout the town. A lot of that authority would go away. So it’s just an unseemly power grab where the state is taking away all this authority from local governments. If they feel this strongly about it, I think they should just abolish all towns and let the legislature run the entire state.” Another section of the bill proposes to eliminate zoning for everything except industrial zoning or adult establishments. “The current structures we have given the town flexibility to work with developers, so the growth of a town conforms with the town’s overall vision of what it wants,” Eccard said. “If you kind of do away with all zoning, except for industrial and adult entertainment, it really limits the town’s ability to do (any) planning.” The proposal would also severely restrict conditional zoning that allows local government to work with a developer to tailor developments. “Conditional zoning allows for projects to be tailored to both the developer’s needs and a city’s wants and needs,” Waring said. “It also allows for more flexibility in terms of having conversations with the developers between the decision makers, and the developers. Whereas like a special use permit, for example, specifically can’t have that precursor conversation between the cities elected officials and the developers. Conditional zoning helps us bridge that gap.” He said it also “lets the developer show what they intend to put on the ground. And sometimes that has the effect of putting fears to rest with the adjacent property owners.” Eccard used the town’s plans for the riverfront as an example. “We’ve been considering using a special zoning tool so that the development can be built along the lines the town wants,” Eccard said. “It would be a type of conditional rezoning where the developer or the town would develop a master plan and that would be part of the rezoning record,” Waring added. “Being able to have a consistent style in architecture and appearance and to tailor, setbacks and height of the buildings, conditional zoning gives us the ability to do that, and it protects the investor,” Eccard said. “It protects the developer and the town in terms of the investment. So the investment is not devalued by subsequent development. And if you do away with conditional zoning, then you lose that tool.”  Other measures proposed would prevent local government from enforcing already enacted zoning changes I they shifted zoning from higher-intensity to lower-intensity and would require governments to pay attorney’s fees automatically in a successful lawsuit. The proposed bill also would include restrictive rules for disputing development decisions. And it doesn’t include any requirements for housing developments to be affordable to people in lower incomes. At their monthly meeting last Tuesday, April 13, the Calabash Town Board of Commissioners approved a draft resolution to send opposing Senate Bill 349 and House Bill 401 on grounds the legislation would “disempower local governments from making land use decisions.” The resolution states proposed legislation would “diminish the protections available to property owners and residents when incompatible uses are proposed adjacent to their properties and homes” and would “prohibit local governments from including language to clarify conflicts in development regulation if the governing board desires to choose the more restrictive rule.” It also states the proposed bills discourage local government and private individuals from using the court system when challenging development proposals and that other states have enacted legislation addressing the issue of housing affordability “without such significant diminishment of local government power to make land use decisions on behalf of the communities they represent.” “I don’t know what the heck they’re thinking of,” Calabash Mayor Pro Tem Jody Nance said during board discussion. Calabash Town Administrator Chuck Nance said it’s a relatively new bill that’s been recently brought up and that the North Carolina League of Municipalities is opposed to it. He said the Cape Fear Council of Governments sent the town a “sample resolution.” “I didn’t really register what this was till I read the one another mayor sent you,” said town commissioner Forrest King, who had the resolution added to the night’s agenda at the start of the meeting. Town commissioner Michael Price said he didn’t think this was the first time “they’ve tried this.” Chuck Nance said there are a lot of contradictions. “The (Council of Governments) didn’t seem enthused this is going to pass,” he said, adding the sponsors are bipartisan. Nance later clarified it’s his understanding from what has been reported that vacation rental companies like Airbnb and VRBO are pushing the legislation because they seem to be exempt from it. “Most communities have a problem with outside entities legislating how to apply zoning within their jurisdiction and changes that might affect densities in old, established neighborhoods that are primarily single-family,” Nance wrote in an email to the Beacon on Monday. King acknowledged the legislation is cosponsored by about “six different folks on both sides of the aisle.” Calabash Mayor Donna Prince Long said local mayors have gotten together to discuss the matter. “I’m not particularly in favor of what I read about that so far,” she said. Town commissioner Michael Herring said as a Realtor, he sees legal issues and a couple of problems. “It can’t be enacted legally,” he said. “Every area would become an HOA. I’m curious how they’re proposing to do (this).”
    Read more » click here

    Update –
    Legislation is currently under consideration, the letter in the agenda packet delineates why we should oppose this bill. NC League of Municipalities issued an action alert asking municipalities to notify their representatives of our opposition to this bill. Mike said the essence of Holden Beach will be destroyed if the bill is enacted. The Board agreed to prepare a resolution in opposition to the proposed bills.

    A decision was made – Approved unanimously

    13. Town Manager’s Report

Budget Calendar
Two workshops have been scheduled in May

Editor’s Note –
Local governments must balance their budget
Ensuring that government commitments are in line with available resources is an essential element of good governance.
The Town Manager’s proposed budget is due by June 1st
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.

First budget meeting is scheduled for May 7th
Compare that to the 2019 Budget Meeting schedule


    1. 16 January       BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives
    2. 05 February     BOC’s Workshop Goals & Objectives / Capital Programs
    3. 15 February     Canal Dredging Working Group / PRAB / IBPB
      PRAB – Parks & Recreation Advisory Board
      IBPB – Inlet & Beach Protection Board
    4. 22 February     Departments Input to Manager
    5. 7 March           BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    6. 21 March         BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    7. 28 March         BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    8. 12 April            BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    9. 19 April            BOC’s Workshop Revenues & Expenses
    10. 6-10 May          Budget Message
    11. 7 June               Public Hearing
    12. 18 June             Regular BOC’s Meeting – Ordinance Consideration
    13. 1 July                Budget adopted (No Later Than)

Hurricane Isaias FEMA worksheet approved $3.8 million
We will need to amend budget and establish a separate capital grants project fund
That will be scheduled at the next regular meeting just like we did tonight
Potential for one large super storm project but there are a number of hurdles to clear to make that happen
FEMA projects now total more than $45 million

Previously reported – March 2021
David indicated that the potential for us to combine all four storms in one large project appears to be increasing.

Previously reported – February 2021
We are in the public notification phase for hurricane Isaias that is required by FEMA before they issue Project Worksheets(PW). David indicated that there is a potential for us to combine all four storms in one large project. Any inquiries specific to the public notice need to be directed to FEMA.

 Previously reported – January 2021
We are in the public notification phase for hurricane Dorian that is required by FEMA before they issue Project Worksheets(PW). If and when Dorian PW is approved, they would like to include it with FloMike efforts. David questioned whether if it is possible that we might have a three-storm beach project.

Town of Holden Beach receives FEMA grant for damages from Hurricane Dorian
The Town of Holden Beach was awarded a grant of $11,622,601 from FEMA Wednesday to renourish beaches damaged by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Together with the state’s share of $3,874,201, the Town of Holden Beach will have received a total of $15.49 million to restore 555,000 cubic yards of beach sand and stabilize 80,000 square yards of dune vegetation. Senator Thom Tillis released a statement about the grant that will reimburse the costs involved in restoring Holden Beach’s Central Reach shoreline. “Helping North Carolina communities affected by hurricanes is one of my top riorities in the Senate,” said Tillis. “That’s why I’m pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency is awarding Holden Beach $11.6 million for repairs as a result of Hurricane Dorian. The impact of Hurricane Dorian on Eastern North Carolina and Holden Beach specifically was extensive, and this funding will be crucial for Holden Beach’s recovery.”
Read more » click here

Holden Beach awarded $3.8M to renourish beaches damaged by Hurricane Isaias
The State of North Carolina and FEMA have approved more than $3.8 million to help the Town of Holden Beach restore sand, vegetation, and fencing on the Central Reach shoreline damaged by Hurricane Isaias last year. Funds for the project cover restoration of 67,438 cubic yards of beach sand, installing 320,000 dune plants and 24,000 linear feet of protective sand fencing along Central Reach Beach in Brunswick County. FEMA’s share for the projects is $2,878,528 and the state’s share is $959,509. FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to reimburse the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent repair work. Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.
Read more » click here

Holden Beach awarded $3.8 million to renourish reaches damaged by Hurricane Isaias
The state of North Carolina and Federal Emergency Management Agency have approved $3,838,038 to help the town of Holden Beach restore sand, vegetation and fencing on the Central Reach shoreline damaged by Hurricane Isaias last year, according to an April 16 FEMA press release. Funds for the project cover restoration of 67,438 cubic yards of beach sand, installing 320,000 dune plants and 24,000 linear feet of protective sand fencing along Central Reach Beach in Brunswick County. FEMA’s share for the projects is $2,878,528 and the state’s share is $959,509. FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to reimburse the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent repair work. Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.

Also approved was $3,239,775 to reimburse the city of Wilmington and $1,459,270 to reimburse New Hanover County for debris removal costs from Hurricane Isaias. Funds to the city are for county-wide removal of just over 220,000 cubic yards of hurricane-related debris. FEMA’s share for the projects is $2,429,831 and the state’s share is $809,943.Funds to New Hanover county cover the county-wide removal of just over 133,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris, 643 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris, four trees and 482 hanging limbs. FEMA’s share for the projects is $1,094,452 and the state’s share is $364,817.The state and FEMA have also approved $10,061,294 to help the town of Oak Island with emergency expenses to protect its natural dune system and berms damaged by Hurricane Florence in 2018, according to an April 15 press release. Storm surge and waves caused extensive erosion to the dunes. The town con-structed emergency berms and temporary levees to protect property along Oak Island beaches in Brunswick County. FEMA’s share for this project is $7,545,970 and the state’s share is $2,515,323. For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Isaias, go to FEMA.gov/disaster/4568 or follow them on Twitter @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4. For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence go to ncdps.gov/Florence and FEMA.gov/Disaster/4393.
Brunswick Beacon

LWF Inlet Crossing Maintenance Project
We were contacted about the next dredging cycle of sand from the project that is coming to Holden Beach this year. Details of cost and sand volume are unknown at this time. USACE  tentatively plans to make contract award at the end of  July.

Annual Beach Monitoring Survey
Survey is currently underway; crews will be out there for the next couple of weeks

Previously reported – 2020
The Town participates in annual beach monitoring to maintain a healthy beach and dune system and to keep our engineered beach status. These reports are also instrumental in serving as a baseline account of sand volume as compared to post-storm surveys.

Applied Technology Management
ATM is a coastal engineering firm hired by the town to do the following:

      • Annual monitoring, data collection and reporting
      • Assess sand erosion
      • Evaluate nourishment
      • FEMA projects cost reimbursement support
      • Meet government regulatory permitting conditions

Annual monitoring has occurred since 2001. We have an engineered beach – which means it has been nourished and is being monitored.

Sand Fence Installation Project
The project has been completed, they got to around 955 OBW

Previously reported – March 2021
The project is currently in the 800 block. They will continue working west as far as they are permitted to by CAMA.

Previously reported – February 2021
Planting will follow sand fence project completion.
In contract to replace over a half a million plants
Inspected vendor greenhouse site in Bolivia
Planting tentatively scheduled after Easter weather permitting

Parks & Recreation Master Plan Update
They have gotten a good response rate from a wide variety of participants
They are pleased that they will have a solid baseline on the served population

Previously reported – March 2021
Process is well underway, six (6) focus groups have participated in developing the plan.

Previously reported – February 2021
Kickoff meeting between McGill and staff, they met last week

Previously reported – January 2021
The current Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the Town of Holden Beach was completed in May of 2012. Christy stated that we should be updating the plan every five years. She then reviewed the process and made the recommendation to award the contract to McGill with an explanation of why they were selected. The board awarded the contract to McGill as recommended.

Automatic transfer switch installation has been completed
All systems good to go for hurricane season

Jordan Boulevard Bathroom Remodel
Project has been put on hold due to a number of complications, they will come back to it at a later date

Lift Stations
Sewer Lift Station #3
Complete, final payments have been made, it’s a done deal

Previously reported – March 2021
Has everything he needs in hand, about to proceed to make final payments

Previously reported – January 2021
Station has been in service for over a month
Final inspection has been performed; we are just about wrapped up

Sewer Lift Station #2
Engineering Services Request for Quote (RFQ) has been advertised

Previously reported – March 2021
Ready to start the upgrade process, will begin with a
request for quotation (RFQ)

Brunswick Avenue Paving
Project has been completed, subject to engineer’s inspection

Previously reported – March 2021
In 2015 the Board implemented a tax increase of $.010 specifically for street paving and maintenance. The penny worth of tax revenue earmarked for paving is money that is already in the budget. Last year, Right Angle Engineering reviewed the bids and recommended Highland Paving. Highland did the work on Brunswick Avenue Phase 1 project last year  and has done satisfactory work for the Town before. The motion was made to award the contract to Highland Paving and make necessary budget adjustment as requested.

Bike Lane
David had follow-up meeting with NCDOT representatives. Both resurfacing and bike lane projects are moving forward. We will have a seat at the table, able to get our hat in the ring, for the federal project grant funding.

Previously reported – February 2021
Engineer’s estimate for bike lanes are as follows:
Ocean Boulevard West / 5.00 miles / @$1,208,941
Ocean Boulevard East / 1.15 miles / @$403,972

NCDOT now has adequately funding so the resurfacing program for OBW which is scheduled for the spring of 2022. Bike lanes are being proposed on both sides of the road, that will add five feet on each side. This should be coordinated with resurfacing project that is tentatively scheduled already. Our cost would be $1,612,913 which hopefully at least a portion of would be offset by grants. DOT requested verbal feedback in the next 60 days, indicating whether we want to participate in adding bike lanes to the project.

Previously reported – March 2021
David provided the Board with a memo summarizing the information that he gathered since the last meeting. That memo was not included in the agenda packet. He reviewed the process, timeline, and financing. DOT informed him that if we are interested that we need to stay engaged with them. The public has said that they are in favor of having bike lanes. The project is an improvement worth the expenditure especially if we can get help with the funding through grants. They decided to give the  project a green light and have David work to keep moving the project forward.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

In Case You Missed It –

Vehicle Decals
The 2021 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills.

Decals are your passes to get onto the island to check your property only in the case of a storm that would necessitate restricting access to the island. These are to be used only for your primary vehicles and should be placed on the interior of the lower driver side windshield.

If you own rental property with full-time tenants, two free decals may be obtained by the property owner to distribute to the tenants.

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

14. Mayor’s Comments

Mayor Holden asked about the work being done on the Sewer Lift Station under the bridge. Chris the Public Works Director informed him that a corroded pipe is being replaced there. 

Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department is planning to ask the County Commissioners for a 15% increase in fire fees to replace their building that was built in 1968.

15. Board of Commissioners’ Comments

Request that the public participate more in the process, they can’t represent you without your input. Make sure to include your name, address, and whether this is your primary residence. Please send comments to Heather at heather@hbtownhall.com

Folks speaking up would be helpful!

16. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(6), To Discuss Qualifications, Competence, Performance of a Public Employee(Commissioner Kwiatkowski), North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(3), To Consult with the Town Attorney and North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(3), To Consult with the Town Attorney (Town Manager Hewett) 

No decision was made – No action taken

Loose Ends (3)

              • Commercial District / Zoning            February 2019
              • Dog Park                                                January 2020
              • 796 OBW                                               February 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..


Disappointed that we do not plan to start the budget process this year until May 7th


BOC’s Meeting

The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, May 18th

Hurricane #1 - CR


Hurricane Season
For more information » click here

Be prepared – have a plan!


Hurricane season start date could shift earlier because of a surge in May storms

Story Highlights

    • According to NOAA, May storms have formed in each of the past six years.
    • Although the majority of the recent May storms have been rather benign, some have not.
    • There will be no changes to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season this year.

Because of a surge in May storms, meteorologists are considering moving the start date of the Atlantic hurricane season from June 1 to May 15. The hurricane season has started on June 1 for more than five decades. The discussion on changing the start date began in December at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) hurricane conference, which followed the most active hurricane season on record, when 30 named storms formed. Storms have formed in May in each of the past six years, according to NOAA. In 2020, Tropical Storm Arthur came to life on May 16, followed by Tropical Storm Bertha on May 27. Since the late 1960s, when satellites began identifying tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic, 19 named storms have formed before June 1, Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach said. Although the majority of the recent May storms have been rather benign, some have not: “At least 20 deaths have occurred from late May storms since 2012, with about $200 million in total damage, and one of these systems was a 60-knot (70 mph) tropical storm at landfall,” according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The most recent confirmed hurricane during the month of May dates back to May 20, 1970 – Hurricane Alma, which reached maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, AccuWeather said. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph. Klotzbach worries about moving the start date to May 15 since the most dangerous storms typically don’t occur until the height of the season from late August through mid-October. “If you extend the season another 15 days, you could basically have three months with very little storm activity,” Klotzbach said. “People can only prepare for things for so long before they just say, ‘forget it.’” The eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15, but Klotzbach said the Atlantic basin has a much more peaked season. The World Meteorological Organization and NOAA will have meetings this spring to discuss moving the date of the hurricane season. The WMO has the final say on any potential date change. “An examination would need to take place regarding the need for, and potential ramifications of, potentially moving the beginning of the hurricane season to May 15,” National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said in a statement sent to USA TODAY. Regardless, there will be no changes to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season this year, he said. Although the start date of the basin’s hurricane season has traditionally begun on June 1, the end date has a history of being pushed back, first from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13 to Nov. 30, where it is today, AccuWeather said.
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New climate ‘normal’ for Atlantic hurricanes shows more frequent and intense storms
The past 30 years have seen record levels of hurricane activity.
Every 10 years, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration revises the baseline of what weather and climate conditions are considered “normal.” The most recent normals for Atlantic hurricane activity will soon be released, and a preview reveals a spike in storm frequency and intensity. During the most recent 30-year period, which spans 1991 to 2020, there has been an uptick in the number of named storms and an increase in the frequency of major hurricanes of category 3 intensity or greater in the Atlantic. That comes as no surprise amid a spate of extreme hurricane activity that has featured seven Category 5 storms swirling across Atlantic waters in just the past five years. The newly revised climate normals aren’t a forecast of upcoming activity, nor are they necessarily illustrative of any one particular climate or meteorological trend. They’re simply benchmark values. The National Weather Service calculates new climate normals each decade for all major U.S. cities with sufficient historical data. When you hear your local television meteorologist describe a day as “10 degrees above average,” for instance, this data is where that comes from. The new hurricane normals are not official yet, though available data clearly shows an uptick in storm frequency and intensity, likely related to a combination of climate change, natural variability, and improved storm detection.
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‘It only takes one storm’: AccuWeather predicts above-average 2021 hurricane season for NC
AccuWeather is predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season for 2021. In a report released Wednesday, AccuWeather’s team of tropical weather experts said 2021 is predicted to bring 16-20 named storms, with seven-to-10 becoming hurricanes and three-to-five major hurricanes expected to impact the United States. A normal season, according to their report, is 14 storms. In 2020, there were 13 storms with six becoming major hurricanes. In the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office, Warning Coordination Meteorologist Steve Pfaff said they use predictions given by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, which won’t be out until May. Right now, NOAA forecasters are still looking at all the moving pieces that help create a hurricane season prediction, Pfaff said. That includes everything from expected rainfall trends in Africa, which could impact the number of tropical waves, to temperatures in the Caribbean and wind patterns that could move Saharan dust into the Atlantic basin. “These predictions are not simple,” Pfaff explained. The more important thing about these annual season predictions, Pfaff said, is that it gets communities talking. North Carolina is “rapidly approaching hurricane season,” which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, Pfaff said. “Regardless of what the prediction is, it only takes one storm to define a region,” he added. Even if the NOAA forecast predicts a lower-than-average season, Pfaff said the level of preparedness shouldn’t change. “All it takes is that one,” Pfaff said. “People unfortunately equate the number to impact. That’s not a good way to think about these.” Pfaff has spent 26 years with the National Weather Service, and over that time he’s seen more and more category 4 storms, which is why he stresses the importance of being prepared no matter what predictions show. The numbers are just that – purely numbers – and don’t specify who has a higher chance of being hit. On top of that, several hurricanes in recent years have led to significant flooding events. “It seems like we’re seeing more and more tropical storms and hurricanes that result in flood disasters,” Pfaff said, using Hurricane Florence as a prime local example. The storm, which made landfall near Wrightsville Beach on Sept. 14, 2018 as a Category 1, was slow moving and dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on the area for days. During these times people are cut off from help and supplies. Pfaff recommended families keep preparations on hand for seven days rather than the typical three in case of extreme “It seems like we’re seeing more and more tropical storms and hurricanes that result in flood disasters,” Pfaff said, using Hurricane Florence as a prime local example. The storm, which made landfall near Wrightsville Beach on Sept. 14, 2018 as a Category 1, was slow moving and dumped record-breaking amounts of rain on the area for days. During these times people are cut off from help and supplies. Pfaff recommended families keep preparations on hand for seven days rather than the typical three in case of extreme circumstances. Meteorologists are also considering a change in the timeline for hurricane season, potentially moving the date two weeks earlier to mid-May due to an increase in May storms. That discussion is still ongoing and would require worldwide coordination. While most May storms tend to be tropical storms or low-category hurricanes due to there being less warm water to feed off than during the summer, Pfaff said, he recommends having kits ready to go in early May.
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2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Expected to Be More Active Than Normal

At a Glance

    • A total of 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes are expected this season.
    • This is above the 30-year average of 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
    • The forecast was released Thursday by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project.

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be more active than usual, according to an outlook released Thursday by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project. The group led by Dr. Phil Klotzbach calls for 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. A major hurricane is one that is Category 3 or higher (115-plus-mph winds) on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This forecast is above the 30-year average (1991 to 2020) of 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. “We anticipate that the 2021 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity,” Klotzbach wrote in the outlook. Though the official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, storms can occasionally develop outside those months, as was the case in the previous six seasons and 10 of the past 18 seasons since 2003. In 2020, Tropical storms Arthur and Bertha each formed in mid- to late May. The CSU outlook is based on roughly 40 years of statistical factors combined with data from seasons exhibiting similar features of sea-level pressure and sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific oceans.

What Does This Mean for the United States?
A record 11 storms made landfall in the U.S. in 2020, including six hurricanes: Hanna, Isaias, Laura, Sally, Delta, and Zeta. That’s well above the average of one to two hurricane landfalls each season, according to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division. “We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” Klotzbach said. “As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.” Despite the 2020 season, there isn’t necessarily a strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and U.S. landfalls in any given season. One or more of the 17 named storms predicted to develop this season could hit the U.S. or none at all. Some past hurricane seasons have been inactive but included at least one notable landfall. The 1992 season produced only six named storms and one subtropical storm. However, one of those named storms was Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida as a Category 5 hurricane. In 1983, there were only four named storms, but one of them was Alicia. The Category 3 hurricane hit the Houston-Galveston area and caused almost as many direct fatalities there – 21 – as Andrew did in South Florida – 26. On the other hand, the 2010 Atlantic season was very active, with 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes. Despite the high number of storms that year, no hurricanes and only one tropical storm made landfall in the U.S. In other words, a season can deliver many storms but have little impact or deliver few storms and have one or more hitting the U.S. coast with major impact. The bottom line is it’s impossible to know for certain if a U.S. hurricane strike will occur this season. Keep in mind that even a weak tropical storm hitting the U.S. can cause major impacts, particularly if it moves slowly and rainfall triggers flooding.
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‘Average’ Atlantic hurricane season to reflect more storms
Higher averages based on most recent 30-year climate record
Beginning with this year’s hurricane season outlooks, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) will use 1991-2020 as the new 30-year period of record. The updated averages for the Atlantic hurricane season have increased with 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes. The average for major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) remains unchanged at 3. The previous Atlantic storm averages, based on the period from 1981 to 2010, were 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. NOAA is updating the set of statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the climate record. This update process occurs once every decade. “This update allows our meteorologists to make forecasts for the hurricane season with the most relevant climate statistics taken into consideration,” said Michael Farrar, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction
. “Our work illustrates the value of NOAA’s investments in next-generation technologies to capture the data that underpins our outlooks and other forecast products. These products are essential to providing the public and local emergency managers with advance information to prepare for storms, and achieving NOAA’s mission of protecting life and property.”

This graphic captures the changes in Atlantic hurricane season averages from the last three-decade period of 1981-2010 to the most current such period, 1991-2020. The updated averages for the Atlantic hurricane season have increased with 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes. The average for major hurricanes remains unchanged at 3. The previous Atlantic storm averages, based on the period from 1981 to 2010, were 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

The increase in the averages may be attributed to the overall improvement in observing platforms, including NOAA’s fleet of next-generation environmental satellites and continued hurricane reconnaissance. It may also be due to the warming ocean and atmosphere which are influenced by climate change. The update also reflects a very busy period over the last 30 years, which includes many years of a positive Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, which can increase Atlantic hurricane activity. “These updated averages better reflect our collective experience of the past 10 years, which included some very active hurricane seasons,” said Matt Rosencrans, seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “NOAA scientists have evaluated the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones and determined that it can influence storm intensity. Further research is needed to better understand and attribute the impacts of anthropogenic forcings and natural variability on tropical storm activity.” For the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific basins the averages over the 1991 – 2020 period do not change. The Eastern Pacific basin will remain at 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. The Central Pacific basin will maintain an average of 4 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. NOAA will issue its initial seasonal outlook for the 2021 hurricane season in late May. The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30.
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