09 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 09/01/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-28, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The Revenues & Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022 (Amendment No. 4) – Commissioners Sullivan & Kwiatkowski

Previously reported – August 2021
Ordinance 21-27
Amendment proposes to add $25,000 in funding for inspection of the pier properties out of BPART funds in accordance with standards from the American Society of Civil Engineers for those types of properties.

Moved funds of $25,000
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000 to Expense account#50.0710.0903

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Commissioner Sullivan indicated that the inspection cost of the pier is $46K which is greater than what they had  expected, they only budgeted $25K, and that they needed to allocate more money to get the inspection done. Conducting the pier inspection is both necessary and an obligation of the Board under the due diligence aspect of the purchase of the property. Commissioner Kwiatkowski made a motion, just to be on the safe side,  to increase the requested additional funds from $31K to $45K in order  to cover any unexpected expenses that they may incur. David explained the procedure that they will follow will be to perform a level 1 marine inspection of the pier which is an underwater visual inspection that will tell them enough for them to determine which way to go from there. After the initial assessment they can stop right then if it looks bad. They all agreed that is how they were going to do it and were going to proceed accordingly. The budgeted funds are for the marine inspection only. There was some discussion about the  commercial building inspection. Both the Building Inspector and the Town Attorney said that it should be done by an independent third party. David said he plans to lineup the inspections sequentially, do one at a time, that way he can hold off on doing the building inspection if the pier inspection is bad. ATM, our coastal engineering firm, will be doing the inspection at a cost of up to $46K depending on how much work they actually need to do.

Moved funds of $45,000
From Revenue account #50.0399.0000 to Expense account#50.0710.0903

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)
Commissioner Smith opposed the motion

Mayor Holden – was not in attendance

Editor’s Note –
They followed remote government meeting protocols, Commissioners introduced themselves before they spoke, which was a nice  positive change.

HBPOA – official position statement:
The HPBOA cannot support the proposed purchase of the pier properties until these items are known:
.   1)
The inspection results listing any necessary repairs and their estimated cost
.   2)
The Town’s intended use of the property, including the provision of beach access
.   3)
A 15-year plan for the estimated revenues and expenses, including repairs,                 .       improvements, insurance, and operating costs
.   4)
The impact on taxes

.

.

Public does not have enough information to formulate an opinion.
Due diligence is a critical part of the pier property purchase process.
Need to ensure the public that they are acting fairly, transparently and in good faith.
Most importantly, they need to be forthright explaining how they plan to pay for it.


BOC’s Public Hearing / Regular Meeting 09/21/21

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here

Audio Recording » click here


BOC’s Public Hearing


PUBLIC HEARING: Consideration of Entering into an Installment Financing Contract for the Remodeling and Improvement of Lift Stations for the Town’s Utilities Systems and Purchasing Property Located at 441 Ocean Boulevard West, Including the Pier

Previously reported – August 2021
Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution 21-12, Resolution Authoring the Negotiation of One or More Installment Financing Contracts and Providing for Certain Other Related Matters Thereto – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
The attached resolution (Attachment I), prepared by our bond attorney firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP, is a necessary component for the installment financing application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) and to negotiate one or more installment financing contracts to pay the costs of remodeling and improvement of lift stations for the Town’s sewer utility systems and to pay the cost of purchasing the pier properties located at 441 Ocean Boulevard. The resolution anticipates applying for amounts up to $5,200,000 for the two Lift Station upgrades and up to $3,300,000 for the pier properties. Actual amounts procured via installment financing contracts will be subject to bank RFPs, construction contracting response to the sewer lift station 2 bid solicitation, and BOC/LGC approvals. The amount proposed to be financed for the lift station upgrades includes the repayment to the water/sewer fund of costs previously incurred with the lift station 3 project as approved by the BOC reimbursement resolution dated Oct 2020 as well as estimated project costs for lift station 2 currently under design and anticipated to be ready for bid review/consideration at the September BOC meeting.

This is a necessary component for the installment financing application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) and to negotiate one or more installment financing contracts. Not optional , this is a requirement to move forward.
A decision was made – Approved unanimously

A public hearing shall be conducted, concerning the approval of the execution and delivery of the Contract for the financing of the Projects.  

Update –
David briefly explained the proposed financing. Experts were on hand to answer any of the Board’s questions.

 Public Comments
There were several comments made all of which regarding the pier properties purchase

If I may summarize, the recurring two issues
  1) The public does not have enough information to formulate an opinion.
  2) They need to explain how they plan to pay for it.

John Witten representing the Holden Beach Properties Owners Association reported that they electronically online polled their members regarding the pier project financing position. Despite the short notice three hundred (300) members responded with 82% in favor of the resolution which opposes incurring the debt at this time without additional information.

HBPOA – official position statement:
The Board of Commissioners (BOC) has approved a contract to purchase the Fishing Pier, attached Building and adjacent 70-space Parking Lot and is planning to incur $3.3 million of 15-year Public Debt to fund the purchase. This Property does not include the parcels on either side, which have the same owner and are also for sale. All three parcels are listed by Alan Holden Realty, as agent for the owner.

At its September 4, 2021 meeting the HBPOA membership adopted a resolution to be delivered to the BOC stating that HBPOA DOES NOT support purchasing the Property UNLESS AND UNTIL: (i) all Inspections are complete and there is a cost estimate and plan for repair; (ii) taxpayers are told the plan for operating the pier, parking lot and restaurant building; (iii) taxpayers are given a realistic plan and revenue sources for repayment of the $3.3 million of public debt; and (iv) taxpayers can see the potential impact on property and occupancy taxes.

This vote made it clear that the HBPOA does not oppose the concept of the Town owning and developing the Property and preserving the Pier, but it does not support incurring over $3+ million public debt and obligating taxpayers without taking prudent precautions to ensure that the Town is not paying too much and/or is not taking on hidden risks and liabilities, and without knowing how the Town plans to repay that $3+ million.


BOC’s Regular Meeting


1. September Monthly Report and Washington Legislative and Advocacy Update – Mike McIntyre, Ward and Smith, Roger Gwinn, the Ferguson Group (Assistant Town Manager Ferguson)

Agenda Packet – background information not provided

Editor’s Note –
In January of  2021 we renewed our contract with Mike McIntyre who was with Poyner Spruill but has since moved to the Ward and Smith firm. The retainer for their services is $7,975 per month or a minimum of $95,700 annually. Retainer is the minimum it will cost us. Ferguson Group services are billed separately. Additionally, we are billed monthly for all kinds of additional charges. The agreement with  Ward and Smith is for an annual total estimated advocacy cost of $119,700.

Update –
Mike gave the report  briefly reviewing the history of our efforts for beach projects. They have been able to secure approval of USACE study, the contract was just signed in August. Discussed LWF inlet maintenance dredging funding, which falls under Congressional directed spending now, able to submit for $1,005,000 for this project. Bipartisan infrastructure package proposes four (4) billion for the USACE operation and maintenance budget where dredging money comes from, this is in addition to the regular annual appropriations which is almost four (4) billion too. He covered a lot of other ground and once again he left a very favorable impression of what they are doing on our behalf.


2. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 21-13, Resolution Approving an Installment Financing Contract and Delivery Thereof and Providing for Certain Other Related Matters – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson, Scott Leo, Parker Poe and Andrew Carter, DEC Associates

Agenda Packet –
The attached resolution (Attachment I prepared by our bond attorney firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP, is a necessary component for the application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) to obtain financing for the improvement/remodeling of lift stations, including adjacent property acquisition, and the acquisition of the pier properties. The resolution approves the terms of the financing agreement between the Town of Holden Beach and Truist Bank and authorizes Town officials to execute the financing documents on behalf of the Town and take any other actions necessary for the financing of the projects.

RESOLUTION 21-13
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of the Town (the “Board’) has determined that it is in the best interest of the Town to enter into an installment financing contract (the “Contract i ‘) with Truist Bank (the “Bank”) pursuant to which the Town will receive an advance of funds under which the Town will make certain installment payments, in order to (l ) (a) pay the costs of the remodeling and improvement of lift stations for the Town’s utilities systems, including the acquisition of adjacent property (the “Utilities Project”), and (b) pay a portion of the costs associated with entering into the Contract, collectively in an aggregate amount not to exceed $5,200,000, and (2) (a) pay the costs of purchasing certain real property located in the Town, including the pier (the “Pier Acquisition” and together with the Utilities Project, the “Projects”), and (b) pay a portion of the costs associated with entering into the Contract, collectively in an aggregate amount not to exceed $3,300,000;

Financing Contracting Comments for BOCM – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

General Considerations
There are two immediate town projects that require funding: 1. Remodeling and improvement of lift stations for the Town’s sewer utility system and 2. To pay the cost of purchasing the pier properties at 441 Ocean Blvd West.

Financing projects when interest rates are low should always be considered, but it needs to be remembered there is a long-term annual cost for debt service that falls on all property owners. While it is stated in the August 2021 resolution 21-12 that the Town does not anticipate an increase in taxes but if an increase is necessary, it will not be excessive, annual assessments (such as are currently paid for the sewer system) are not defined as taxes, and “not excessive” will always be open to interpretation.

Also in resolution 21-12, it is stated “Whereas the Board will consider entering into either separate installment financing contracts or a single installment financing contract…”. My opinion is we should have separate contracts, in part because the definitive decision on the pier purchase will not occur until October, but also because from my perspective it is more appropriate and transparent to have separate contracts when projects are managed from different cost centers.

I comment on each project individually below.

Sewer
In October 2020 the Board approved resolution 20-12, referring to the remodeling and improvement of lift stations and the requisition and installation of a water tower. In the official declaration of intent, the approximate cost was given as 5 million dollars. In resolution 21-12, the financing of the utilities project, now expressed as only sewer lift stations (referring to lift stations 3 and 2), will be for up to 5.2 million dollars, 200,000$ more than approximated in resolution 20-12.

The cost of lift station 3 was more than the estimate from the McGill 2017 Holden Beach Sewer Study, and we are currently awaiting a bid on lift station 2 (expecting it to be more than for lift station 3). It is probable the estimated total of 5.2 million dollars is reasonably accurate. However, when the Board of Commissioners passed resolution 20-12 in October 2020, there was no anticipation of additional projects requiring financing in the same time frame. Since then, the Town has added a bicycle lane project which will require approximately 700,000 dollars of financing and the proposed pier property purchase requiring an estimated 3.25 million dollars financing. There has also been considerable discussion by some commissioners to invest in property for additional parking which could total over 1 million dollars.

While borrowing 5 million dollars for both lift station improvements seemed acceptable when it was the only financing foreseen, borrowing the full amount for two stations when confronted with another 4 or possibly 5 million dollars in projects also requiring financing should be reconsidered. In my opinion, the Town should finance the full cost for lift station 2 but only the amount for lift station 3 that is in excess of the 2017 McGill report estimate. If needed, an amended resolution can be written.

Pier Property Purchase
Unlike for the sewer lift station project, the purchase of the pier property is not in my opinion “essential to the Town’s proper, efficient and economic operation and to the general health and welfare of its inhabitants, that the Project will provide an essential use and will permit the Town to carry out public functions that it is authorized by law to perform” ( quoted from resolution 21-12). The Town should not execute financing until 1. due diligence inspection results are received 2. estimates of improvement costs and anticipated annual revenues vs expenditures demonstrate a reasonable certainty that Town purchase and ownership of the pier property will not impose additional taxes or assessments on property owners.

Update –
Commissioner Kwiatkowski broached the subject that this financing resolution should be handled separately. Motion to split the financing and handle separately was not carried on a 3-2 vote. Resolution submitted was passed on a 3-2 vote too.

A decision was made – Approved (3-2)
Commissioners Kwiatkowski and Sullivan opposed the motion


3. Discussion and Possible Award of Contract for Vacuum Sewer System #2 Upgrade – Leo Green, Green Engineering (Public Works Director Clemmons)

Agenda Packet –
The bid opening for the Lift Station #2 upfit was held at 2:00p.m. on September 9th. There was only one bid submitted. Since three are required, Leo Green will rebid for opening on the 20th of September with the intent to present to the Board at the September 21st regular meeting.

Update –
David indicated that the project needed to be rebid. Leo said we still only had one bid from the vendor that did the other lift stations. He attempted to explain the driving forces for the significantly higher price.

Lift Station #4              2018                $1,205,000
Lift Station #3              2019                $1,622,000      @35% increase vs. lift station #4
Lift Station #2              2021                $2,664,000      @64% increase vs. lift station #3

Commissioner Kwiatkowski pointed out that we will need to go through another hurricane season before project is completed. They discussed proceeding versus waiting, some of the variables that needed to be considered are the cost of materials, the cost of borrowing money, the availability of materials, and the potential increase of number of projects because of Federal Infrastructure money. They are not saying that we are not going to do the project, but they prefer to hold off proceeding for the time being. They decided to put the project on hold.

No decision was made – No action taken


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Draft Parks & Recreation Master Plan – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson & McGill Representative

Agenda Packet –
The Town is conducting a Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update with McGill Associates, PA as the consulting firm. The plan has been through the extensive review of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, monthly, since their July meeting. The document will serve as a guide for the growth and development of the department over the next 10 years. Based on the dedication and commitment of the PRAB to produce a user-friendly document that will serve as a resource for the Town, several rounds of revisions have been suggested to culminate in the final document before you this evening (Attachment l). The PRAB passed the plan unanimously at their special meeting held September 9, 2021. It will be very beneficial in the pursuit of grants that fund parks and recreation facilities. The next step is for the BOC to consider approving the plan.

Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan

Parks & Rec Master Plan Initial Comments from Commissioner Kwiatkowski

The efforts of the Parks and Rec Board to prepare an update of the 10-year master plan would be appreciated at any time but are particularly so considering the difficulty of gathering information during the pandemic as well as dealing with meeting restrictions during a sizable portion of the project schedule. The inventory of existing facilities with recommendations for improvement is an excellent compilation; it serves as a reminder of what we already have and the need to keep facilities fresh and current, so they continue to be a source of enjoyment to our community. And of course we must have adequate staff, dedicated volunteers, and funding to move ahead.

My initial thoughts of the document (in no particular order) compared to my personal expectations are below. They are based on only one fairly thorough read and I look forward to engaging with members of the Parks and Rec Board to better my understanding of the current contents and scope of the proposed Master Plan, Again, many thanks to the Parks and Rec Board for their efforts and proven dedication to serving our community.

General Comments
While the document may provide what is generally accepted for a Parks and Rec master plan according to accepted standards, I am missing what I will call overarching themes for future development of parks and rec facilities and programs. We live in a time of particular concern about the effects of sea level rise and climate change; I expected recognition of these factors for our island’s plan (prioritizing facilities less prone to flooding/water damage needs to become a factor when justifying funding, and demonstrating a reduction in fossil fuel use, either by reducing the need to drive or using alternative energy technologies for facilities, should be a consideration). AARP livable community concepts could bring benefit to this plan. When the land use plan was finalized, I asked that more AARP livable community specifics be included; I was told expanded discussion would be more appropriate in a Parks and Rec plan, but there is no mention in this document. Review of AARP livable community concepts that can be incorporated in the plan is an appropriate ask.

Existing Parks/Facilities
Holden Beach is an island with 8 miles of beach and many points of access and water views to the AIWW and inlets; the beach already receives more “attention” than it can handle during peak use periods, which is to be expected since people vacation on an island to go to the beach (by the way, I find it curious that in section 3.4 on evaluation of park land needs our acres of beach are not included or at least commented on) . However, families don’t expect to spend 12 hours a day at the ocean; they look for other family activity opportunities. We need to provide easily reached (without always having to drive) activity locations and entertaining options away from the strand to “spread the love” over more of the island as an alternative to loading the family into the car to drive off island every day. The proposed walking trail to connect points is an excellent idea as are exploiting points of interest for bikers (who will not have bike lanes). A park at Scotch Bonnet, including but not limited to a dog park, seems a sound proposal.

Proposed facility proposals and recommendations
Facilities need to be used for the majority of the year to be a worthwhile investment They also need to be managed and monitored. I question the need for tennis courts ( just because recommended guidelines suggest a community this size should have one doesn’t translate to it’s a high priority need), and considering the Sunshine private court which frequently floods, has limited parking and would require driving almost the length of OBW to access doesn’t appear attractive to me.

Regarding comments on providing an outdoor performance area not so close to the bridge that provides visitors a more enjoyable experience, the question becomes where such a site exists on island that can handle the parking needs for concerts and whatever other productions are envisioned. Perhaps collaboration with the county on use of mainland county owned properties near THB could provide a solution.

Programs
We need some suggestions for more programs for children, teens, and adults (including the elderly) that include physical, educational, and social opportunities. The plan includes very little detail on existing programs/events other than tide dye Tuesday and no real recommendations for new possibilities other than to say they are needed. This should be the document that captures ideas; this should be the time to think outside the box. Consider today’s available technology (e.g., smart phones)-what can be designed to educate on local nature and barrier island dynamics while walking trails or taking bike rest stops?

Community Input
I realize the difficulty getting in person input due to pandemic restrictions; initial community input sample sizes for resident and visitor “wants” are smaller than hoped for, although the input coupled with subsequent virtual focus group interviews, the survey conducted, and land use plan survey results can provide direction. That being said, I believe it is important to seek additional input and community confirmation on this draft to ensure the recommendations made specific for Holden Beach are indeed what our owners want/expect. The virtual focus group citizen interview priority list (in order, programs and classes, bike path/lane, trails, dog park, launches, fishing, tennis, pickle ball, fitness) could be the starting point for discussion. I particularly note from the on-line survey getting dedicated pickle ball courts (not shared with basketball) was frequently mentioned.

The 8-mile-long problem
Due to the length and increasing narrowness of the island as one goes west, it is not realistic to assume every part of the island can be equally served (beyond Sailfish there simply aren’t options for to create a park. The western portion of the island will benefit from the bike lanes more will be accessible (without driving), but some preferably shaded rest points (benches, gazebos on side streets or OBW) and some permanent restroom facilities along the way (it’s not just a seasonal, beachgoer want to be met with port a pots) are needed for those who are able and like to “marathon” bike or walk alone or with family members (particularly for children). The town owned building at 7960BW has community use as well as restroom possibilities and its future needs to be defined. There are a number of possibilities given in the document but no project plan; I expected to see some specific recommendations in this master plan.

Costs
Everything sounds attractive when there’s no price attached. Each Project Task needs an estimated total cost and anticipated amount that will require HB dollars. Our Occupancy Tax revenue stream appears fully committed for the next several years (central reach debt service uses approximately half the revenue thru 2027 or 8).

Question on a particular section of the document Emphasizing private facilities “near” Holden Beach (Section 2), particularly golf courses and parks that require driving 20 miles or more (most if not all of them) as well as public schools doesn’t fit my definition of readily accessible opportunities for residents and vacationers. But if they are considered acceptable opportunities, doesn’t it diminish the likelihood HB specific parkland expansion should be a high priority?

Update –
This is simply a guide, a document that can be changed. This is the reference document that is utilized for any grant applications. This is our second go round, the original plan was done in 2012. The plan needs to be updated every five (5) to seven (7) years in order to be considered current. Mike, the representative from McGill, said the plan was driven by the community and is consistent with element standards of our state government. Christy informed them that the Board needs to accept the plan for some grant applications.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)
Commissioner Kwiatkowski opposed the motion


5. Police Report – Lieutenant Dilworth

Police PatchThey experienced a normal decline of activity after the Labor Day weekend

Next major event is Run Holden Beach from 7:00am to 12:00pm on October 9th. They are meeting with various agencies to coordinate their activity.


Frank reviewed seasonal changes –

Pets allowed back on the beach strand  –
still need to be on leash,
need to clean up after them

Speed Limit changes from 35mph to 45mph west of the general store on October 1st

Golf Carts can’t operate on OBW beyond the general store once speed limit changes


We are in the most active hurricane period which is from August to October –

Be Prepared!


August 2021 BOC’s Agenda Item #15 Response
Police Chief to provide the total number of “golf cart” tickets issued as part of the Police Report.

August 2021 Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) citations
    * 2 parking citations (town ordinance)
.     * 5 state citations


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


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


  • 6. Discussion and Possible Action on Revised System Development Fees – Town Manager Hewett
    .   a. Resolution 21-14, Resolution Amending the Holden Beach Fee Schedule

    .
    Agenda Packet –

    Resolution 21-14, Resolution Amending the Holden Beach Fee Schedule (Attachment l) has been prepared based on the fees proposed at the August meeting.

  • Resolution 21-14

    Water System Development Fee$460 per bedroom
    Sewer System Development Fee$2,240 per bedroom

    Development Fee Comments for BOCM – Commissioner Kwiatkowski

    While I understand development fees should be approached so as not to discourage development, they are also an important revenue stream for future water and sewer system maintenance or expansion. Three years ago various commenters were concerned that adding any significant amount to then current building costs would discourage building and growth on Holden Beach because new properties would not appraise for enough to cover any increase in price and therefore potential purchasers would not be able to borrow enough to cover their building costs. The resulting fees that were put in place were largely based on that consideration.

    While the concern expressed 3 years ago may have been true at that time, it is less likely in the current market. New construction and renovation as well as sales on Holden Beach have been robust for the past 2 years, and overall property values have increased significantly. While concerns have been expressed this year about the negative impact the spike in lumber and other building material costs may have on new construction, over the past months prices have moderated and it is expected prices and supply will be more predictable as we move forward into 2022. A modest increase in fee costs should not negatively impact the island’s growth potential.

    In my opinion, the Board should not lower the total development fee for water plus sewer for any type of “building activity”. Current fees are 100$/bedroom for water and 2700$/bedroom for sewer, with 5 bedrooms credited for sewer for properties that are already paid into the sewer system. The Town Manager has proposed fees of 460$/bedroom for water and 2240$/ bedroom for sewer, again with the 5-bedroom sewer credit. While construction on lots with the sewer credit will see a 360$/bedroom increase in total fees due to the water fee increase (1800$ for a 5-bedroom house), the fee total for renovations that add bedrooms to existing 5 or more-bedroom properties and the fee for new construction on lots that haven’t bought into the sewer system will be lower by IOO$/bedroom than under the current fee schedule. It would also cost IOO$/bedroom less on bedrooms 6 and more for new construction than under the current fee schedule.

    The water system development fee should be increased to 560$/bedroom and the sewer development fee 2240$/bedroom as proposed in order to ensure no building activity under the new fee schedule is lower cost than under the existing schedule.

    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.

    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.

    Previously reported – May 2021
    The Board approved
    adopting the Draft System Development Fees Report only. The report establishes the maximum rates the Town is allowed to charge. Just to be clear, the Board still needs to determine the fees that we will charge.
    A decision was made – Approved unanimously

    Previously reported – July 2021
    Resolution 21-11

    Agenda Packet –
    All actions necessary to approve the adoption of the Draft System Development Fees Report as required by House Bill 436 have been carried out.

    To reiterate, the report does not determine the rates the Town will charge for the fees. It establishes the maximum rates the Town is allowed to charge. After the report is adopted as provided for in Resolution 21-11, the Board can proceed with considerations to revise the existing water and sewer system fees. As discussed at the last meeting, staff proposes the report is given an effective date of October 1, 2021, if the Board desires to approve it at the June meeting. This allows time to determine what the Town’s fees will be, while retaining the current fees in place in the interim.

    Previously reported – August 2021
    Agenda Packet –
    The System Development Fee Report prepared by Raftelis was approved by the Board of Commissioners at their 15 June 2021 meeting with a 1 October 2021 effective date. The chart below shows the current and proposed fees accordingly .

    System Development Fee
                          Current                            Proposed                        Maximum

    Water           $100 per bedroom        $460 per bedroom        $960 per bedroom
    Sewer           $2,700 per bedroom     $2,240 per bedroom     $2,240 per bedroom

    It is proposed to continue credit for previously remitted sewer share fees in accordance with the existing fee schedule but at the reduced proposed $2240 per bedroom rate.

    The System Development Fee Report prepared by Raftelis was approved by the Board of Commissioners at their June meeting with an October 1st effective date. David reviewed the proposal and devised a proposed fee schedule for the Board to discuss. It was not intended for it to be adopted tonight, it is being introduced for public consumption and feedback.  Adoption of the fee schedule is for consideration at next month’s meeting.
    No decision was made – No action taken

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

Update –
David introduced the proposed fees, and the Board discussed its impact. Commissioner Kwiatkowski recommended that they consider a higher rate to help build our reserve fund. The Board approved the motion as written.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)
Commissioner Kwiatkowski opposed the motion


  • 7. Discussion and Possible Selection on Parking Firm – Town Manager Hewett

  • Agenda Packet –
    Per the Board’s direction at the August meeting, staff met with Premium Parking and Otto Connect to determine which firm would be better suited to implement a paid parking program for the Town. Six staff members participated in the process, which included looking at price, user interface and program implementation logistics.Otto Connect unanimously selected as staff’s recommendation to the Board. The next step is for the Board to consider approving Otto as the Town’s parking vendor and to have a contract prepared.
    .
  • Previously reported July 2021
    Received proposals from four vendors, staff is looking for direction on how to proceed. Commissioner Murdock felt that the staff should be the one to make the decision since they will have to make the program work. The Board asked the Town staff to review the proposals and make a recommendation to them. David said that they would utilize a decision selection matrix and report back to them at the next scheduled meeting.
    No decision was made – No action taken
    .
    Previously reported – August 2021
    David went through the process they used to create the decision selection matrix. Commissioner Murdock felt the staff should interview Otto and Premium and have them make the selection. David agreed to make the call, will bring back recommendation at the next meeting.
    No decision was made – No action taken

  • Update –
    David said that they were tasked to select vendor and make recommendation and that they unanimously chose Otto. Commissioner Sullivan pointed out that they had not approved proceeding with paid parking yet. Therefore it was premature to select a vendor. We need to determine what paid parking will look like first. Commissioner Murdock said the Parking Committee can’t move forward without parking vendor input and would like to bring them on as consultant. The motion was made to approve Otto as the Town’s parking vendor and to have a contract prepared for the Board’s consideration for parking consultant services..
    .
    A decision was made –
    Approved unanimously

  • 8. Discussion and Possible Action on Division of Coastal Management, North Carolina Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Grant Application – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

  • Agenda Packet –
    Based on the BOC’s direction to pursue grant opportunities to assist with the pending purchase of the pier properties, the staff submitted a final grant application (Attachment l) to the Division of Coastal Management on August 16, 2021. The application was for the 50-foot-wide oceanfront lot (Parcel # 246DB002) only based on the lack of clarity DCM has in the current funding policy regarding public purposes for paid parking. DCM has previously approved a pre-application submitted in April that allowed for a final application package in the amount of $180,460.00. The Town Manager and I have been in continuous dialogue with DCM regarding updates and changes as they emerged. They advised us to submit the application with as much information as we had available at the time in August and then complete additional areas as they come to fruition. One of the requirements is that the application be on the agenda of a public meeting. While we submitted draft minutes of the public hearing that was held on the potential purchase, the provision in the application is for the grant package itself to be placed on the agenda for consideration. If awarded the grant, the BOC would still have to choose to accept or decline funds.
    .
    .
    DCM Grant
    Assistance Requested                $180,460
    Holden Beach Contribution                            $361,207
    Total                                                                       $541,667

  • Update –
  • To move forward with grant application it needed to be an agenda item. Motion was made to have grant application considered for funding from DCM. If awarded the grant, the BOC’ would still have to choose to accept or decline funds.
    .
    A decision was made – Approved unanimously


    9. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-29, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022 (Amendment No. 5) – Town Manager Hewett

  • Agenda Packet –
    This amendment is necessary to account for the increase in American Recovery Plan funding that the state has appropriated to the town.
    .
    Moved funds of $17,615.10
    From Revenue account #11.0301.0000 to Expense account#11.0601.0000
     

Update –
David indicated the ordinance recognizes the increased revenues from the American Recovery Plan.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


  • 10. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 21-30, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 21-13, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2021 – 2022 (Amendment No. 6) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

  • Agenda Packet –
    The attached Sand Fence and Vegetation budget amendment provides $168,090 in current year funding via a reappropriation of a prior year encumbrance for installation of sand fence and vegetation. The work has been accomplished.

    .
    Moved funds of
    $168,090
    From Revenue account #50.0399.0000
    To Expense account#50.0710.1700 & Expense account#50.0710.4700

Update –
Work has been completed. This ordinance simply takes the funds that were not spent on the contract last year and reappropriates them to this year.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


  • 11. Discussion and Possible Action on Limiting Meeting Time – Mayor Pro Tem Brown and Commissioner Murdock

    Agenda Packet – background information was not provided

Update –
The discussion is to try to keep the meetings more manageable, would like to a set time limit. If they are not done, they will just have to come back and meet another day. Town attorney recommended against setting a specific time limit. They already have a way to handle this, parliamentary procedure have what they want, any Commissioner can just make a motion to recess the meeting.

No decision was made – No action taken


  • 12. Town Manager’s Report

  • Hurricane Vehicle Decals
    Please make sure you have your vehicle decals in place now. Do not wait! These decals are necessary for re-entry to the island in the event of an emergency situation that restricts access to the island. Click here for more information on decals.

  • Bike Lane

    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.
    .
    Update –
    Submitted draft application for bike lane
    .
    Vegetation Project
    Received $79,000 reimbursement from Department of Water Resources
    .
    Mountain to Coast Ride
    The first Cycle North Carolina Mountains to Coast Ride was held in 1999.  In the twenty-one years since, the Mountains to Coast Ride has traversed the state using a different week-long route each year.  The Mountains to Coast Ride is not a race, but a recreational trek across the state using scenic back roads.  The ride is designed to promote physical fitness, good health, and the scenic beauty of North Carolina.David announced the 2022 ride terminus will be Holden Beach.
    This is another activity that gives us exposure on a much broader scale.


    In Case You Missed It –


    Check out the new improved and secure THB website at https://hbtownhall.com/


    Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan


  • Bridge Lane Closure Notice
    The NC Department of Transportation has notified us that there will be intermittent lane closures on the Holden Beach Bridge October 11th – 15th. During this time routine bridge inspection will take place. Please make your travel plans accordingly.


USACE
Previously reported – August 2021
Federal Cost Share Agreement
Received Atlanta Region Corps approval to execute
Arranging for signing ceremony

Holden Beach, Corps begin $3M storm risk planning study
A three-year study is underway in Holden Beach that could set the tone for how future beach projects may be funded. The town has signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to launch a coastal storm risk management feasibility study, one that will determine whether it’s in the federal government’s interest to take part in planning coastal storm risk plans for the town for up to 50 years. An Aug. 27 signing ceremony between the Corps and Holden Beach officially kicked off the study, which is budgeted to cost up to $3 million, according to Emily Winget, a public affairs specialist in the Corps’ Wilmington District. Funding for the study is being split 50-50. Winget said in an email responding to questions that $500,000 was initially allocated for the study in the Corps’ Fiscal 2021 Work Plan. More funding has been requested for future budget cycles, she said. “The Holden Beach, N.C. Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) Project General Reevaluation Study will scope and analyze alternatives for Federal participation in cost shared coastal storm risk management measures over a project life up to 50 years,” Winget wrote in the email. “We will be looking at all possible alternatives that provide a benefit (reduced risk) to Holden Beach.” Such alternatives will include routine beach nourishment, dune enhancement and repair, as well as public education, resilient town building codes and other “non-structural measures.” “The study will analyze an array of alternatives (list to be determined), trying to find a project that maximizes benefits as compared to overall cost,” Winget said. “Specifically, the study will be determining if we can identify a project with ‘Federal Interest’ that reduces the risk to coastal storms at Holden Beach.” The Brunswick County town’s entire 8-mile-long ocean shoreline will be included in the study. In 2018, Holden Beach commissioners withdrew the town’s permit application to build a terminal groin at the east end of the barrier island, citing that the costs of the proposed hardened erosion mitigation structure outweighed the benefits to the town. The board’s decision followed several years and more than $600,000 on studies examining various ways to mitigate severe erosion at the Lockwood Folly Inlet. A coastal engineering firmed hired by the town to explore ways to reduce erosion at the inlet determined Holden Beach’s best alternative was to build a 1,000-foot-long terminal groin, the estimated long-term costs of which exceeded $34 million. Terminal groins are wall-like structures built perpendicular to the shore at inlets to contain sand in areas of high erosion, like that of beaches at inlets. About a year before commissioners voted to withdraw the terminal groin permit application, the town completed the first phase of its Central Reach project, a multimillion-dollar sand nourishment project that pumped about 1.3 million cubic yards of sand along about a 4-mile stretch of oceanfront in the middle of the barrier island. In March, North Carolina and the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved allocating nearly $15.5 million to help the town restore sand and vegetation along the Central Reach area damaged by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. FEMA’s portion of the project cost included about $11.6 million for the project. The state’s share was about $3.8 million. Those funds include restoring 555,000 cubic yards of sand and stabilizing 80,000 square yards of dune vegetation. Town officials are currently discussing an east end project, one that would put at least 100,000 cubic yards of sand along that end of the island, according to information on the town’s website. Holden Beach Town Manager David Hewett did not return calls seeking comment. Oak Island, which is immediately east of Holden Beach, has submitted to the Corps a letter of intent asking to be considered for a Coastal Storm Risk Management feasibility study, Winget said. “We have expressed that capability up the line and will need funding (Federal and the non-Federal match) to be allocated to start that study,” she said. No other beach towns in the state are scheduled to sign a feasibility cost share agreement with the Corps this year.
Read more » click here


  • Town of Holden Beach Newsletter
    Hurricane Season
    June 1st was the official start to hurricane season in the Atlantic.

    Would your family be prepared in the event of a hurricane? Click here to visit the Emergency Information section of our website. You will find helpful tips to put in place now, before the threat of a storm.


    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.


    13. Mayor’s Comments

    The other islands all have better boat ramp facilities then we do. Commercial properties in that area that are used for parking are currently for sale. Something needs to be done to address this issue. In addition the No Wake Zone is being ignored by boaters, laws are on the book, they need to be enforced.


    14. Board of Commissioners’ Comments

    Commissioner Murdock admits that they do not have a solid plan for the pier properties purchase. The property is for sale, and he feels strongly that  we can’t pass up the opportunity to make the purchase. In a worst-case scenario, we obtain seven (7) ocean front lots at a good price, we obtain additional public access, and we preserve the properties for future generations to enjoy. He feels that paid parking will generate enough revenue to make this work, but if it doesn’t, he feels raising taxes is a viable option. He made a rather impassioned case for purchasing the pier properties regardless of the public concerns and comments.

    Commissioner Sullivan took a different tact, no surprise there. He feels that they have been talking about this for months, but very little information has been shared with the public so far. He would like to share whatever he can that is legally permissible on the town website. He was more concerned about what the potential costs will be and its impact on property owners.

    Commissioner Kwiatkowski stated that she was still open- minded but was for maintaining the status quo if it could  be paid for without a property tax increase or assessment. 


    15. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(A)(5), To Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price and Terms of Contracts Concerning the Acquisition of Real Property – Commissioners Murdock and Kwiatkowski

No decision was made – No action taken

Recessed till Wednesday, September 29th at 8:00am


General Comments –


The Labor Day holiday marks the unofficial end of summer.

Goodbye, tourist season!

I for one am happy to see the vacationers heading home.

(That’s right I said it …)


        • .
          BOC’s Meeting

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


          Hurricane #1 - CR

           

          Hurricane Season
          For more information » click here

          Be prepared – have a plan!

          .a.

          .

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


          THB EMERGENCY INFORMATION

          EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS

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


          NOAA updates its hurricane season outlook
          The tropical Atlantic has been quiet for the past few weeks, but don’t expect that to last, according to forecasters. NOAA issued a mid-season update for the Atlantic on Wednesday and said forecasters are still expecting another above-average season when it comes to the number of named storms. The updated outlook suggests there could be 15-21 named storms, seven to 10 hurricane and three to five major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or stronger storms. That’s a slight uptick from its May outlook, which had 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes. An average season, according to NOAA, has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. According to NOAA there is a 65 percent chance of an above-average season, a 25 percent chance for an average season and a 10 percent chance of a below-average season. So far this season there have been five named storms. One of those, Elsa, briefly became a Category 1 hurricane. Elsa also made history as the earliest fifth named storm on record. Three of the five storms (Claudette, Danny, and Elsa) made landfall in the U.S. One of the reasons forecasters think it will be another busy year is the possible return of La Nina in the fall. La Nina typically translates into above-average activity in the Atlantic. NOAA issued a La Nina watch last month and said there is a greater than 50 percent chance it will materialize later this fall. Other indicators of what could be a busy season are warmer sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic (though not as warm as during last year’s record-breaking season), reduced wind shear (which can tear storms apart) and a more active monsoon season in west Africa, which can send more disturbances spinning into the eastern Atlantic that can eventually intensify into tropical storms. The hurricne forecast shows how busy forecasters think the season can be, but what it can’t do is predict if or where storms will make landfall. “The seasonal outlook from NOAA is not a landfall forecast as landfalls are typically only predictable within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline,” NOAA said. Forecasters continued to warn those along the coast that it only takes one storm to make it a devastating season for them and to make sure they have all their preparations in place. The Atlantic is showing indications things could get busier soon. The National Hurricane Center on Wednesday was tracking three tropical waves, two of which have low chances of becoming tropical depressions. None of those systems is an immediate threat to the U.S. The Atlantic hurricane season runs until Nov. 30.
          Read more » click here

          Atlantic hurricane season is about to ramp up dramatically, as NOAA boosts forecast
          The Atlantic has been quiet lately. That’s about to change. NOAA is calling for 15 to 21 named storms this season.
          After a record start to Atlantic hurricane season in May and June, tropical storminess shut down in mid-July. But signs point to a dramatic ramp-up in activity in the next two weeks, with a number of named storms likely to develop in August and an increasing potential for U.S. impacts. Already, meteorologists are monitoring three tropical waves over the Atlantic that are exhibiting some low-end potential for development. But they may just mark the start of what looks to be a jam-packed peak season ahead. On Wednesday morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their latest hurricane outlook calling for even greater odds of an above-average season, which runs through November. That would make 2021 the sixth consecutive year to feature above-average tropical storm activity. “NOAA’s updated outlook … indicates an above average season is likely,” said Matthew Rosencrans, a meteorologist at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a news conference Wednesday. “The number of named storms is likely to be 15 to 21, [which includes] seven to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.” That’s an increase from its May prediction for 13 to 20 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes; its forecast for the number of major hurricanes was unchanged. In recent weeks, the Atlantic has been virtually silent, without any named systems present anywhere in the ocean basin since the dissipation of Elsa on July 9. Elsa brought heavy rain and tornadoes to parts of the East Coast. “Given an increase in predicted number of named storms and hurricanes, there is now a 65 percent chance of an above-average season … and only a 10 percent chance of a below-average season,” Rosencrans said. Driving the predictions are a number of factors that take into consideration large-scale features of both the atmosphere and ocean. In the short term, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring three disturbances that it says has low chances, 30 percent or less, to develop. The three systems point to the awakening of the Atlantic’s MDR, or Main Development Region. This imaginary box stretches through roughly the eastern two-thirds of the tropical North Atlantic several degrees north of the equator and encompasses the more classic formation locations for tropical systems that compose the bulk of long-track, long-lived Atlantic hurricanes. At present, hurricanes are hard to come by because of widespread sinking air over the Atlantic. That has suppressed upward motion and inhibited updrafts, preventing the type of clustered thunderstorm activity that occasionally self-aggregates into a fledgling storm. Moreover, intrusions of the SAL, or Saharan Air Layer, draped a layer of hot, dry air over much of the eastern Atlantic, capping the vertical development of thunderstorms in the MDR. That all looks to change in the coming weeks thanks to the combined effects of several large-scale overturning circulations that will bring lift, or foster rising air, over the Atlantic. The Madden-Julian Oscillation, or MJO, can be envisioned as a large wave that sweeps around the global tropics every 30 to 60 days. Air rises on the leading edge of the waves, which is characterized by a packet of unsettled weather and widespread thunderstorm activity, while sinking air on the back side marks the “suppressed phase” of the wave. Similar, albeit smaller, features known as “convectively coupled Kelvin waves” will periodically overlap with the MJO to bring occasional enhancements or temporary lulls in the season. It’s ordinarily possible to predict these sub seasonal upticks about a month in advance before a swarm of storms brew. All indications are that beginning around Aug. 10 to 14, the Atlantic will awaken. Later in the month, the tropics could become quite busy as rising motion really takes hold of the Atlantic Basin. It’s a time of year when hurricane activity generally ramps up anyway, so there’s every reason to believe that the latter two weeks of August and the start of September will be busy. Moreover, the Atlantic has warmed significantly in the past couple of weeks. Previously, waters off the Gulf of Mexico coastline were running about a degree or two below average. Now the entire gulf is a degree or two above average. That bolsters the odds of tropical cyclones, which feed off warm water, rapidly intensifying assuming they enter the gulf. Ocean waters over the open Atlantic have also experienced a warming trend across the tropical belt, save for immediately surrounding the Cabo Verde islands. Rosencrans did note that sea surface temperatures, while anomalously warm, are not as hot as in 2020, meaning the season, though anticipated to be active, is not expected to rival the hyperactivity of 2020. In addition, some semblance of a La Niña pattern — the opposite of the more well-known El Niño — could begin to develop as we head deeper into the autumn. That would mean cooler waters over the east equatorial Pacific, fostering sinking there. That would trigger an opposite reaction over the Atlantic, reinforcing rising motion and, in turn, favoring hurricanes. (That can also sometimes weaken high altitude winds over the Atlantic, making it easier for storms to form.) If La Niña does develop, it could extend the end of hurricane season later, potentially keeping activity going into November. Upper-level steering currents could be more supportive of hurricanes affecting the East Coast this year, too, thanks to a swath of blocking high pressure that may become established over the Canadian Maritimes later in August and into September. It’s important to remember that, even though forecasts like this are generally reliable across the entire Atlantic, hurricane season’s impacts are manifest on an individual storm level. In other words, it only takes one storm. Hurricane Andrew formed in 1992, and put an end to what, until that point, had been a cakewalk of an early season. The Category 5 storm leveled entire communities in south Florida. Preparing ahead of time, rather than scrambling when a storm develops and warnings are issued, is the best way to make sure you’re ready for whatever this hurricane season holds.
          Read more » click here

          Atlantic hurricane season maintaining prolific pace
          The active Atlantic produced two more named systems over the weekend, and meteorologists say more storms could develop this week, including one storm that may come back from the dead.
          The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is maintaining a prolific pace, and AccuWeather forecasters say it could be the second straight year that a supplemental list of storm names is utilized. With 17 named storms in the books already, only four storm names remain on the designated list for the season, which still has more than two months to go. Given the frenzy of activity, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is not far off from tapping into a  new supplemental list of names predetermined by the World Meteorological Organization this past spring. These names will be given to named storms rather than using Greek letters beyond the original list of names as was the case in the hyperactive years of 2020 and 2005.
          Read more » click here


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