05 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Budget Workshop 04/23/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here NA

Audio Recording » click here


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

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

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


Holden Beach revisits budget fashioning for wake of COVID-19
“It’s really putting a budget together that’s not going to look much different from last year’s and let’s just see what the numbers show. That’s what it looks like. There’s not many things to take out at this point,” Commissioner Pat Kwiatkowski concluded at the end of the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners special meeting, held on Thursday, April 23. The special meeting was held in regards to the town’s budget workshop. With the current state of affairs, due to coronavirus, Holden Beach has lost six weeks of budget processing time and is facing financial strains. Town Manager David Hewett served alongside the board in his position as Finance Director, guiding them in budgetary action for the approaching fiscal year. Hewett said the town needed to adopt a budget ordinance no later than July 1. Hewett is required to render a budget request to the commissioners no later than June 1 and department heads must submit their revenue projections no later than the end of April. While the board presented goals and objectives prior to the spring season, COVID-19 has created chaos. “By the mere fact that COVID has arrived, many of those objectives have been overcome by that happening,” Hewett said. Hewett fears the tourism revenue will be affected. Waiting for reopening of schools and retails has caused the budget team to play the game of “what ifs” in moving the spreadsheet around. As a result, Hewett advised the board that they would need to make up for the shortfalls of the spread balance.
Read more » click here


Budget Timeline

    • May      Budget Message
    • June      Public Hearing
    • June      Regular BOC’s Meeting Adopt Budget
    • June      Budget adopted no later than July 1st

Local governments must balance their budget by a combination of the following:

      1. Raising taxes
      2. Cutting spending
      3. Operating more efficiently

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.


BOC’s Special Meeting 04/30/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here NA

Audio Recording » click here


1. Review and Evaluate Status of emergency Operations of the Town – Mayor Holden                    

The Declaration of State of Emergency has been amended again. The Town will immediately open both the public parking and the public accesses to its beach. There are no restrictions of activities on the beach currently in place. The Town will also allow rentals starting on May 8th, the same day the state could enter into phase one of their reopening plan.


North Carolina gets an F in social distancing, data show.
These counties are the worst

North Carolina received a failing grade in social distancing, a study found. The study, done by Unacast, gives each state and the country a grade of A through F, which is updated daily based on three different metrics of social distancing analyzed using location data. North Carolina was one of the nine states to get an F grade on Wednesday. Social distancing has been cited as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19, with experts urging people to stay at least 6 feet apart when out in public. North Carolina residents have been under a stay-at-home order since late March; some businesses have been ordered to close; and other measures to enforce social distancing have been implemented. As of Wednesday afternoon, the state had more than 10,000 confirmed cases and 379 deaths, according to The News & Observer’s count, which includes data from state and county health departments. But North Carolinians still haven’t been practicing social distancing like they should, the study suggests. The three factors analyzed in the study were reduction in average mobility, reduction in non-essential visits and decrease in human encounters. The state saw a 25 to 40% reduction in average mobility, earning it a D grade. It had less than 55% reduction in non-essential visits and a less than 40% decrease in encounters, earning F’s in both categories. Some counties in the state fared better than others. None got an A, but five received a B or B-. Tyrrell County came out on top, the study found. The county is the least populous in the state as of the most recent census data and has only reported four cases of the coronavirus. Other counties that got a B or B- were Camden, Warren, Hyde and Gates counties. All are among the lesser-populated, more rural counties in the state and all had less than 10 reported cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Of the state’s 100 counties, 39 received an F. They include: Guilford, Burke, Wilson, Alexander, Gaston, Iredell, Henderson, Buncombe, Wilkes, Rowan, Cumberland, Onslow, Pasquotank, Forsyth, Cabarrus, Union, Johnston, Catawba, Alamance, Wayne, Nash, Caldwell, Haywood, Brunswick, Lincoln, Richmond, McDowell, Davie, Rutherford, Randolph, Surry, Cleveland, Scotland, Stanly, Lee, Davidson, Harnett, Lenoir and Rockingham. The list includes a mix of more populated and rural counties in the state, but many, including Guilford, Buncombe, Forsyth and Cumberland, are among the states most populated. Rockingham County, which ranked last, has a population of about 91,000 per census data. The county had 25 reported cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, which is 2.75 per 10,000. The counties that ranked in the bottom five, Lee, Davidson, Harnett, Lenoir and Rockingham, all have more than 100 reported COVID-19 cases, with the exception of Lenoir, which has 60. The state’s two most populated counties, Mecklenburg and Wake both received a D. Measuring social distancing isn’t necessarily one size fits all, as the baseline in rural areas is much lower than in heavily populated areas, the study says. So, researchers incorporated the human encounters metric to grade by absolute values instead of change. “What matters is how many people were in the same place at the same time, regardless of how much it changed from the past,” the study says. Most of the states that received an F grade were concentrated in the Southeast. Georgia came out on the bottom, behind South Carolina and North Carolina. Nevada received the best grade, a B-. Overall, the country scored a D.
Read more » click here


State of Emergency – Timeline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The situation is serious; take it seriously!


BOC’s Regular Meeting 05/19/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion and Possible Action on Generator for Town Hall –
Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
Informal pricing for procurement of a replacement Town hall generator has been obtained from three power production firms. They are Gregory Poole, James River and Western Branch. Categorical costs by vendor for equipment, installation, warranties, and maintenance programs are included in the decision selection matrix at Atch 1.

Subject to Board discussion an appropriate motion would be:
“Approve purchase of generator per (VENDOR NAME) proposal with additional warranty of (TO BE DETERMINED) years/conditions in addition to the specialty maintenance services for Load Bank testing, fuel polishing and the automatic transfer switch as may be appropriate.”

Regardless of which genset configuration is selected there is no requirement for any budgetary action in this current Fiscal Year since adequate funding has already been appropriated; however, due the long lead time for procurement and the lateness in the fiscal year of potential vendor selection the BOC will have to reappropriate  funds in the upcoming budget to comply with the Fiscal Control Act.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Town Manager Hewett presented the three options.

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

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

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

No decision was made – No action taken

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

Previously reported – April 2020

Supplemental Agenda Packet » click here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Takeaways:

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

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

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

No decision was made – No action taken


2. Discussion and Possible Scheduling of a Date to Hold a Public Hearing on the Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 – Town Clerk Finnell

 Agenda Packet –
The Board is required to hold a public hearing prior to adopting  the budget.
Staff recommends  the Board schedule the public hearing to be held on June  16th at 7:00 p.m.

A Budget Workshop was scheduled for Thursday, May 28th
Public Hearing is scheduled at the beginning of the BOC’s June Regular Meeting
Because of pandemic restrictions they cannot enact the budget for at least twenty-four (24) hours after Public Hearing

 A decision was made – Approved unanimously


3. Police Report 

Police Patch
It’s the beginning of the busy season on Holden Beach
Memorial Day is the official kickoff for the 100 fun days of summer


Public Safety Announcement

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


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


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


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


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


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


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



Police Department Staffing
.

Previously reported – March 2020
Classification and Pay Plan – implemented
Management and Personnel Services Group

Option 1 –
Employee salaries are placed in the range to meet the following criteria:

    • At least to the new hiring rate for the recommended salary grade for employees who have not completed probation
    • At least to the minimum of the range for employees who have passed probation
    • 1% per year of service above the minimum for employees who have been employed more than 1 year

The Pay Plan ostensibly was supposed to make compensation competitive and address inequities. MAPS claimed that making our compensation competitive was supposed to help with employee retention. Yet our most at-risk employees leaving are our Police Officers who can pretty much get a job almost anywhere else in Brunswick County for more money. None of the officers are getting paid adequately based on the criteria set in Option 1.

Two of the three officers below the hiring rate / minimum
have already tendered their resignations

Current budget covers only eight (8) officers which are really not adequate to meet our needs. Most homeowners are under the misconception that we have two police officers on duty at all times; in order to provide that level of service we would need thirteen (13) officers. In addition, when we benchmark off of the surrounding beach communities, we are grossly understaffed particularly during tourist season. The Police in order to be effective need to have high visibility with an increased presence, especially during prime tourist season, to enforce ordinances and to ensure the public safety.

Let’s see The Town of Holden Beach has 575 permanent residents and employs eight (8) full-time officers and zero (0) part time officers. By contrast, The Town of Ocean Isle Beach has 554 permanent residents and employs thirteen (13) full-time officers and ten (10) to fifteen (15) part-time officers during the season on beach patrol.

Which police force do you think is able to provide a safe,
friendly environment for everyone?

Update –
While the police department currently has eight (8) officers it’s a temporary situation

    • officer has tendered their resignation leaving before prime tourist season
    • officer temporarily reinstated leaving some time during tourist season
    • officer on administrative duty and will be leaving for medical reasons

So that brings us down to five (5) officers not even taking into account any unforeseen events like accidents or sickness.

This is a dangerous situation for all parties – officer, residents, and tourists


  • 4. Town Manager’s Report

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

Personnel
Edwin Roman one of our police officers has tendered his resignation
.      * resignation
effective date is the end of June

Sewer Lift Station #3
Progress meeting scheduled for next week

Roadway Work
Highland Paving was awarded the $112,500 contract for the BAW project
Paving work has been completed  

LWF Inlet Navigation Maintenance Project
Inlet crossing maintenance project dredging sidecaster operations were completed
Hopper dredging status is unknown at this time

FEMA /  COVID-19
Submitted overtime and equipment Cat B reimbursement request for $20,000 
Previously submitted supplies and materials reimbursement request for $42,000

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

Dorian
Federal declaration was made for Hurricane Dorian that includes coastal communities in Brunswick County.
Town has estimated approximately $14.9mm for Cat G FEMA reimbursements. We are awaiting approval of the Project Worksheet.

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

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

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

Update –
Working on requirements for archeological survey
Plan to submit permit sometime in June

Special Obligation Bond Legislation
Previously reported – April 2020
Enabling legislation has been inadvertently removed
Efforts are being made to reinstitute that capability
We both want and need it, this is important to us

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

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

Update –
Legislative error is in the process of being corrected

Annual Beach Survey Monitoring
East Coast Engineering survey has been completed
ATM will be working on the analytics and present report this fall

Tropical Storm Arthur
The tropical storm had minimal impact to the beach strand

Concerts
Based on guidelines for gatherings, the first two concerts of the season have been rescheduled for a TBD date later in the season. Any additional schedule changes will be communicated at a later time.  

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

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

      • Permitted primary disaster debris management area
      • Public Works lay down yard
      • Dog Park
  • Must maintain compliance with environmental permit and monitoring
    Safety is the priority for this site, at present it is not ready for use
  • .
    Update –
    Site is continuing to drain and dry out, vegetation is growing on the berm
    Spoil area is still not ready for use yet


    In Case You Missed It –

    Pets on the Beach

    Pets are not allowed on the beach from May 20th to September 10th, except between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. daily.

    Waste Industries Service
    Solid Waste Pick-up Schedulestarting May 23rd  twice a week
    Recycling – starting May 26th weekly pick-up

    Port-a- Johns
    The Town budgeted money from the BPART account to cover the costs of seasonal (100 days of summer) public restroom facilities and services. We will have four handicap accessible units strategically placed at three locations on the island.

    They are located as follows:

    • Two are at the far east end
    • One is at sewer lift station by Greensboro
    • One is at sewer lift station just before the 800 block


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

    BEMC
    Previously reported – December 2019
    They notified us of a rate hike, scheduled with effective date of April 1, 2020
    This is the first-rate hike in ten (10) years
    It will impact our budget, primarily sewer utility bills
    This will need to be addressed during the budget process
    Due to pandemic this has been postponed to June 1, 2020

    Holden Beach home destroyed in fire
    Multiple fire departments and police responded to the call at 1018 Ocean Boulevard West  shortly before noon on Monday, May 11. One home was completely destroyed and the homes on each side of it were also damaged by the fire. There were also some small grass fires nearby from the ashes and embers. According to Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon, the house was not occupied at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation but hasn’t been determined yet.


5. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute

Executive Session Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(A)(6) to Discuss Qualifications, Competence, Performance of a Public Officer or Employee – Commissioner Tyner

Executive Session Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(A)(5) To Establish or Instruct the Staff or Agent Concerning the Negotiation of the Price or Terms of a Contract Concerning the Acquisition of Real Property – Commissioner Tyner

No decision was made – No action taken


General Comments –

Due to the Town of Holden Beach’s State of Emergency Restrictions and Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Order, in person public attendance is prohibited. The meeting will be livestreamed on the Town’s Facebook page. Visit https://www.facebook.com/holdenbeachtownhall/ to watch the livestream.


Loose Ends (17)

        • Development Fees                                                                   June 2018      
        • Waste Ordinance Enforcement Policy                                January 2019
        • Fee Based Rollout of Containers                                          January 2019
        • Commercial District                                                              February 2019
        • Land Use Plan                                                                        October 2019             
        • Parking                                                                                    October 2019             
        • Mega-Houses / Zoning                                                          October 2019 
        • Audit Remedial Policies & Procedures                               November 2019         
        • Dog Park                                                                                  January 2020
        • 796 OBW                                                                                  January 2020
        • Rules of Procedure                                                                February 2020
        • Speed Limit                                                                             February 2020
        • IBPD – Dune Protection Game Plan                                    February 2020          
        • Staggered Terms                                                                    March 2020    
        • BOC’s Objectives                                                                    March 2020
        • Beach Patrol                                                                           April 2020
        • VRBO Action Plans                                                                April 2020
                                    


Well I am just mortified that our website worked intermittently on the day we sent e-mail saying,  “This month’s edition of Lou’s Views newsletter is available now!”. Please accept my humble apology for any inconvenience that this may have caused you. Just so you know, you can go to the website https://lousviews.com/ whenever you want, e-mail is simply a reminder that we have updated the monthly posts.


.
BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, June 16th

 


Hurricane #1 - CR

 

Hurricane Season
For more information » click here

Be prepared – have a plan!

.

.

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


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


Do you enjoy this newsletter?
Then please forward it to a friend!


Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

.          • Gather and disseminate information
.          • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

.          • Act as a watchdog
.          • Grass roots monthly newsletter since 2008

https://lousviews.com/

 

05 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / May Edition


Calendar of Events –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


Events
TDA - logo
Discover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here


Calendar of Events Island –

All programs are temporarily on hold


Parks & Recreation / Programs & Events
For more information » click here


Reminders –



Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties

Waste Industries – trash can requirements
Ordinance 07-13, Section 50.10


Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
* One extra trash can per every two bedrooms

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


Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule
Waste Industries change in service, trash pickup will be twice a week. Starting the Saturday before Memorial Day through the Saturday after Labor Day: Pick-up is every Tuesday and Saturday from May 23rd through September 5th

 

Please note:
. • Trash carts must be at the street by 6:00 a.m. on the pickup day
. • BAG the trash before putting it in the cart
. • Carts will be rolled back to the front of the house


Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting May 23rd twice a week

Recyclingstarting May 26th weekly pick-up


Waste Management Wants Consumers to Pay More as It Moves More Trash
Working from home, Americans produce more household waste, resulting in higher costs for trash haulers
Read more » click here


Yard Waste Service
Yard debris pickup will be provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of March, April and May. Please have yard waste placed at the street for pick-up on Thursday night.

Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length of five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. A total of ten (10) items (bundles of brush/ limbs, bags) will be picked up by Waste Industries. Yard waste must be placed at the street for pick-up. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.

Yard debris collection last pickup is on Friday, May 22nd


Vehicle Decals
The 2020 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

The decals are your passes to get back onto the island to check your property in the event that an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the driver side lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle.

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 the Town website to find out more information regarding decals and emergency situations.


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 point.



Pets on the Beach Strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / 90.20
From May 20th through September 10th it is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand during the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm.

 


. .

A Second Helping
Program to collect food Saturday mornings (7:00am to 12:00pm) during the summer at the Beach Mart on the Causeway.

.


.
1) Sixteenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3)
Collections will begin on June 6th  and run through September 12th
. 4) Food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County
For more information » click here

Hunger exists everywhere in this country; join them in the fight to help end hunger in Brunswick County. Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

Mail Donations to:
A Second Helping % Douglas Cottrell
2939 Alan Trail
Supply, NC 28462

Website:
http://www.secondhelping.us/



Bird Nesting Area

NC Wildlife Commission has posted signs that say –
Bird Nesting Area / Please don’t disturb
The signs are posted on the west end beach strand


People and dogs are supposed to stay out of the area from April through November

. 1) It’s a Plover nesting area
. 2) Allows migrating birds a place to land and rest without being disturbed


Mosquito Control
Current EPA protocol is that spraying is complaint driven
The Town is unable to just spray as they had in the past
. 1)
Complaint based
. 2)
Citizen request
. 3)
Proactively monitor hot spots

They recommend that you get rid of any standing water on your property that you can
Urged everyone to call Town Hall if they have mosquito issues so that they can spray

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!


Building Numbers
Ocean front homes are required to have house numbers visible from the beach strand.
Please call Planning and Inspections Department at 910.842.6080 with any questions.

§157.087 BUILDING NUMBERS.

(A) The correct street number shall be clearly visible from the street on all buildings. Numbers shall be block letters, not script, and of a color clearly in contrast with that of the building and shall be a minimum of six inches in height.

(B) Beach front buildings will also have clearly visible house numbers from the strand side meeting the above criteria on size, contrast, etc. Placement shall be on vertical column supporting deck(s) or deck roof on the primary structure. For buildings with a setback of over 300 feet from the first dune line, a vertical post shall be erected aside the walkway with house numbers affixed. In all cases the numbers must be clearly visible from the strand. Other placements may be acceptable with approval of the Building Inspector.



BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, June 16th
.


News from Town of Holden Beach
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here


Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to heather@hbtownhall.com.


Recycling-Bin
Curbside Recycling

Waste Industries is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $93.29 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here

 

Recycling renewal form was sent, you should have gotten e-mail letter already


Elevator - CRElevators
Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.


Library
If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.



Neighborhood Watch –

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


Upon Further Review –


Murder Investigation

Previously reported – May 2019
Modern technology meets old school: How law enforcement investigated the suspected Holden Beach murderer
The tiny beach town of Holden was rocked when 71-year-old Judy Brock was murdered, allegedly by her husband. Find out how authorities made their case using data stored by cell phone and internet companies.

Modern communications technology paired with old-fashioned interview tactics are helping at least nine agencies build a strong case against Phillip Brock, a 71-year-old indicted last week for the first-degree murder of his wife. From the day Brock first reported his wife missing until the first week of April, 15 search warrants have been issued. Some search warrants are what one might expect in a murder investigation: a property search, DNA and cheek swab collection, or bank transaction tracking. But others, like those with a 48-hour return directive — effectively a legal rush-order — to out-of-state companies including Yahoo!, Google, Inc. and Verizon Wireless, show how law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of ubiquitous data collection practices that are more often used to sell targeted advertising. Traditional investigative techniques, like noticing inconsistencies in an interview, opened up suspicion against Phillip Brock. Brock called 911 to report his wife missing at 3:16 p.m. on March 15. Fine-tuned location data — sourced from a cell phone — could further reveal Brock’s precise movement that day — information that could remove any doubt about his involvement in Judy Brock’s murder. And communication records, which were examined alongside cellphone use, could help the prosecution clear up any suspicion about Rhen Wise, Brock’s alleged mistress, and the extent — if any — of her involvement in the murder; initial communication records show Wise continued to communicate with Brock after his wife’s murder for five days, until his arrest on March 20. Warrants cite the pervasive nature of cell phone use as part of their usefulness in tracking behavior. Cell phones “generally geographically mirror their user’s pattern of movement over time,” multiple warrants in the Brock case state.

Suspicion
The investigation began as a missing person case. After Brock reported his wife missing, officers conducted an initial search of his waterfront Holden Beach home. No signs of forced entry were present. Initial forensics conducted on Judy Brock’s cell phone — which was left at the residence — showed her husband texted her at 8:02 and 8:03 a.m., with no response. He told investigators he left home that morning at 5:45 a.m. and that his wife was still sleeping. Forensics conducted on Brock’s phone showed data before and during March 15 had been deleted. According to the search warrant to Google Inc., issued on March 18, deleting communication records to conceal them from law enforcement can show “consciousness of guilt,” information that can help prosecutors frame motive and intent to commit a crime. Information Google Inc. provides — which according to the warrant is likely to be stored both inside and outside the U.S. — “may tend to identify potential witnesses and/or suspects” in a “chronological and geographic context.” These initial forensics also showed Google searches from two weeks prior for escort services near South Carolina. This information served as probable cause to serve the first two search warrants on March 18: the first to Verizon Wireless and the second to Google Inc. At this point in the case, Judy Brock’s disappearance was being investigated as an “endangered missing person suspected by foul play.” Investigators believed Judy Brock could still be alive. After issuing the first search warrant to Verizon Wireless on the afternoon of March 18, Major Laurie Watson with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office re-faxed it twice the next morning, at 7:03 a.m. and at 8:51 a.m. with the urgent message: “I am requesting [range to tower records] as soon as possible in hopes of finding her alive.” According to the law firm Yavitch & Palmer, Verizon Wireless stores range-to-tower records, or RTT data. RTT data helps narrow down the distance from a device to a cell tower (or multiple cell towers) at the time of receiving or placing a call or text message. This type of data can track a device’s precise measurement to about one-tenth of a mile. But it’s only maintained by carriers for less than two weeks. Major Watson also requested the location of each of Verizon’s cell sites (equipment including antennas that transmit signals) and towers (the structures sites are attached to), including the horizontal beam widths and orientations of the cell sites.

Locking down location
It wasn’t until officers searched the Brocks’ Holden Beach property on Greensboro Street that they discovered data tying Phillip Brock to the crime. The property was searched on March 20, the warrant shows, which included a search of vehicles at the scene. Forensics from showed Brock’s 2018 Ford 150 revealed recent GPS locations in Sampson County — a location Brock told investigators he had not been to in months. The locations tied Brock to Wright Bridge Road – a 3.5-mile road that cuts around several acres of woods off U.S. 701 in Sampson County. Later that day, multiple law enforcement agencies found Judy Brock’s body in the same location, after discovering tire tracks and freshly disturbed ground off Wright Bridge Road. Phillip Brock was arrested at 5:30 p.m. following the discovery.

Ongoing investigation, expanded focus
New search warrants show the focus has expanded to Brock’s suspected mistress, who continued to communicate with him for at least five days after Judy Brock’s suspected time of death. Bank records revealed a financial relationship between Brock and Wise, in which Brock paid Wise’s phone bill, provided her with credit cards, and gave her funds and covered other expenses. The two also met in several hotels since 2018, according to an April 4 warrant for Wise’s Yahoo! records tied to her email account. Holden Beach Police Department, which still is handling the case according to a Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, did not respond to multiple inquiries. It’s not clear whether Wise is a suspect — as of April 29, Wise has not been arrested by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. It appears that, from an investigative side, the state has more than what it needs; after a review of Brock’s court file Wednesday, no new search warrants have been issued since April 4. On April 15, a grand jury returned a bill of indictment after hearing evidence presented by Watson and Detective John Duncan of the Holden Beach Police Department. Brock’s murder marks the first for the small beach town, home to less than 1,000 residents.
Read more » click here

Update –
Holden Beach man accused of killing wife to stand trial Nov. 16
The husband of Judy Brown Brock, who was murdered more than a year ago, is set to go to trial on a first-degree murder charge Monday, Nov. 16. Phillip Harry Brock, 72, was charged with murder in March 2019 and has been incarcerated at the Brunswick County Detention Facility since his arrest. Brock was indicted on a first-degree murder charge April 15, 2019, said assistant district attorney Glenn Emery, the lead prosecutor on the case. If Phillip Brock is convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, Emery said. Brunswick County Detention Facility records show Phillip Brock was booked into the jail at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2019, on a first-degree murder charge on no bail. The Holden Beach Police Department was the arresting agency. According to a Holden Beach Police Department news release, law enforcement agencies found Judy Brown Brock’s body in a wooded area in Sampson County on March 20, 2019.A Silver Alert was issued for her the previous Saturday by the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Ocean Isle Beach police, the North Carolina DMV License and Theft Bureau, Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department, Brunswick County Search and Rescue, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Garland Fire Department and District Attorney Jon David assisted in the investigation, which is ongoing. Brock made his first court appearance at the Brunswick County Courthouse the morning after his arrest. District Court Judge Scott Ussery assigned Brock attorney Teresa Gibson of Shallotte as Brock’s provisional lawyer and denied Brock bail at the request of Assistant District Attorney Glenn Emery. Oak Island-based lawyer Ed Geddings is now representing Phillip Brock on the first-degree murder charge. Emery told Ussery in court in March 2019 that it appears Brock put out the Silver Alert for his wife to cover up his tracks, and law enforcement learned she had no cognitive impairments. Emery said Brock then turned off the GPS in his phone and attempted to turn off the GPS in his 2018 Ford F-150 but was unsuccessful, leading law enforcement to track his vehicle to Sampson County where his wife’s body was discovered.
Read more » click here


Dog Park
The dog park will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Town needed to use the land at the dog park to place material from the canal dredging project as the dredge spoils area. It is unknown when it will be returned to a useable state as a dog park again. They are currently looking at other options for a dog park on the island.

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

Intent is to reestablish pre-dredge capabilities which in order of priority are as follows:
.   1.
Permitted primary disaster debris management area
.   2.
Public Works lay down yard
  3.
Dog Park

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


Four people spoke during the Public Comments session at the January BOC’s meeting, all in favor of creating a new Dog Park area. The park was utilized by people daily. We no longer have anywhere on the island to walk a dog safely. The nearest dog park for off leash activity is in Shallotte. I think we should make every effort to provide an area for dogs on the island. My recommendation is to utilize existing town property. The Town actually owns quite a bit of property. For instance, we have two parcels between BAW and OBW, across from Marker Fifty-Five, that were platted as streets but never put in; between High Point Street and Neptune Drive. We had previously discussed the possibility of creating parking areas out of them, one of them could be made into a dog park. Parking should be on the BAW side of the park, so it doesn’t get taken over by guests going to the beach. The designated area would be an additional recreational opportunity as well as an option for having dogs off their leashes instead of in unauthorized areas like the beach strand. As for allocating funds the cost should be paid for by the canal POA’s. You ask: Why? In April of 2014 we established the Dog Park on Town owned property at Scotch Bonnet Drive, at a cost of $19,000 sourced from BPART account. The Canal Dredging Project was mostly paid for from the Water Resources Development Grant of $1,439,922 which we secured in December 2017. According to Town Manager Hewett, “the Canal Dredging Project is paying all costs for the reconstitution of the Scotch Bonnet site to include installation of dog park facilities at that location.” That’s all well and good but meanwhile we do not have a dog park. It is my humble opinion that the right thing to do is for them to pay to create a temporary replacement dog park too.

NRPA Park Pulse: Americans Agree Dog Parks Benefit Local Communities
Local parks and recreation agencies provide dog parks for the areas they serve
Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. With this month’s poll, we look at the possible benefits dog parks bring to their communities.

91% of Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to their communities

Availability of dog parks is especially popular among millennials (94 percent) and Gen Xers (92 percent) followed by baby boomers (89 percent) who agree dog parks provide benefits to communities.

Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

      • 60% Gives dogs a safe space to exercise and roam around freely
      • 48% Allows dogs to socialize with other dogs
      • 36% Allows owners a chance to be physically active with their pet

For more information » click here


Corrections & Amplifications –


Holden Bridge Safety Railing Project

Previously reported – August 2018
Agenda Packet –
Safety Railing for the Holden Beach Bridge
It is the intent of the Department of Transportation to provide a bicycle/pedestrian railing atop the Town’s concrete bridge barrier, as an added safety improvement. They would like feedback from the Town on a preferred option for the safety rail. It seems as though they need an answer sooner than our normal meeting schedule allows.

I don’t think it is the manager’s call on this and feel the Board should review and make the recommendation. Please see the attached pictures and let me know if you have any questions.

Bridge Health Index
NCDOT is committed to measuring and improving its overall performance. One of the department’s goals is to make the state’s infrastructure last longer by setting a target for at least 70 percent of bridges rated to be in good condition or better. Good means that the bridge can safely carry the typical-sized commercial or passenger vehicles for that route. To achieve this goal, the department uses a data-driven strategy to improve the overall condition of all bridges in North Carolina by focusing taxpayer dollars where they’re needed most.

North Carolina Department of Transportation selected Holden Beach bridge as a High Value Bridge. They have allocated funding to make safety improvements and improve the expected life expectancy of the bridge. Work includes adding bicycle / pedestrian railing a safety improvement and also do basic repair to the substructure. NCDOT will pay the entire estimated $1.5 million to $2.0 million cost of the project. Work on the bridge is scheduled to begin in September. The estimated time frame to complete the work is the better part of eighteen months.

Chad Kimes Deputy Division Engineer informed the Board that NCDOT intends to install a bicycle / pedestrian railing on top of the concrete bridge barrier, which does not meet current safety standards, as a safety improvement. He asked the Board for feedback regarding what look did they want. The Board was given the opportunity to choose whether the rails would be vertical or horizontal and also select the color.

The Board chose to have three horizontal railings with an aluminum finish atop the concrete bridge barrier.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

Town Manager David Hewett said the bridge was never intended for bicycle and pedestrian traffic and putting up the railing up may give people the wrong impression. Commissioner Butler agreed with David and voted against the motion essentially saying we were creating an attractive nuisance. David asked whether the funds could be used to pave Ocean Boulevard West. Chad said the monies for resurfacing and for the bridge project are separate, so NO.

Previously reported – December 2018
Bridge Rehabilitation Project
As you may recall a couple of months ago, we presented two bridge railing options at your Commissioners meeting in reference to the Holden Beach bridge rehabilitation project, for your review and consideration. The Town chose the three horizontal rail design as shown in the attachment titled “Holden Rail Retrofit ­ Options 1 and 2.” Upon further consideration, we requested our design consultant provide a third railing option for the bridge rail retrofit, which I have attached, titled “Holden Rail Retrofit – Option 3.” The idea for this option came from the latest Surf City bridge design, which includes a smaller vertical “picket” than the option provided at the council meeting and may provide greater visibility. The support posts in this option are modified slightly as well.

The Town’s prior decision is still a perfectly valid option and it is not our intent to complicate matters with this proposal, we just wanted to extend this option to you, since it is also being extended to Ocean Isle Beach. We are currently under contract with Coastal Gunite Construction to perform the rehab work and will need to provide them with your choice of the 3 options. If you will please review the attachments and provide us with a response by Friday, December 14, 2018, if at all possible, it will be greatly appreciated and can help the project stay on schedule.

The contract has been awarded, NCDOT plan to spend 3.3 million dollars rehabilitating the bridge, part of the High Value Bridge Program, including adding safety railings which brings the wall from 27” to 48” to meet current safety criteria. The project is scheduled to start in January and is expected to take through October of 2019 to complete. The BOC’s selected the new third option which includes two horizontal aluminum bars with thin vertical pickets.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

The Surf City railing shown below is what we are getting minus the top horizontal bar.

Previously reported – February 2019
Planning Director Tim Evans met with the NCDOT to get more information about the project and made the presentation tonight. Most of the Towns concerns about activities being compromised during bridge maintenance project were addressed.

Previously reported – October 2019
The work on the bridge will not be finished until at least March of 2020 due to the decorative guard rail we selected.
Contract was awarded October 29, 2018 with the completion date for the contract to be October 1, 2019

Previously reported – April 2020
Traffic Alert
The contractor for the Department of Transportation is scheduled, weather permitting, to remobilize on Monday, April 27th to begin the rail retrofit work on the Holden Beach Bridge. Work will be conducted 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mondays – Thursdays and 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. Drivers should expect delays due to lane closures during these times and should use caution in the work area.



Bridge Safety Railing Project
Work on the bridge safety railing has been delayed. COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in delayed fabrication and delivery of the rail. Work is scheduled to resume on June 15th.


I am shocked – shocked – that almost no work was done on the bridge safety railing project. Let me get this straight, they are going to do the project at the busiest time of the year on the island.

You can’t make this stuff up! 


Turtle Watch Program


Turtle Watch Program – 2020
. 1) Current nest count – four (4) as of 05/23/20
.   
Average annual number of nests is 39.5
. 2)
First nest of the season was on May 11th

Members of the patrol started riding the beach every morning on May 1 and will do so through October looking for signs of turtle nests.
For more information » click here

It’s Turtle Season on Holden Beach!
It’s official…. the turtle season has started!
Turtle Watch ATV riders are out looking for tracks of the mother turtle each morning.
Turtles usually start laying their eggs on our beach mid to late May.
The first turtle nest was laid on our beach this year on May 11th.
Last year the first nest was on May 9th which was the earliest date ever recorded.
It will take 55-60 days for these eggs to incubate.
They anticipate the first baby turtles on the beach in early July.


Odds & Ends –


Large great white sharks ‘converging’ off Carolinas. Is the weather a cause?
A sudden convergence of great white sharks is taking place off the Carolinas — from Cape Hatteras to Charleston — proving the apex predators are being mysteriously drawn to a tight strip off the coast. Satellite tags reveal seven great whites are within that area, with an eighth hovering at the South Carolina-Georgia border, near Hilton Head. Most (five) are sitting off Southport, near Wilmington.
Read more » click here

Tracking site » click here

Cluster of sharks in one spot off Carolinas coast grows more intense
The clustering of great white sharks off the Carolinas coast is growing more pronounced and mysterious, based on satellite tracking data shared Saturday on social media. Eight tagged great white sharks are now practically on top of each other along the border of North and South Carolina — and they represent the only sharks currently tracking along the East Coast, according to a map posted on Facebook by OCEARCH. Researchers began noticing a convergence of great white sharks off the Carolinas in late January, but the group was more spread out. Now the sharks are exhibiting a clear preference for the same spot off Southport, near Wilmington, the data shows. OCEARCH says the tagged sharks, ranging in size from 8 feet to nearly 13 feet, represent a tiny sampling of what is actually off the coast, meaning waters could be full of great
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Update –
There Are 15 Sharks Swarming The Outer Banks Of North Carolina Right Now
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Sharks of North Carolina
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Shark Attack
The chances of being attacked by a shark are very small compared to other animal attacks, natural disasters, and ocean-side dangers. Many more people drown in the ocean every year than are bitten by sharks. The few attacks that occur every year are an excellent indication that sharks do not feed on humans and that most attacks are simply due to mistaken identity.

Your chances of being attacked by a shark are just 1 in 11.5 million!

What Are the Odds? Long, Most Likely
Not everyone is at risk of a being bitten by a shark. 1 in 11.5 million is the rate of attacks in one year at 68 U.S. beaches and is based on attendance figures at the venues.
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Staying safe at the beach: Rip currents, jellyfish, sharks, and other hazards
A trip to the beach can turn deadly (or painful) due to natural hazards but being aware of risks and mitigating hazards is a good way to prevent problems.
Picture this: warm weather, blue skies, and your toes in the sand — it sounds like a perfect lazy summer day at the beach. Maybe you decide to cool down in the ocean and find yourself bobbing around when suddenly you realize you are a little too far out. As panic sinks in and you start to swim towards dry land you realize your efforts are in vain and your whole body is getting tired, all the while you are drifting further into the Atlantic — you have gotten stuck in a rip current. It’s not the only potential danger in the ocean, though. There are also sharks. And, of course, there are some things on shore that ruin your day at the beach, too, including stepping on jellyfish and, of course, good old-fashioned sunburn.

Rip currents
According to the U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA), 80 percent of all ocean rescues are related to rip currents and annually more than 100 fatalities across the country are due to rip currents. While it is obvious that swimming at a beach with lifeguards is one of the safer options, there are plenty of area beaches that lack lifeguards or maybe ocean rescue season has not started just yet. So, what is the best course of action for surviving a rip current? According to the National Weather Service, there are several things swimmers should keep in mind when dealing with these often-unseen dangers.

  • Relax. Rip currents don’t pull you under.
  • A rip current is a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second — faster than an Olympic swimmer. Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: If in doubt, don’t go out!
  • If at all possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
  • If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone. Take a friend and have that person take a cell phone so he or she can call 911 for help.Sharks
    Sharks are a fear on most every swimmer’s mind, regardless of the actual dangers posed by the large predatory fish. “NOAA states that while shark attacks are rare, they are most likely to occur near shore, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars where sharks can be trapped by low tide, and near steep drop-offs where sharks’ prey gather. While the risks are small, it’s important to be aware of how to avoid an attack,” according to previous reporting.

Suggestions from NOAA for reducing the risk of a shark attack include:

  • Don’t swim too far from shore.
  • Stay in groups – sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.
  • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active.
  • Don’t go in the water if bleeding from a wound – sharks have a very acute sense of smell.
  • Leave the shiny jewelry at home – the reflected light resembles fish scales.
  • Avoid brightly-colored swimwear – sharks see contrast particularly well.Sunburns
    Most everyone has experienced a sunburn at one point in their life and while not often thought as a major concern for many, overexposure to UV light can cause serious long-term problems including skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using at least S.P.F. 15 sunscreen at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Wearing a hat, long sleeves, and other protective clothing is also recommended to keep skin protected.

Jellyfish
Jellyfish and Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the beaches of New Hanover County and surrounding area beaches already this season and the little floating creatures can pack a punch. Often times beachgoers will spot them washed up on shore and other times they can be spotted in the water, but it is best to avoid them when you can. “While all jellyfish sting, not all contain poison that hurts humans. Be careful of jellies that wash up on shore, as some can still sting if tentacles are wet. NOAA recommends that if you are stung by a jellyfish to first seek a lifeguard to give first aid. If no lifeguards are present, wash the wound with vinegar or rubbing alcohol,” NOAA suggests. And what about that … other method of treating stings? Turns out, it’s a myth. In fact, urine can actually aggravate the stinging cells of jellyfish, making things worse. These cells, which detach and stick into the skin of prey, can continue to inject venom. Urine, as well as fresh water, can cause an imbalance to the salt solution surrounding the stinging cells, causing them to continue to fire. According to Scientific American, if you don’t have vinegar or rubbing alcohol, rinsing with salt water may be your best bet.
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This & That


Holden Beach home destroyed in fire
Multiple fire departments and police responded to the call at 1018 Ocean Boulevard West  shortly before noon on Monday, May 11. One home was completely destroyed and the homes on each side of it were also damaged by the fire. There were also some small grass fires nearby from the ashes and embers. According to Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon, the house was not occupied at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation but hasn’t been determined yet.

Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department
MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department is to protect the life and property of our citizens and visitors from fire and other emergencies through incident response, public education, and first response. As a customer driven organization, it is our mission and number one priority to deliver the best possible service to our customers.
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The island station #2 will have full-time staffing beginning May 24th from 7:00am to 7:00pm, during which time roughly 61% of the island calls happen.


Take a deep breath!
Report ranks Wilmington’s air among the cleanest in the country
Not only does Wilmington have breathtaking views, we apparently have breath-worthy air to go along with it. The latter ranking is according to the American Lung Association and its annual State of the Air Report 2020, which was released this week. Wilmington found itself among a list of four cities — including Bangor, ME, Burlington-South Burlington, VT and Urban Honolulu, HI — as the top-ranking cities for clean air. The determination includes ranks for ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution. Each city had zero high ozone days, zero high particle pollution days and have a top 25 ranking for lowest particle levels on a year-round basis. This is a repeat win for Wilmington and the other locales. But what is good in Wilmington is not apparently good elsewhere. The report states almost half of the United States population is breathing unhealthy air and air quality is declining. The study estimates about 150 million people are breathing what is considered dirty air.

You can read the full report from the American Lung Association at this link.
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Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Summer Will Come; Crowds Are Still a Maybe
Hotels and amusement parks brace for a lost high season. Even if they get the go-ahead to open, will people come?

There is little sense whether, even if restrictions are lifted, a general apprehension of crowds or travel will prevail in the wake of the pandemic and how that could hurt seasonal businesses. If the peak summer months are lost, said Mr. Callewaert, who runs his family’s business on Mackinac Island, there is no way to get them back. “You’ll never catch up. Hopefully you’ll live to fight another day, that’s what you have to do,” he said. “You have to be in survival mode right now.”
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Summer tourists want to know: Will East Coast beaches open?
Maybe, but with some changes.

Realtor Michele DeRose had hoped the novel coronavirus pandemic would be subsiding by now so that residents and business owners in this popular beach town along the Jersey Shore could start to prepare for the crush of summer tourists. What’s begun instead, she said, are the phone calls that real estate agents and property owners dread: Some customers are asking for their money back amid signs that this summer could be the first in more than a century that vacationers are not welcomed on some of America’s most storied beaches. “We’re not getting any new requests for rentals right now,” she added. With the travel season less than six weeks away, would-be tourists and entrepreneurs alike are struggling to decipher whether the East Coast’s beach towns will open by Memorial Day — and if they do, how social distancing guidelines implemented to combat the spread of the coronavirus could reshape what is, historically, one of the country’s most communal activities. That’s the challenge confronting elected leaders from North Carolina to Maine, as the pandemic threatens to upend dozens of local economies in ways previously unthinkable, except for perhaps from an early season hit by a major hurricane. Over the past month, as the coronavirus spread, state and local officials banned sunbathing on beaches, shuttered boardwalks and pleaded with taxpaying second-home owners to stay away from their seasonal properties. Police in Dare County on North Carolina’s Outer Banks even blocked roads leading from the mainland to keep tourists away. For now, elected officials in many of these places say it’s still too soon to say when their beach towns may open to visitors as the number of infections and deaths continues to rise, including more than 75,000 coronavirus cases in New Jersey.
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Short-term rental agencies grapple with dashed vacation plans
Vacation rental companies from Wrightsville Beach to Ocean Isle Beach are working to make the best of uncertain coronavirus times

Area beaches may be reopening to guests looking for an escape from their homes, but the biggest lingering question for those who don’t own property on the coast is where they are going to stay. Short-term rentals of vacation homes are still banned at most beaches in Southeastern North Carolina, as part of the continued social restrictions to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. As many places began to relax those restrictions in recent weeks, however, some eager beachgoers became confident the ban would be lifted when New Hanover County’s restrictions expired on April 29. Then leaders of the county’s beach towns extended the ban until May 8, mirroring Gov. Roy Cooper’s own extension of statewide stay-at-home orders. “We had some people call and book for right after April, and they were ready to move in for a short visit this weekend,” said Robert Huckabee, vice president of Sea Scape Properties in Wrightsville Beach. “But because of the new extension, we are going to have to reach out and reschedule those people.” The now more than a month-long ban has put a strain on vacation rental companies across the region, which would, in a normal year, be booking guests into their hundreds of properties nonstop at this point in the spring. “Obviously, our reservations and bookings have completely fallen off and we’ve had to give back a lot of refunds,” Huckabee said. “That is an unfortunate revenue loss for us, but we thought it was the best thing to do for our guests.” One unexpected boost to Sea Scape’s business, Huckabee said, was the University of North Carolina Wilmington announcing its spring commencement would be delayed until Aug. 7-8. That has allowed those families that booked stays for May to start re-booking for the rescheduled ceremonies. It is that kind of solid date that many in the vacation rental community are seeking from their local officials so they can communicate with some certainty to guests uneasy about booking in the coming months. “We have asked for some clear guidance from our town leaders, if they can provide it, because this is all open ended so far,” said Kristen Goode, marketing director with Oak Island Accommodations, which has around 500 rentals in the area. Brunswick County does not have a blanket ban of short-term rentals, but Oak Island continues to uphold its own restriction on all rentals of any kind. “There is just a lot of confusion from our guests who already have reservations on the books for the summer if they can come,” she said. “We, just like our guests, are trying to navigate the uncertainty of when we will be able to open again. We don’t have those answers yet. But I’m hopeful.” Still, even as the restrictions in some areas inch closer to the summer season, other municipalities are dropping theirs. Ocean Isle Beach lifted its ban on short-term rentals Thursday, an announcement that sent guests flocking to make reservations with Sloane Realty Vacations, which operates rentals in Ocean Isle and Sunset beaches. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in calls just in the last day since it was announced,” general manager Whitney Sauls said Wednesday. “There will be some weekend traffic for this coming weekend, but not much. It is mostly for late May and June.”

As these agencies work with guests to issue refunds or reschedule their vacations to more realistic dates in the summer, many are faced with a mixed bag of hesitancy and excitement. “Half of the guests who have reservations are concerned to travel and are being cautious,” Sauls said. “But we also have a lot of people looking forward to practicing social distance at the beach.” When the ban on short-term rentals does come down across the region, Huckabee said he sees regional travel being the main driver of beachgoing for the time being. It doesn’t require getting on a plane and interacting with more people than necessary. “If you’re at a distance like in Charlotte, you can just hop in your car and go,” he said. “That’s who we are seeing the bookings from right now.” These agencies are also reminding people that renting a vacation property versus staying at a hotel is actually a way to continue practicing social distancing while still getting a beach vacation. Goode said more than 400 of Oak Island Accommodations’ properties have keyless entry. “If you are from a drive-to market, you can go straight from your home without seeing anyone,” Goode said. “You don’t even have to see us.” Huckabee said their rentals have keyless entry as well and are cleaned by an in-house cleaning crew to ensure they are sanitary and safe. To make sure guests know the latest on the beaches, Sea Scape has also ramped up its online marketing after an uptick in website traffic with people stuck inside and browsing the options for the escapist vacation they are itching to plan.

In time, the rental industry will still have to grapple with the loss incurred by the coronavirus shutdowns, even if the beaches are reopened and the business is back for the official summer season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. “If you lose any of the business in those weeks, you are going to have to take a hard look at whether or not you can make up those numbers,” Goode said. “It may look like a different summer at the beaches with social distancing, but we are hopeful that those who want to travel and want to stay at our beaches will be able to again soon.”
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Resort Towns Ask: Will There Be Summer?
With Memorial Day weekend approaching, areas that rely on tourists say not reopening would be devastating economically but fear the consequences of opening too soon.

In summer resort towns across the United States, livelihoods for the year are built in the 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is during those 15 weeks that tourists from around the country and the world arrive to bask on the beach and gather for festivals and weddings. And it is during those three months that tour operators, hoteliers, innkeepers, restaurant employees and others earn the bulk of their income.
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Hot Button Issues
Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions


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Climate
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There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear

Global warming pushes April temperatures into record territory, as 2020 heads for disquieting milestone
Last month tied for the warmest April on record for the globe, as 2020 hurtles toward the warmest year milestone. New data, released Tuesday from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, lends further support to the prediction that 2020 will rank among the top two warmest years recorded. In April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, using its own temperature monitoring data,
reported that there is a 75 percent chance that 2020 will become the planet’s warmest year since instrument records began in 1880, and very likely long before that. Human-caused climate change from increasing amounts of planet-warming greenhouse gases is vaulting temperatures higher, making it easier for a given month or year to set a new warmth milestone. Carbon dioxide is the most important long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, released by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil for energy and transportation. Assuming NOAA ranks April as having global average temperatures above the 20th-century average, it would be the 424th straight month to have that distinction. In other words, those who are 35 years old and younger have never experienced a cooler-than-average month on Earth.
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The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules.
Here’s the Full List.
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Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Stronger, Researchers Find
An analysis of satellite imagery from the past four decades suggests that global warming has increased the chances of storms reaching Category 3 or higher.
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The strongest, most dangerous hurricanes are now far more likely because of climate change, study shows
Researchers find, for the first time, a statistically significant global trend, especially in the Atlantic
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Development Fees
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Flood Insurance Program
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National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 20, 2019.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2020.

FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders. Should the NFIP’s authorization lapse, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings per month.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance.

The level of damage from recent catastrophic storms makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP.

Flood insurance – whether purchased from the NFIP or through private carriers – is the best way for homeowners, renters, business, and communities to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods.
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GenX
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Homeowners Insurance
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Hurricane Season

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AccuWeather’s 2020 Atlantic hurricane season forecast is out

About two months from now, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will officially begin, but AccuWeather meteorologists have already been hard at work examining the factors that could influence tropical activity this year. Forecasters are anticipating another busy year for the Atlantic Basin in 2020, on the heels of an active 2019 season. Led by Dan Kottlowksi, AccuWeather’s top hurricane expert, meteorologists this week released a 2020 Atlantic hurricane forecast. Kottlowski’s team is calling for 14-18 tropical storms during this upcoming season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. Of those storms, seven to nine are forecast to become hurricanes, and two to four are predicted to strengthen into major hurricanes. “It’s going to be an above-normal season,” Kottlowski said. “On a normal year, we have around 12 storms, six hurricanes and roughly three major hurricanes.” The 2019 season marked the fourth consecutive year of above-average activity in the basin and was tied with 1969 for the fourth most-active hurricane season on record. Featuring hurricanes Dorian, Lorenzo and Humberto as well as Tropical Storm Imelda, the 2019 season resulted in 18 storms overall and caused more than $11 billion in damage. And there’s reason to believe the 2020 season could be every bit as active. As part of the method for formulating this season’s predictions, forecasters have drawn comparisons to previous years with comparable weather conditions — also known as analog years. This year, AccuWeather meteorologists have looked closely at the years 1980 and 2005.
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CSU forecast for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season: active
Meteorologists with Colorado State University issued their annual Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook Thursday, suggesting 2020 will be an active year for tropical storms and hurricanes across the Atlantic Basin. An average year in the Atlantic Basin features 12 named tropical systems, including 6 hurricanes and 3 major (Cat. 3+) hurricanes. The 2020 CSU forecast for the Atlantic Basin suggests there will be 16 named tropical systems, including 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. Seasonal tropical weather outlooks naturally elicit cynicism from some consumers, but such forecasts have shown some skill over time. CSU says potential contributors to Atlantic tropical cyclone activity include: the expectation of a weak or absent Pacific El Nino and much warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures across portions of the Atlantic Basin, like the Gulf of Mexico. What no seasonal tropical forecast can say with any provable, repeatable skill is what coastlines will be impacted by tropical activity. One might argue that the Bahamian and Southeast U.S. portions of the Atlantic Basin are, at least statistically, due for a break after Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew, Irma, Florence, Michael, and Dorian have ravaged the region since 2015. A break is indeed worth hoping for, but you never know until the actual season arrives and the individual storms develop. The best course, in any year and with any forecast, is vigilance and preparedness. Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1.
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Hurricane amid pandemic: ‘Nightmare scenario’
For coastal communities like Wilmington, the June 1 start of hurricane season couldn’t come at a worse time
Emergency managers run drills on handling multiple catastrophes at once, such as a cyberattack during a tornado or a mass shooting amid a destructive flood. But most disaster plots don’t involve a months-long pandemic sapping resources globally from aid groups and governments while so much of the nation is shut down, self-isolating and unemployed. Yet this is where officials find themselves in the run-up to the 2020 hurricane season, which leading forecasts predict will be the fifth consecutive year of above-normal activity. A forecast released Thursday suggests we could see four major hurricanes develop. The U.S. may still be battling the coronavirus outbreak when hurricane season officially begins June 1, and waves of infections could follow during peak months for storms in late summer and early fall.
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Atlantic Hurricane Season Is Less Than 6 Weeks Away,
But It Has Started Early 5 Straight Years
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is less than six weeks away, but the past five seasons have each gotten off to an early start. Officially, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. That time frame was selected to encompass 97% of all Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes, according to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division.
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Hurricanes Could Be Slowing Down Due to Rising CO2 Levels,
And That’s Not a Good Thing

Scientists are warning that an increase in global warming could significantly slow down hurricanes, potentially leading to more destruction. While slowing down might sound like a good thing, the researchers are talking about the speed hurricanes progress, not wind speed. So, this slow down means more time to carve out a trail of destruction with both wind and rain when they hit land. The stark warning is based on meteorological data collected since 1950, as well as readings taken on more recent storms from the last few years, and forward projections created by computer modelling. Here the scientists are studying the ‘translational’ or forward motion of hurricanes, rather than the eye of the storm wind speeds. Because no matter how fast wind speeds are, the storm can still be slow moving.

For example, in 2019, Hurricane Dorian produced gusts of 295 kilometers (183 miles) miles per hour, but advanced at just a handful of kilometers an hour. That meant more time to batter properties and people, and to ditch more rainfall across a smaller place. If future hurricanes continue to follow the Hurricane Dorian pattern, then they are likely to be just as destructive, or even more so.

The research has been published in Science Advances.
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Atlantic Hurricane Season starts in June, here’s what to expect
The official start to the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1 and it appears that this year has no intention of letting up as forecasters are predicting a higher-than-average number of storms this season.  Each year several different forecasters including
The Weather Company, Colorado State University, and Tropical Storm Risk (based out of the University College London) make their predictions for the upcoming hurricane season. This year, experts all agree that the conditions are right for above-average tropical storms and hurricanes. From 1981 — 2010, the average number of named storms in the Atlantic basin has been 13; last year there was a total of 18 named storms, four of which were category 3 or higher. This year The Weather Company is predicting 18 named storms and Colorado State University and Tropical Storm Risk are calling for 16. “The TSR (Tropical Storm Risk) April forecast update for North Atlantic hurricane activity in 2020 anticipates a season with likely above-norm activity. Based on current and projected climate signals, Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity is forecast to be 25% above the 1950-2019 long-term norm and 5-10% above the recent 2010-2019 10-year norm. The forecast spans the period from 1st June to 30th November 2020 and employs data through to the end of March 2020,” according to TSR. Forecasting is not an exact science and it is important to keep in mind that even just one storm could have a significant impact on homes, property, and lives. The Weather Company also points out that just because they are predicting a higher-than-average season, it does not mean that any of the storms will directly impact the United States. “There is no strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and U.S. landfalls in any given season. One or more of the 18 named storms predicted to develop this season could hit the U.S. or none at all. That’s why residents of the coastal U.S. should prepare each year no matter the forecast,” according to the Weather Company. The predicted active season can be attributed to warmer ocean temperatures as well as weak La Niña conditions. “El Niño/La Niña, the periodic warming/cooling of the equatorial eastern and central Pacific Ocean, can shift weather patterns over a period of months. Its status is always one factor that’s considered in hurricane season forecasting,” according to the Weather Company. The warmer ocean waters also play a role in how active a hurricane season will be, and water in the Atlantic is already heating up. “Much of the Atlantic’s waters are already warmer than average as of mid-April. The Gulf of Mexico is also several degrees above average, given recent heat and the lack of rain over the Southeast. Taken as a whole, Atlantic Basin sea-surface temperatures are currently at record-warm levels, “supporting a big season,” Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist at The Weather Company said.

Hurricane Preparedness Week
Regardless of the prediction, living in a coastal region like the Cape Fear area means residents are at risk of being impacted by a hurricane, and being prepared is key.

This week is Hurricane Preparedness Week and the National Weather Service is offering tips for residents to prepare before any storms are even formed.

Some of these tips include:

  • Know your zone: Do you live near the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts? Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area by contacting your local government/emergency management office or by checking the evacuation site website.
  • Put together an emergency kit: Put together a basic emergency. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and storm shutters.
  • Write or review your family emergency plan: Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Start at the ready.gov emergency plan webpage.
  • Review your insurance policies: Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.
  • Understand NWS forecast products, especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.
  • Preparation tips for your home from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
  • Preparation tips for those with Chronic Illnesses
    Read more
    » click here

Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are becoming stronger, according to a new NOAA study
It is becoming increasingly evident that hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones worldwide are becoming stronger and potentially more deadly as the globe warms due to the climate crisis, according to a new study. The study, released on Monday by researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), looked at nearly 40 years of satellite data of global storms. Researchers found that the probability of storms reaching major hurricane status (category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson scale with winds in excess of 110 mph or higher), increased decade after decade.
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Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Stronger, Researchers Find
An analysis of satellite imagery from the past four decades suggests that global warming has increased the chances of storms reaching Category 3 or higher.
Read more » click here

The strongest, most dangerous hurricanes are now far more likely because of climate change, study shows
Researchers find, for the first time, a statistically significant global trend, especially in the Atlantic
Read more » click here
 

Busy Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2020
Multiple climate factors indicate above-normal activity is most likely
An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.
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Inlet Hazard Areas
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Lockwood Folly Inlet
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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
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Solid Waste Program

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Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
/// December 2019
Name:            Martini          
Cuisine:         Continental
Location:      98 Highway 17 South, N Myrtle Beach SC
Contact:        943.249.1134 /
https://martininmb.com/

Food:              Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:               Inexpensive <=$18 / Moderate <=$24 / Expensive <=$30 / Exorbitant <=$40
Rating:          Two Stars
This popular establishment went through a change of ownership and name in 2013. What was originally Martini’s Restaurant & Piano Bar is now simply just Martini.
A favorite among locals, the restaurant is ranked #4 out of @219 restaurants located in North Myrtle Beach. It was just all right, neither the food nor the service was what one would expect from upscale dining establishments.  Having said that, I have no idea why the rave reviews. Relax while listening to the live entertainment in the piano bar lounge and take advantage of the great deals at Happy Hour, you should check it out if you have not already.


NC restaurants opened their doors again
Restaurants, which previously had only been allowed to offer takeout, can now open their dining rooms at 50% capacity, as long as social distancing and other guidelines are followed. Tables must be spaced out six feet apart, and shared spaces and surfaces must be cleaned constantly.


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
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AMERICAN DIRT
by Jeanine Cummins
The story is about the ordeal of a Mexican woman who had to leave behind her life, after a drug cartel murders the rest of their family, and escape as an undocumented immigrant to the United States with her son. Cummins novel brings to life the ordeal of migrants, who risk everything to try to cross into the U.S., looking for a better life.


.That’s it for this newsletter

See you next month


Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

.          • Gather and disseminate information
.          • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

.          • Act as a watchdog
.          • Grass roots monthly newsletter since 2008

https://lousviews.com/

04 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Emergency Meeting 03/23/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here NA

Audio Recording AM  » click here

Audio Recording PM  » click here


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

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

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

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

Article 1A. / North Carolina Emergency Management Act.

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


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

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

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

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


BOC’s Emergency Meeting 04/07/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here NA

Audio Recording » click here


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

Declaration of State of Emergency » click here

Brunswick County Coronavirus Update » click here


State of Emergency – Timeline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The situation is serious; take it seriously!


BOC’s Regular Meeting 04/21/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Audio Recording
»
click here


1. Quarterly Financial Update – Town Manager Hewett

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

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


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

Supplemental Agenda Packet » click here  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Town Manager Hewett presented the three options.

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

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

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

No decision was made – No action taken

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

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

Takeaways:

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

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


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

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

 Recommend Approval

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


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

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

Recommend Approval

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

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


6. Town Manager’s Report

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

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

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

Audit
Currently underway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

No decision was made – No action taken


  • General Comments –

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


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

 


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HBPOIN – Lou’s Views
.           • Gather and disseminate information
.           • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

.           • Act as a watchdog
.           • Grass roots monthly newsletter since 2008

https://lousviews.com/

04 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / April Edition


Calendar of Events –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled



.Days at the Docks Festival

April 25th
26th
Holden Beach

.

The annual festival occurs in April or May and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season. In addition to the food and arts & crafts, enjoy live music & entertainment, a horseshoe tournament and the world famous “Bopple Race”. Lots of activities for the entire family!
For more information » click here

Days at the Docks Festival has been postponed



Blue Crab Festival

May 16th – 17th
Little River SC

.

This will be the 39th annual world famous Blue Crab Festival. It is held on the waterfront in Little River and is one of the largest festivals in the Southeast. The purpose of this festival is one that supports and showcases the fabulous atmosphere of the local communities.
For more information » click here

Blue Crab Festival has been postponed


Events
TDA - logo
Discover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here


Calendar of Events Island –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled



.
Days at the Docks Festival

The festival occurs in April or May of each year and is sponsored by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. This year it is April 25th & 26th. It’s the Holden Beach way to kick-off the Spring and start the vacation season.

 

Days at the Docks Festival has been postponed


Pickleball Tournament
Holden Beach is hosting their fourth annual Pickleball Tournament. This year the Battle at the Beach tournament is May 1st to May 3rd.

For more information » click here
Register online » click here

Battle at the Beach Pickleball Tournament has been postponed


What is Pickleball you ask?
Pickleball: growing sport for seniors
Pickleball originated in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The ball used is a perforated plastic ball similar to a Whiffle ball. The game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. The net is a couple inches lower than a tennis court net and the court is smaller too (20 feet by 44 feet vs. 36 by 78), and the paddles are oversized ping pong paddles made of plywood, aluminum or graphite. The game can be played with two or four players. Experience in tennis, badminton and ping pong is helpful, as there are similarities with those sports. There already are over 100,000 players in the United States alone. When tennis and badminton players find it difficult to navigate the larger courts, the next step is Pickleball, where there is not as much running required.
Read more » click here


Concerts on the Coast Series / 2020
The Town’s summer concert series calendar has been released! Live performances featuring local musical groups are held at the pavilion on Sunday evenings from late May to early September. The concerts are free of charge.
For more information » click here


Parks & Recreation / Programs & Events
For more information » click here


Reminders –



Yard Waste Service
Yard debris pickup will be provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of March, April and May. Please have yard waste placed at the street for pick-up on Thursday night.

Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length of five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. A total of ten (10) items (bundles of brush/ limbs, bags) will be picked up by Waste Industries. Yard waste must be placed at the street for pick-up. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.

Yard debris pickup is suspended


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2020 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

The decals are your passes to get back onto the island to check your property in the event that an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the driver side lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle.

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 the Town website to find out more information regarding decals and emergency situations.



Bird Nesting Area

NC Wildlife Commission has posted signs that say – Bird Nesting Area / Please don’t disturb. The signs are posted on the west end beach strand around 1331 OBW.


People and dogs are supposed to stay out of the area from April through November

. 1) It’s a Plover nesting area
. 2) Allows migrating birds a place to land and rest without being disturbed


Mosquito Control
Current EPA protocol is that spraying is complaint driven
The Town is unable to just spray as they had in the past
. 1)
Complaint based
. 2)
Citizen request
. 3)
Proactively monitor hot spots

They recommend that you get rid of any standing water on your property that you can
Urged everyone to call Town Hall if they have mosquito issues so that they can spray

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!


Building Numbers
Ocean front homes are required to have house numbers visible from the beach strand.
Please call Planning and Inspections Department at 910.842.6080 with any questions.

§157.087 BUILDING NUMBERS.

(A) The correct street number shall be clearly visible from the street on all buildings. Numbers shall be block letters, not script, and of a color clearly in contrast with that of the building and shall be a minimum of six inches in height.

(B) Beach front buildings will also have clearly visible house numbers from the strand side meeting the above criteria on size, contrast, etc. Placement shall be on vertical column supporting deck(s) or deck roof on the primary structure. For buildings with a setback of over 300 feet from the first dune line, a vertical post shall be erected aside the walkway with house numbers affixed. In all cases the numbers must be clearly visible from the strand. Other placements may be acceptable with approval of the Building Inspector.



BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, May 19th
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News from Town of Holden Beach
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here


Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to heather@hbtownhall.com.


Recycling-Bin
Curbside Recycling

Waste Industries is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $93.29 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here

 

Recycling renewal form was sent, you should have gotten e-mail letter already


Elevator - CRElevators
Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.


Library
If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.



Neighborhood Watch –

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


Upon Further Review –


Murder Investigation

Previously reported – May 2019
Modern technology meets old school: How law enforcement investigated the suspected Holden Beach murderer
The tiny beach town of Holden was rocked when 71-year-old Judy Brock was murdered, allegedly by her husband. Find out how authorities made their case using data stored by cell phone and internet companies.

Modern communications technology paired with old-fashioned interview tactics are helping at least nine agencies build a strong case against Phillip Brock, a 71-year-old indicted last week for the first-degree murder of his wife. From the day Brock first reported his wife missing until the first week of April, 15 search warrants have been issued. Some search warrants are what one might expect in a murder investigation: a property search, DNA and cheek swab collection, or bank transaction tracking. But others, like those with a 48-hour return directive — effectively a legal rush-order — to out-of-state companies including Yahoo!, Google, Inc. and Verizon Wireless, show how law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of ubiquitous data collection practices that are more often used to sell targeted advertising. Traditional investigative techniques, like noticing inconsistencies in an interview, opened up suspicion against Phillip Brock. Brock called 911 to report his wife missing at 3:16 p.m. on March 15. Fine-tuned location data — sourced from a cell phone — could further reveal Brock’s precise movement that day — information that could remove any doubt about his involvement in Judy Brock’s murder. And communication records, which were examined alongside cellphone use, could help the prosecution clear up any suspicion about Rhen Wise, Brock’s alleged mistress, and the extent — if any — of her involvement in the murder; initial communication records show Wise continued to communicate with Brock after his wife’s murder for five days, until his arrest on March 20. Warrants cite the pervasive nature of cell phone use as part of their usefulness in tracking behavior. Cell phones “generally geographically mirror their user’s pattern of movement over time,” multiple warrants in the Brock case state.

Suspicion
The investigation began as a missing person case. After Brock reported his wife missing, officers conducted an initial search of his waterfront Holden Beach home. No signs of forced entry were present. Initial forensics conducted on Judy Brock’s cell phone — which was left at the residence — showed her husband texted her at 8:02 and 8:03 a.m., with no response. He told investigators he left home that morning at 5:45 a.m. and that his wife was still sleeping. Forensics conducted on Brock’s phone showed data before and during March 15 had been deleted. According to the search warrant to Google Inc., issued on March 18, deleting communication records to conceal them from law enforcement can show “consciousness of guilt,” information that can help prosecutors frame motive and intent to commit a crime. Information Google Inc. provides — which according to the warrant is likely to be stored both inside and outside the U.S. — “may tend to identify potential witnesses and/or suspects” in a “chronological and geographic context.” These initial forensics also showed Google searches from two weeks prior for escort services near South Carolina. This information served as probable cause to serve the first two search warrants on March 18: the first to Verizon Wireless and the second to Google Inc. At this point in the case, Judy Brock’s disappearance was being investigated as an “endangered missing person suspected by foul play.” Investigators believed Judy Brock could still be alive. After issuing the first search warrant to Verizon Wireless on the afternoon of March 18, Major Laurie Watson with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office re-faxed it twice the next morning, at 7:03 a.m. and at 8:51 a.m. with the urgent message: “I am requesting [range to tower records] as soon as possible in hopes of finding her alive.” According to the law firm Yavitch & Palmer, Verizon Wireless stores range-to-tower records, or RTT data. RTT data helps narrow down the distance from a device to a cell tower (or multiple cell towers) at the time of receiving or placing a call or text message. This type of data can track a device’s precise measurement to about one-tenth of a mile. But it’s only maintained by carriers for less than two weeks. Major Watson also requested the location of each of Verizon’s cell sites (equipment including antennas that transmit signals) and towers (the structures sites are attached to), including the horizontal beam widths and orientations of the cell sites.

Locking down location
It wasn’t until officers searched the Brocks’ Holden Beach property on Greensboro Street that they discovered data tying Phillip Brock to the crime. The property was searched on March 20, the warrant shows, which included a search of vehicles at the scene. Forensics from showed Brock’s 2018 Ford 150 revealed recent GPS locations in Sampson County — a location Brock told investigators he had not been to in months. The locations tied Brock to Wright Bridge Road – a 3.5-mile road that cuts around several acres of woods off U.S. 701 in Sampson County. Later that day, multiple law enforcement agencies found Judy Brock’s body in the same location, after discovering tire tracks and freshly disturbed ground off Wright Bridge Road. Phillip Brock was arrested at 5:30 p.m. following the discovery.

Ongoing investigation, expanded focus
New search warrants show the focus has expanded to Brock’s suspected mistress, who continued to communicate with him for at least five days after Judy Brock’s suspected time of death. Bank records revealed a financial relationship between Brock and Wise, in which Brock paid Wise’s phone bill, provided her with credit cards, and gave her funds and covered other expenses. The two also met in several hotels since 2018, according to an April 4 warrant for Wise’s Yahoo! records tied to her email account. Holden Beach Police Department, which still is handling the case according to a Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, did not respond to multiple inquiries. It’s not clear whether Wise is a suspect — as of April 29, Wise has not been arrested by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. It appears that, from an investigative side, the state has more than what it needs; after a review of Brock’s court file Wednesday, no new search warrants have been issued since April 4. On April 15, a grand jury returned a bill of indictment after hearing evidence presented by Watson and Detective John Duncan of the Holden Beach Police Department. Brock’s murder marks the first for the small beach town, home to less than 1,000 residents.
Read more » click here

Update –
Holden Beach man accused of killing wife to stand trial Nov. 16
The husband of Judy Brown Brock, who was murdered more than a year ago, is set to go to trial on a first-degree murder charge Monday, Nov. 16. Phillip Harry Brock, 72, was charged with murder in March 2019 and has been incarcerated at the Brunswick County Detention Facility since his arrest. Brock was indicted on a first-degree murder charge April 15, 2019, said assistant district attorney Glenn Emery, the lead prosecutor on the case. If Phillip Brock is convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, Emery said. Brunswick County Detention Facility records show Phillip Brock was booked into the jail at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2019, on a first-degree murder charge on no bail. The Holden Beach Police Department was the arresting agency. According to a Holden Beach Police Department news release, law enforcement agencies found Judy Brown Brock’s body in a wooded area in Sampson County on March 20, 2019.A Silver Alert was issued for her the previous Saturday by the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Ocean Isle Beach police, the North Carolina DMV License and Theft Bureau, Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department, Brunswick County Search and Rescue, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Garland Fire Department and District Attorney Jon David assisted in the investigation, which is ongoing. Brock made his first court appearance at the Brunswick County Courthouse the morning after his arrest. District Court Judge Scott Ussery assigned Brock attorney Teresa Gibson of Shallotte as Brock’s provisional lawyer and denied Brock bail at the request of Assistant District Attorney Glenn Emery. Oak Island-based lawyer Ed Geddings is now representing Phillip Brock on the first-degree murder charge. Emery told Ussery in court in March 2019 that it appears Brock put out the Silver Alert for his wife to cover up his tracks, and law enforcement learned she had no cognitive impairments. Emery said Brock then turned off the GPS in his phone and attempted to turn off the GPS in his 2018 Ford F-150 but was unsuccessful, leading law enforcement to track his vehicle to Sampson County where his wife’s body was discovered.
Read more » click here


Dog Park
The dog park will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Town needed to use the land at the dog park to place material from the canal dredging project as the dredge spoils area. It is unknown when it will be returned to a useable state as a dog park again. They are currently looking at other options for a dog park on the island.

Four people spoke during the Public Comments session at the January BOC’s meeting, all in favor of creating a new Dog Park area. The park was utilized by people daily. We no longer have anywhere on the island to walk a dog safely. The nearest dog park for off leash activity is in Shallotte. I think we should make every effort to provide an area for dogs on the island. My recommendation is to utilize existing town property. The Town actually owns quite a bit of property. For instance, we have two parcels between BAW and OBW, across from Marker Fifty-Five, that were platted as streets but never put in; between High Point Street and Neptune Drive. We had previously discussed the possibility of creating parking areas out of them, one of them could be made into a dog park. Parking should be on the BAW side of the park, so it doesn’t get taken over by guests going to the beach. The designated area would be an additional recreational opportunity as well as an option for having dogs off their leashes instead of in unauthorized areas like the beach strand. As for allocating funds the cost should be paid for by the canal POA’s. You ask: Why? In April of 2014 we established the Dog Park on Town owned property at Scotch Bonnet Drive, at a cost of $19,000 sourced from BPART account. The Canal Dredging Project was mostly paid for from the Water Resources Development Grant of $1,439,922 which we secured in December 2017. According to Town Manager Hewett, “the Canal Dredging Project is paying all costs for the reconstitution of the Scotch Bonnet site to include installation of dog park facilities at that location.” That’s all well and good but meanwhile we do not have a dog park. It is my humble opinion that the right thing to do is for them to pay to create a temporary replacement dog park too.

NRPA Park Pulse: Americans Agree Dog Parks Benefit Local Communities
Local parks and recreation agencies provide dog parks for the areas they serve
Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. With this month’s poll, we look at the possible benefits dog parks bring to their communities.

91% of Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to their communities.

Availability of dog parks is especially popular among millennials (94 percent) and Gen Xers (92 percent) followed by baby boomers (89 percent) who agree dog parks provide benefits to communities.

Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

      • 60% Gives dogs a safe space to exercise and roam around freely
      • 48% Allows dogs to socialize with other dogs
      • 36% Allows owners a chance to be physically active with their pet

For more information » click here


Corrections & Amplifications –


Holden Bridge Safety Railing Project

Previously reported – August 2018
Agenda Packet –
Safety Railing for the Holden Beach Bridge
It is the intent of the Department of Transportation to provide a bicycle/pedestrian railing atop the Town’s concrete bridge barrier, as an added safety improvement. They would like feedback from the Town on a preferred option for the safety rail. It seems as though they need an answer sooner than our normal meeting schedule allows.

I don’t think it is the manager’s call on this and feel the Board should review and make the recommendation.  Please see the attached pictures and let me know if you have any questions.

Bridge Health Index
NCDOT is committed to measuring and improving its overall performance. One of the department’s goals is to make the state’s infrastructure last longer by setting a target for at least 70 percent of bridges rated to be in good condition or better. Good means that the bridge can safely carry the typical-sized commercial or passenger vehicles for that route. To achieve this goal, the department uses a data-driven strategy to improve the overall condition of all bridges in North Carolina by focusing taxpayer dollars where they’re needed most.

North Carolina Department of Transportation selected Holden Beach bridge as a High Value Bridge. They have allocated funding to make safety improvements and improve the expected life expectancy of the bridge. Work includes adding bicycle / pedestrian railing a safety improvement and also do basic repair to the substructure. NCDOT will pay the entire estimated $1.5 million to $2.0 million cost of the project. Work on the bridge is scheduled to begin in September. The estimated time frame to complete the work is the better part of eighteen months.

Chad Kimes Deputy Division Engineer informed the Board that NCDOT intends to install a bicycle / pedestrian railing on top of the concrete bridge barrier, which does not meet current safety standards, as a safety improvement. He asked the Board for feedback regarding what look did they want. The Board was given the opportunity to choose whether the rails would be vertical or horizontal and also select the color. 

The Board chose to have three horizontal railings with an aluminum finish atop the concrete bridge barrier.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

Town Manager David Hewett said the bridge was never intended for bicycle and pedestrian traffic and putting up the railing up may give people the wrong impression. Commissioner Butler agreed with David and voted against the motion essentially saying we were creating an attractive nuisance. David asked whether the funds could be used to pave Ocean Boulevard West. Chad said the monies for resurfacing and for the bridge project are separate, so NO.

Previously reported – December 2018
Bridge Rehabilitation Project
As you may recall a couple of months ago, we presented two bridge railing options at your Commissioners meeting in reference to the Holden Beach bridge rehabilitation project, for your review and consideration. The Town chose the three horizontal rail design as shown in the attachment titled “Holden Rail Retrofit ­ Options 1 and 2.” Upon further consideration, we requested our design consultant provide a third railing option for the bridge rail retrofit, which I have attached, titled “Holden Rail Retrofit – Option 3.” The idea for this option came from the latest Surf City bridge design, which includes a smaller vertical “picket” than the option provided at the council meeting and may provide greater visibility. The support posts in this option are modified slightly as well.

The Town’s prior decision is still a perfectly valid option and it is not our intent to complicate matters with this proposal, we just wanted to extend this option to you, since it is also being extended to Ocean Isle Beach. We are currently under contract with Coastal Gunite Construction to perform the rehab work and will need to provide them with your choice of the 3 options.  If you will please review the attachments and provide us with a response by Friday, December 14, 2018, if at all possible, it will be greatly appreciated and can help the project stay on schedule.

The contract has been awarded, NCDOT plan to spend 3.3 million dollars rehabilitating the bridge, part of the High Value Bridge Program, including adding safety railings which brings the wall from 27” to 48” to meet current safety criteria. The project is scheduled to start in January and is expected to take through October of 2019 to complete. The BOC’s selected the new third option which includes two horizontal aluminum bars with thin vertical pickets.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

The Surf City railing shown below is what we are getting minus the top horizontal bar.

Previously reported – February 2019
Planning Director Tim Evans met with the NCDOT to get more information about the project and made the presentation tonight. Most of the Towns concerns about activities being compromised during bridge maintenance project were addressed.

Previously reported – October 2019
The work on the bridge will not be finished until at least March of 2020 due to the decorative guard rail we selected.
Contract was awarded October 29, 2018 with the completion date for the contract to be October1, 2019

Update –
Traffic Alert
The contractor for the Department of Transportation is scheduled, weather permitting, to remobilize on Monday, April 27th to begin the rail retrofit work on the Holden Beach Bridge. Work will be conducted 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mondays – Thursdays and 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. Drivers should expect delays due to lane closures during these times and should use caution in the work area.


EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS
Previously reported – February 2018
Reminder of Decal Distribution and Re-entry Policies for Owners
For more information » click here


NC General Statute 166A-19.22
Power of municipalities and counties to enact ordinances to deal with states of emergency.

Synopsis – The governing body may impose by declaration or enacted ordinance, prohibitions and restrictions during a state of emergency. This includes the prohibition and restriction of movements of people in public places, including imposing a curfew; directing or compelling the voluntary or mandatory evacuation of all or part of the population, controlling ingress and egress of an emergency area, and providing for the closure of streets, roads, highways, bridges, public vehicular areas. All prohibitions and restrictions imposed by declaration or ordinance shall take effect immediately upon publication of the declaration unless the declaration sets a later time. The prohibitions and restrictions shall expire when they are terminated by the official or entity that imposed them, or when the state of emergency terminates.

Violation – Any person who violates any provisions of an ordinance or a declaration enacted or declared pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.


Vehicle Decals
The 2020 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

The decals are your passes to get back onto the island to check your property in the event that an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the driver side lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle.

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 the Town website to find out more information regarding decals and emergency situations.


Odds & Ends

Large great white sharks ‘converging’ off Carolinas. Is the weather a cause?
A sudden convergence of great white sharks is taking place off the Carolinas — from Cape Hatteras to Charleston — proving the apex predators are being mysteriously drawn to a tight strip off the coast. Satellite tags reveal seven great whites are within that area, with an eighth hovering at the South Carolina-Georgia border, near Hilton Head. Most (five) are sitting off Southport, near Wilmington.
Read more » click here

Tracking site » click here

Cluster of sharks in one spot off Carolinas coast grows more intense
The clustering of great white sharks off the Carolinas coast is growing more pronounced and mysterious, based on satellite tracking data shared Saturday on social media. Eight tagged great white sharks are now practically on top of each other along the border of North and South Carolina — and they represent the only sharks currently tracking along the East Coast, according to a map posted on Facebook by OCEARCH. Researchers began noticing a convergence of great white sharks off the Carolinas in late January, but the group was more spread out. Now the sharks are exhibiting a clear preference for the same spot off Southport, near Wilmington, the data shows. OCEARCH says the tagged sharks, ranging in size from 8 feet to nearly 13 feet, represent a tiny sampling of what is actually off the coast, meaning waters could be full of great
Read more » click here

Update –
There Are 15 Sharks Swarming The Outer Banks Of North Carolina Right Now
Read more » click here


 Sharks of North Carolina
Read more » click here

Shark Attack
The chances of being attacked by a shark are very small compared to other animal attacks, natural disasters, and ocean-side dangers. Many more people drown in the ocean every year than are bitten by sharks. The few attacks that occur every year are an excellent indication that sharks do not feed on humans and that most attacks are simply due to mistaken identity.

Your chances of being attacked by a shark are just 1 in 11.5 million!

What Are the Odds? Long, Most Likely
Not everyone is at risk of a being bitten by a shark. 1 in 11.5 million is the rate of attacks in one year at 68 U.S. beaches and is based on attendance figures at the venues.
Read more » click here


This & That


Carolina Bays Parkway (SC 31) Extension

NCDOT preparing to narrow down route options for CBP Extension
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will soon narrow down its list of route alternatives for the Carolina Bays Parkway Extension, a half-billion-dollar proposed highway project proposed to streamline traffic between southern Brunswick County and North Myrtle Beach. In December, NCDOT released nine route alternatives for the project that’s been studied since the mid-2000s. Shortly after, NCDOT hosted a pair of public meetings in Little River and in Sunset Beach to present information on the project and hear feedback from stakeholders. So far, the project has already received pushback from some factions of the community, including Sunset Beach Town Council, Brunswick County Board of Commissioners, and a multi-generational farm, Indigo Farms.

Concerns have been raised that progress on the Horry County side of the project will outpace North Carolina’s, thereby locking in NCDOT to a route that the public hasn’t endorsed. Also, local tourism dollars are likely at stake, given the project would increase traffic flow to the Grand Strand. South Carolina is further along in funding the project, having already dedicated $125 million to it via a 2016 Horry County capital project sales tax referendum. Right-of-way acquisitions on the South Carolina side of the project will begin in 2022 ; NCDOT has not dedicated any funds for right-of-way acquisitions for its portion of the project. In all, the 19-mile proposed project will cost an estimated $552 million combined, with NCDOT required to cover roughly two-thirds of the total cost (14 miles of the project would run through North Carolina). Each of the nine proposed route alternatives would replace roughly 6 miles of existing roadway on Highway 17 and ultimately converge at the existing terminus in South Carolina between the existing Carolina Bays Parkway S.C. 31 at S.C. 9 (view all route alternatives).

Public comment
The public comment period on narrowing down the nine proposed alternatives ended Jan. 10 at midnight. Comments submitted before this deadline will be considered part of the public record, according to an NCDOT spokesperson, and comments submitted after will still be considered but not in the public record. Weigh in on the routes via a detailed project website, which includes the option to draw suggested lines, provide commentary, and rank alternatives. Once comments are analyzed, NCDOT will rule out a few of the proposed alternatives to narrow down which routes will be further studied in a detailed environmental analysis. NCDOT will narrow the routes down this spring; a Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected this winter. Once the environmental study is available, a new public comment period will open, including public hearings. A preferred alternative (not the final decision, but the last step before it) could be selected by summer 2021.
Read more » click here


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Summer Will Come; Crowds Are Still a Maybe
Hotels and amusement parks brace for a lost high season. Even if they get the go-ahead to open, will people come?

There is little sense whether, even if restrictions are lifted, a general apprehension of crowds or travel will prevail in the wake of the pandemic and how that could hurt seasonal businesses. If the peak summer months are lost, said Mr. Callewaert, who runs his family’s business on Mackinac Island, there is no way to get them back. “You’ll never catch up. Hopefully you’ll live to fight another day, that’s what you have to do,” he said. “You have to be in survival mode right now.”
Read more » click here

Summer tourists want to know: Will East Coast beaches open?
Maybe, but with some changes.

Realtor Michele DeRose had hoped the novel coronavirus pandemic would be subsiding by now so that residents and business owners in this popular beach town along the Jersey Shore could start to prepare for the crush of summer tourists. What’s begun instead, she said, are the phone calls that real estate agents and property owners dread: Some customers are asking for their money back amid signs that this summer could be the first in more than a century that vacationers are not welcomed on some of America’s most storied beaches. “We’re not getting any new requests for rentals right now,” she added. With the travel season less than six weeks away, would-be tourists and entrepreneurs alike are struggling to decipher whether the East Coast’s beach towns will open by Memorial Day — and if they do, how social distancing guidelines implemented to combat the spread of the coronavirus could reshape what is, historically, one of the country’s most communal activities. That’s the challenge confronting elected leaders from North Carolina to Maine, as the pandemic threatens to upend dozens of local economies in ways previously unthinkable, except for perhaps from an early season hit by a major hurricane. Over the past month, as the coronavirus spread, state and local officials banned sunbathing on beaches, shuttered boardwalks and pleaded with taxpaying second-home owners to stay away from their seasonal properties. Police in Dare County on North Carolina’s Outer Banks even blocked roads leading from the mainland to keep tourists away. For now, elected officials in many of these places say it’s still too soon to say when their beach towns may open to visitors as the number of infections and deaths continues to rise, including more than 75,000 coronavirus cases in New Jersey.
Read more » click here


Hot Button Issues
Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions


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Climate
For more information » click here
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear


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Development Fees
For more information » click here
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CFPUA wants customer input on proposed system development fee increase
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) is looking to raise its ‘system development fees.’ These fees, which new customers pay when they ‘connect’ to the water and sewer system, help fund overall improvements and expansions. The fees have also been cited as a factor in driving up the cost of housing.

New rates have been proposed to come into effect on July 1, 2020, and would increase both the water and sewer system development charges. “The system development charge (or SDC) is the fee that new customers pay to ‘buy-in’ to the water and sewer system. The proposal includes an increase in the water SDC from $1,880 to $1,920 and an increase in the sewer SDC from $1,930 to $2,070,” according to a memo from CFPUA. The rate changes are not yet approved or finalized and CFPUA has opened an online form to receive public comments on the issue.

According to the utility provider, “The objective of CFPUA’s system development charge is to assess new customers their proportionate share of the cost of infrastructure improvements benefitting the new customer that were paid for by past or existing customers.” The logic and reasoning behind the proposed rate change is that new customers drive the need for new infrastructure and using existing customers’ payments to pay for this is not the most equitable way to fund it.

“CFPUA’s SDC calculation seeks to allocate the equity in existing infrastructure assets to new water and sewer customers. “Equity in existing infrastructure” is defined as the assets funded with rate revenues that will benefit new customers less [with] outstanding debt used to acquire or construct those assets,” according to the memo. While the rate increases could potentially hinder future affordable housing construction in the area, CFPUA does have a responsibility to its ratepayers as well to make sure everyone is paying their equal share and hopefully keeping rates low.
Read more » click here

Supreme Court Construes Local Law to Allow “Availability” Fees to be Charged Against Developed Property and Undeveloped Property
Infrastructure fees are a common battleground between landowners/developers and local governments. The Supreme Court decided a case this week that counts as a “win” for the local governments, reversing a Court of Appeals decision. That is, the Supreme Court determined that the unambiguous language of a State law granted to the local government broader powers than the Court of Appeals otherwise thought. Let’s dig in.

The Facts
The Town of Oak Island constructed a sewer system at a cost of $140M. In 2006, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a local act – which is a State law that relates to one or more local governments – designed to assist the Town in reducing its outstanding debt for the sewer system. The law authorized the Town “to impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within” its sewer treatment district.

Then Town’s sewer lines run in front of both developed and undeveloped parcels in the district, but the system had the capacity to serve all parcels in the district. Beginning in 2009, owners of developed parcels began paying fees as an additional charge on their monthly sewer bills. Owners of undeveloped parcels began paying fees in 2010, with charges appearing on their real property tax bills.

The Trial Court
In 2015, certain owners of undeveloped property filed suit against the Town challenging the authority to assess the sewer service availability fees against undeveloped properties. In 2018, the trial court granted summary judgment to the Town, which the property owners appealed.

The Appeal
On appeal, the North Carolina Court of Appeals was divided. In a published decision, the majority concluded: “[A]lthough the Session Laws do not define the term “availability” for purposes of imposing the sewer service availability fees, it is clear that the enabling Session Laws do not, as a matter of law, apply to Plaintiffs’ undeveloped property.” The majority determined that the language of the State law was unambiguous, requiring the Court “to give effect to the plain meaning of the statute” and leading the Court to a dictionary definition of “availability” that read: “the quality or state of being available” and ““present or ready for immediate use”. The Court determined that the “complex, costly additional requirements—many of them conditional— that the owner of an undeveloped lot must fulfill in order to benefit from Oak Island’s sewer services foreclose any conclusion that such services are ‘present or ready for immediate use’ by those owners”, such that undeveloped lots did not have the “availability of sewer service” as compared to developed lots; therefore, “annual fees for availability” were not chargeable to the undeveloped lots under State law.

The dissent agrees that the statute is unambiguous and cites to the same dictionary provisions as does the majority, however, the dissent spends more time than does the majority on the Session Law, itself, and reaches a different conclusion as to what “availability” means.

Originally adopted in 2004 (S.L. 2004-96) as applied only to the Town of Holden Beach, the local act was amended in 2006 to apply both to the Town and the Town of Holden Beach. The actual law, as amended, provides: (1) “A municipality may create a fee-supported sewer treatment district for all properties that are or can be served by the sewage collection and treatment plant serving properties within the Town”, (2) “The Town may impose annual fees for the availability of sewer service within the district”, and (3) “Said fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment”. The dissent focuses on the language of the Session Law, that “fees shall be imposed on owners of each dwelling unit or parcel of property that could or does benefit from the availability of sewage treatment. That is, to the dissent, the statute clearly authorizes the charging of fees to developed property (does benefit) and undeveloped property (could benefit). More to the point, however, the dissent is concerned that the majority’s analysis “would require terms be added to the Session Law, while rendering the terms ‘can be served [,]’ ‘within the district[,]’ and ‘parcel of property that could . . . benefit’ superfluous”, which the dissent notes neglects the judicial duty “not to delete words used or to insert words not used” when construing laws.

The Supreme Court’s Decision
On March 3, 2019, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals “for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion”. That is, the Supreme Court agreed with the dissent’s analysis and conclusion regarding the meaning of “availability” and the ability of the Town, pursuant to the local law, to charge sewer system fees to owners of developed and undeveloped properties, alike.
Read more » click here

NC Supreme Court sides with Oak Island in sewer system dispute
North Carolina’s highest court has sided with the town of Oak Island, reversing a lower court’s decision on whether the town has the right to levy sewer fees on undeveloped properties.

The case, which was heard on Feb. 4 with an opinion filed Feb. 28, began when Bobby Boles filed a lawsuit against the town in 2015.

In that suit, Boles argued the town did not have the right to collect the fees established to help offset the cost of the town’s new sewer system — fees made possible by a 2004 action by the North Carolina General Assembly — from the owners of undeveloped properties.

[ In split decision, appeals court sides with property owners ]

From 2010 to 2017, the fee program resulted in developed property owners paying a total of $4,478.57 in fees, while undeveloped property owners would have paid $3,978.08. The appellate court whose decision the supreme court overturned had pointed out in its ruling that from 2015 to 2017, the owners of undeveloped properties were actually paying more per year than those who owned developed lots.

Property owners argued that because their lots were undeveloped and not connected to the sewer system, the sewer service was not truly “available” to them, and therefore they should not be required to pay the fees.

The Court of Appeals ruled in a split judgment on May 2, 2018, in favor of the property owners, but that result has now been reversed. The reversal was just one page and says: “We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals for the reasons stated in the dissenting opinion.”

Judge Allegra Collins disagreed with her two fellow judicial colleagues, arguing the opposite with regard to the “availability” language.

Collins argued that just because property owners would have to go through the development process in order to connect to the sewer system, doesn’t mean that it isn’t “available” to them.
Read more » click here

Stay tuned …


.

Flood Insurance Program
For more information » click here
.


National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 20, 2019.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2020.

FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders. Should the NFIP’s authorization lapse, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings per month.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance.

The level of damage from recent catastrophic storms makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP.

Flood insurance – whether purchased from the NFIP or through private carriers – is the best way for homeowners, renters, business, and communities to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods.
Read more » click here


 

GenX
For more information » click here
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CFPUA: Chemours’ vague and inadequate corrective plan ‘falls far short’
The company responsible for the contamination of the Cape Fear River with the chemical known as GenX has proposed a ‘corrective action plan’ to the state — a plan that the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority says falls short. “Chemours’ proposed corrective action plan (CAP) to address decades of PFAS releases from its chemical plant on the Cape Fear River consists largely of vague promises of PFAS reductions to be realized years into the future and is inadequate to protect downstream water users, CFPUA wrote in comments submitted today to state regulators,” according to a CFPUA press release.
Read more » click here

NCDEQ requiring Chemours to make extensive changes to Corrective Action Plan
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality announced Tuesday that it is requiring Chemours to make extensive revisions to the proposed Corrective Action Plan the company submitted in December. “The proposed plan is clearly deficient and fails to address the fundamental purposes of a corrective action plan,” said Michael S. Regan, DEQ Secretary. “Chemours will not receive approval from this department until they address appropriate clean up measures for the communities impacted by the contamination and meet the terms of the Consent Order.” DEQ officials say that based on their initial review the proposed Corrective Action Plan “lacks a thorough technical basis, including an adequate assessment of human exposure to PFAS compounds and a thorough evaluation of on- and off-site groundwater contamination.” State officials also said that the plan does not provide for appropriate remediation of on-site groundwater or off-site contamination. The DEQ received more than 1,240 public comments on the plan. “The vast majority of the commenters believe the proposed plan from Chemours is not sufficient to address community concerns, the requirements of state law and the Consent Order,” the NCDEQ stated in a news release. The public comments can be seen here. The February 2019 Consent Order and related documents are available online at https://deq.nc.gov/ChemoursConsentOrder.
Read more » click here


 

Homeowners Insurance
For more information » click here
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Hurricane Season

For more information » click here
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.
AccuWeather’s 2020 Atlantic hurricane season forecast is out

About two months from now, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will officially begin, but AccuWeather meteorologists have already been hard at work examining the factors that could influence tropical activity this year. Forecasters are anticipating another busy year for the Atlantic Basin in 2020, on the heels of an active 2019 season. Led by Dan Kottlowksi, AccuWeather’s top hurricane expert, meteorologists this week released a 2020 Atlantic hurricane forecast. Kottlowksi’s team is calling for 14-18 tropical storms during this upcoming season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. Of those storms, seven to nine are forecast to become hurricanes, and two to four are predicted to strengthen into major hurricanes. “It’s going to be an above-normal season,” Kottlowski said. “On a normal year, we have around 12 storms, six hurricanes and roughly three major hurricanes.” The 2019 season marked the fourth consecutive year of above-average activity in the basin and was tied with 1969 for the fourth most-active hurricane season on record. Featuring hurricanes Dorian, Lorenzo and Humberto as well as Tropical Storm Imelda, the 2019 season resulted in 18 storms overall and caused more than $11 billion in damage. And there’s reason to believe the 2020 season could be every bit as active. As part of the method for formulating this season’s predictions, forecasters have drawn comparisons to previous years with comparable weather conditions — also known as analog years. This year, AccuWeather meteorologists have looked closely at the years 1980 and 2005.
Read more » click here

CSU forecast for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season: active
Meteorologists with Colorado State University issued their annual Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook Thursday, suggesting 2020 will be an active year for tropical storms and hurricanes across the Atlantic Basin. An average year in the Atlantic Basin features 12 named tropical systems, including 6 hurricanes and 3 major (Cat. 3+) hurricanes. The 2020 CSU forecast for the Atlantic Basin suggests there will be 16 named tropical systems, including 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. Seasonal tropical weather outlooks naturally elicit cynicism from some consumers, but such forecasts have shown some skill over time. CSU says potential contributors to Atlantic tropical cyclone activity include: the expectation of a weak or absent Pacific El Nino and much warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures across portions of the Atlantic Basin, like the Gulf of Mexico. What no seasonal tropical forecast can say with any provable, repeatable skill is what coastlines will be impacted by tropical activity. One might argue that the Bahamian and Southeast U.S. portions of the Atlantic Basin are, at least statistically, due for a break after Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew, Irma, Florence, Michael, and Dorian have ravaged the region since 2015. A break is indeed worth hoping for, but you never know until the actual season arrives and the individual storms develop. The best course, in any year and with any forecast, is vigilance and preparedness. Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1.
Read more » click here

Hurricane amid pandemic: ‘Nightmare scenario’
For coastal communities like Wilmington, the June 1 start of hurricane season couldn’t come at a worse time

Emergency managers run drills on handling multiple catastrophes at once, such as a cyberattack during a tornado or a mass shooting amid a destructive flood. But most disaster plots don’t involve a months-long pandemic sapping resources globally from aid groups and governments while so much of the nation is shut down, self-isolating and unemployed. Yet this is where officials find themselves in the run-up to the 2020 hurricane season, which leading forecasts predict will be the fifth consecutive year of above-normal activity. A forecast released Thursday suggests we could see four major hurricanes develop. The U.S. may still be battling the coronavirus outbreak when hurricane season officially begins June 1, and waves of infections could follow during peak months for storms in late summer and early fall.
Read more » click here
 


 

Inlet Hazard Areas
For more information » click here
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Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
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.
Another speaker gave updated rates for the dredges as follows:
. • Murden – $1,700 per hour
.
Currituck – $1,500 per hour
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Merritt – $2,292 per hour
.
Snell – $1,500 per hour
Rates are based on a minimum10-hour day for scheduling purposes


Sand build up in LWF Inlet causing issues as waterway waits for dredging
The narrow passage between Oak Island and Holden Beach is even more narrow than usual as sediment buildup has left Lockwood Folly Inlet at critically shallow depths. According to the Feb. 3 survey by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a majority of the inlet is less than six feet deep at low tide, with localized spots barely having three feet of water. “About any boat that’s going to come in and out of there is going to scrub the bottom at the moment,” said Cane Faircloth, who is president of the Lockwood Inlet Association. Faircloth said before Hurricane Dorian, the inlet was in the best shape it has seen in decades after it was dredged following Hurricane Florence. “We had it, it was about eight feet at low tide, and then Hurricane Dorian hit, and it pumped that thing full of sand,” he said. “And that’s just how mother nature works. You know, you have events you have erosion, so we end up with a lot of sand in it, and then now we’ve been playing catch-up.”
Read more » click here


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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
For more information » click here
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Solid Waste Program

For more information » click here
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Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
///// November 2019
Name:            The Library    
Cuisine:         European Continental
Location:      6613 North Kings Highway Unit D, Myrtle Beach SC
Contact:        843.448.4527 / http://www.thelibraryrestaurantsc.com/

Food:              Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:               Inexpensive <=$18 / Moderate <=$24 / Expensive <=$30 / Exorbitant <=$40
Rating:          Three Stars
Established in 1974 this is the most formal and classic restaurant along the Grand Strand and ranks among the finest of Myrtle Beach’s upscale dining establishments. A couple of years ago they moved from downtown Myrle Beach to a new location in a strip mall just a bit north. They have a limited menu that only offers about a dozen entrée choices. The food is excellent but a little pricey, not your any-night-of-the-week restaurant. It was a Four-Star establishment, unfortunately that is no longer the case.  It is still one of the few quality dining options in Myrtle Beach, significantly better than most of the other restaurant offerings in the area.

 ///// February 2020
Name:            Vintage Twelve  
Cuisine:         Southern Low Country
Location:      9800 Queensway Blvd., Myrtle Beach, SC
Contact:        843.497.7300 / https://www.vintagetwelve.com/

Food:              Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:               Inexpensive <=$18 / Moderate <=$24 / Expensive <=$30 / Exorbitant <=$40
Rating:          Three Stars
Vintage Twelve is a fine dining restaurant located in the Embassy Suites Hotel inside a gated beach resort community the Kingston Resorts. Southern Low Country cuisine is presented in a refined dining space. The décor is understated, focusing on the spectacular panoramic sea views. They have a very limited menu, that only offers about a dozen entrée choices following the trend of menu simplification. It’s a little pricey, but the food was excellent and well worth the price, so not your
any-night-of-the-week restaurant.      


North Carolina governor bans dine-in service at bars, restaurants
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper will close all bars and restaurants in the state to dine-in customers, only allowing take-out and delivery food services to operate as the state works to stop the spread of COVID-19.


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
/////
.
AMERICAN DIRT by Jeanine Cummins
The story is about the ordeal of a Mexican woman who had to leave behind her life, after a drug cartel murders the rest of their family, and escape as an undocumented immigrant to the United States with her son. Cummins novel brings to life the ordeal of migrants, who risk everything to try to cross into the U.S., looking for a better life.
 


.That’s it for this newsletter

See you next month


HBPOIN / Lou’s Views

.          • Gather and disseminate information
.          • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

.          • Act as a watchdog
.          • Grass roots monthly newsletter since 2008

https://lousviews.com/

03 – Town Meeting

Lou’s Views

“Unofficial” Minutes & Comments


BOC’s Special Meeting 03/11/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet » click here NA

Audio Recording » click here


1. Discussion and Possible Action on Setting 2020 Board of Commissioners’ Objectives

Minutes –
Commissioner Kwiatkowski explained the process. The Board put their proposed objectives into each of the five categories – Financial / Budget, Long-Term Plans, Ordinance Related, Policies / Procedures / Resolutions and Advocacy. The Board discussed how to move forward and the next steps. Commissioners Tyner and Kwiatkowski will work with Town Clerk Finnell to prepare a list from the proposed objectives.

Previously reported – April 2019
Policies / Procedures / Resolutions
13 Address Ocean Blvd water retention issues

13 Improve Community Rating Score
Long Range Planning
12 Initiate Stage IT Sewer Pump Station Upgrade

12 Fully support IBPB and implement strategy
11 Make a decision on the second water tower
11 Approve and fund an appropriate near-term beach re-nourishment project
11 Review proposed Land Use Plan and approve an appropriate final document
Ordinances
15 Trash related decisions

13 Ensure clear enforcement procedures are in place as appropriate
12 Control of large homes
Advocacy
15 Promptly address any activity/support and funding requests that result from Poyner Spruill advocacy efforts for short- and long-term coordination with state, county and federal groups

15 Define sand fund strategies and supporting documents for starting various levels of government advocacy
15 Become more involved in coastal advocacy groups
14 Increase participation in NCLM to secure support on objectives most relevant to THB
12 Increase involvement in regional planning with other coastal communities
Additional Policies / Procedure / Resolutions Objectives
10 Prioritize Brunswick Avenue road repair

10 Cross train finance staff
10 Improve communication among alerted officials
10 Use pre and post beach sand data to conclude a crisis point
10 Establish a communication plan and website
10 Get more general public involvement

2. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(6) To Discuss a Personnel Matter

No decision was made – No action taken


BOC’s Regular Meeting 03/17/20

Board of Commissioners’ Agenda Packet click here

Board of Commissioners’ Amended Agenda » click here  

Due to coronavirus concerns the agenda was amended.


Audio Recording
»
click here


1. Public Comments on Agenda Items

There were no comments


2. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 20-05, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 19-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 (Amendment No. 10) – Town Manager Hewett

Agenda Packet –
The attached budget amendment is a zero-sum adjustment totaling $296,264 and requires no additional appropriations to provide for the following actions:

    1. Proposed Martin Starnes audit contract @ $23,000
    2. Replacement of 2 AC units @ $24,000
    3. Genset replacement @ $209,818
    4. Legal fees @ $18,042
    5. Current shortfall in the New Town Hall operations and maintenance line @ $21,404

The actions are enabled by recognizing $296,264 in reimbursements received for the BPART Fund to date (but not budgeted for) of $177,437 from Hurricane Irene,$97,073 from Brunswick County for the Lockwood Folly Inlet Crossing Navigation Maintenance Project and $21,754 from the NC Division of Water Resources for hurricane damage surveys.

Recognition of the $296,264 in BPART revenues allows for a corresponding decrease in the transfer of an equal amount from the General Fund and corresponding increase in the General Fund’s Governing Body Professional Services and New Town Hall Ops Mx and Repair Expense line items to provide for the actions above.

Update –
These funds are unbudgeted, they are reimbursement funds received and is a zero-sum adjustment. No additional appropriations are required to cover listed expenses. Most of the discussion was to clarify that they were not approving these expenses. This is simply an allocation of funds not an appropriation. Town Manager still needs authorization before funds can be spent.

Moved funds of $296,264
From Revenue account #50.0397.0000 to Expense account#10.0410.9500

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


3. Discussion and Possible Award of Contract for Roadway Work – Shane Lippard, Right Angle Engineering (Public Works Director Clemmons)

Agenda Packet –
Three bids were received yesterday. Apparent low bidder was Highland Paving at $111,250. They have completed work for the Town in the past and we have had them on other projects as well. We recommend award to Highland Paving for the Brunswick Avenue work.

Previously reported – November 2015
Streets Condition Survey Report is a planning document. We have a total of 12.8 paved asphalt roadways with @40% of the roads in need of maintenance. Subject streets are Class A (low volume) roads the cost estimate is for pavement repair only, with the costs being variable. The total estimated costs are a whopping $1,200,000.
Surface evaluation was done rating each street and prioritizing the work that needs to be done. Recommended we address it with a ten-year game plan, budgeting accordingly, tackling it on a yearly basis. Understandably we can expect our streets to continue to degrade while costs will continue to go up.

Brunswick Avenue West Paving
Previously reported – October 2018
Project is for Brunswick Avenue West only. You read that right, from Rothschild to High Point is all we are talking about. If you have ever driven down the street, you know that settlement has occurred, and the pavement is wavy making for a roller coaster type ride. The game plan is to utilize wedging for the low areas and then a layer of asphalt over the top of the entire road. Discussion was whether to go all in or do a test segment. The approach they agreed to is to do the worst areas only in the first year. Engineers Preliminary Construction Cost Estimate $255,194. In 2015 the Board implemented a tax increase of $.010 that would generate approximately $115,000 annually for infrastructure, specifically street paving and maintenance. With no additional funds being allocated they could do a little less than half of the project in 2020.

Previously reported – January 2020
Brunswick Avenue West paving work will be started after Easter and should be completed before Memorial Day.

Update –
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. Right Angle Engineering reviewed the bids and recommended Highland Paving. Commissioner Murdock pointed out a number of discrepancies with the bids, too many differences and that we weren’t comparing apples to apples. At that point, they all joined the fray! Town Manager Hewitt said that they were not required to accept the recommendation or the lowest bid as long as they select a vendor that was responsive to the bid request. After some discussion, Town Clerk Finnell said that the vendor selected signs a contract that ensures that all items requested are included in their work. They then accepted the recommendation for Highland Paving who has done satisfactory work for the Town before.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

All of the Commissioners appeared to have done their homework. They were prepared and familiar with the material being presented. I liked the engaged discussion, that they turned over stones and asked questions before accepting the recommendation. No rubber stamp of approval here! Kudos!


4. Discussion and Possible Action on Alternative Selection for Generator Placement at Town Hall – Shane Lippard, Right Angle Engineering (Town Manager Hewett)

Agenda Packet –
Preliminary Engineering Report for Standby Diesel Generator Relocation

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

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

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

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

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

Update –
Town Manager Hewett presented the three options.

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

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

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

No decision was made – No action taken

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


5. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 20-06, An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 30.05: Mayor Pro Tempore (Executive Secretary) – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
Ordinance 20-06. An Ordinance Amending the Holden Beach Code of Ordinances, Section 30.05: Mayor Pro Tempore removes the Executive Secretary position as discussed by the Board at their February meeting.

Staff recommends approval of Ordinance 20-06.

Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –
An Executive Secretary position with overarching control of meeting agendas is not necessary.

First, the duties of the executive secretary as detailed in Town Ordinance appear in conflict with how a special meeting is called, whereby any 2 commissioners, the mayor or the Mayor Pro Tem have the right to call the meeting (and define the agenda) with no input required from an additional commissioner. Second, the executive secretary is not the party collecting supporting materials or creating the ultimate agenda -those are done by the Town Clerk. If an individual Commissioner finds an item, he or she designated for a specific meeting does not appear on an agenda for reasons unknown, he or she should say so at the meeting and request it be added to the agenda. Third, all Board members, not only one, should equally receive the support of the Town Clerk and Town Manager and be able to receive legal interpretation from the Town Attorney as appropriate for items they place on the agenda.

While it may suit the Board of Commissioners to designate an individual Commissioner to be responsible for scheduling certain BOC activities and organizing the notes on certain topics, this can be done by Board agreement each year. If the Board prefers to have an individual Commissioner as a first contact for the Town Clerk on draft BOCM agenda questions, the Board can so specify.

Holden Beach Code of Ordinances
§30.05 MAYOR PRO TEMPORE.

. (C) The Executive Secretary shall be responsible for: (1) creating the agenda for each regular and special meeting of the BOG, and (2) assembling all supporting agenda package materials, in consultation with the Mayor, other members of the BOC and the Town Manager and Town Attorney, as applicable. The Executive Secretary shall timely deliver the same to the Town Clerk for copying, delivery and publication in accordance with these ordinances and the Rules of Procedure provided for herein. The Town Clerk and Town Manager shall provide logistical and advisory support to the Executive Secretary in performing these functions and the Town Attorney shall provide legal interpretation or support as requested by the Executive Secretary. No notice of any regular or special meeting of the BOC, nor any agenda or agenda package materials with respect thereto shall be delivered or published by the Town Clerk without the express prior authorization of the Executive Secretary.

Apparently, we are the only municipality that has this position. The position is not necessary, and things would run better without it. Patty recommended striking the position and removing it from §30.05. Once again, this was only just a discussion and no action was taken.

No decision was made – No action taken

Update
No discussion, they just voted to eliminate the position.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


6. Recommendation by Audit Committee for Selection of Audit Firm to Perform 2019 – 2020 Audit, Action by Board of Commissioners on Recommended Audit Firm and Direction to Town Manager to Finalize the Contract – Commissioner Tyner

Agenda Packet –
The Town of Holden Beach Audit Committee recommends the firm of Martin-Starnes and Associates, CPA’s be selected to perform the 2019-2020 financial and compliance examination of the Town’s financial reports. Additionally, it is recommended the Town Manager be given authority to finalize the contracts with Martin­ Starnes as priced in their services proposal.

Audit Proposal Martin Starnes

Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –
Motion:
Board of Commissioners directs the Town Manager to solicit bids for audit services for the 2019-2020 audit. The solicitation for bids should be distributed on February 14, 2020 and responses should be due by February 28, 2020.

Issue:
Solicitation of bids request for proposals for Audit Services

Request to:
Town Manager

Motion:
Board of Commissioners request the Town Manager solicit bids for audit services for the fiscal year 2019-2020 audit.

Action Requested:
Distribute proposal and solicit bids for audit services for fiscal year 2019-2020 audit.

Proposed Deadline:
Distribute Request for Proposal for Audit Services by February 14,2020 and set a deadline of February 28, 2020 for responses

§30.26 AUDIT COMMITTEE OF THE BOC.
(B) Powers and duties. The Audit Committee shall:
(3) Recommend to the BOC’s the selection of the independent external audit firm to conduct the annual external audit;

It is the Audit Committees responsibility to make the recommendation for an audit firm. However, it is the BOC’s that ultimately make the decision in selecting the audit firm. Town Manager stressed that fewer firms want to do municipal audits so we should have a sense of urgency about finding someone quickly.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Previously reported – February 2020
Agenda Packet –
Directive to:
Audit Committee

Issue and Action Requested:
Audit Committee recommendations made to the BOC of the firm to conduct the annual audit of the Town’s financial statements have not traditionally included much detail on the Audit Committee’s decision. An Audit Firm Selection Process should be developed and applied to select the recommended firm for the audit of the year ending June 30, 2020, with a presentation made to the BOC.

Background and Potential Implications:
Each year the Audit Committee recommends a firm to the BOC to conduct the annual audit of the Towns financial statements. Without a formal process, the recommended firm may not in the end be the best selection. Following a process including selection criteria to identify the best firm should enable a transparent, qualification-based evaluation of each firm and simplify the final selection.

Charge Questions:
None

Proposed Deadline:
March 17, 2020 BOCM for both the process/selection criteria and recommendation of the audit firm, with justification according to the new process.

Patty wants the Audit Committee to provide the Board with a description of the process as well as selection recommendation. Woody who is the Chair of the Committee basically said that he had no problem with the request. He worked in banking, where they evaluated vendors based on a set criterion and utilized a scorecard which he planned to do here in selecting an audit firm.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Update –
Town Manager was given the directive of solicitation of bids for audit service. Audit Committee was given two directives, develop selection process and make a recommendation to the Board. In addition, the Board wanted them to share the evaluation criteria used to determine the recommendation. Commissioner Tyner reviewed the seven (7) categories that were utilized in the selection process. Audit Committee clearly did their due diligence, they used a thorough and pragmatic approach to select auditor. As a bonus they were able to select an audit service that cost $6,000 less than it did last year. The Board accepted their recommendation even though it was not the lowest cost option. The Town Manager will now move forward in creating a contract with Martin Starnes.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


7. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance 20-08, An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 19-10, The Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 (Amendment No. 11) – Assistant Town Manager Ferguson

Agenda Packet –
In a recent meeting with FEMA and the NC Department of Public Safety, Town staff executed project worksheets for Florence and Michael. This begins the grant reimbursement process and required monthly reporting. The BOC will need to adopt budgets for each storm in order to house their associated expenses and reimbursements. The proposed budget amendment will satisfy initial capital programming requirements.

Recommend Approval

Suggested Motion: Approval of Ordinance 20-08, an Ordinance Amending Ordinance I9-10, the Revenues and Appropriations Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 (Amendment No. 11).

Update –
Housekeeping item, no discussion they just voted for the suggested motion.

Moved funds of $15,861,220
From Revenue account #50.0364.0000 to Expense account#50.0810.90119

Moved funds of $8,547,506
From Revenue account #50.0364.0200 to Expense account#50.0810.0120

A decision was made – Approved unanimously


8. Discussion and Possible Action on Resolution 20-02, Resolution Amending the Holden Beach Fee Schedule (Annual Recycling Fee) – Town Clerk Finnell

Agenda Packet –
We have received the updated processing fees assessed by Waste Industries for people who utilize the voluntary curbside recycling program. The monthly rate has increased by $0.77 per cart per month for biweekly recycling and $1.54 per cart per month for weekly recycling (June – September). This cost is tied to best negotiated agreements between Waste Industries and local processors.

The annual 2020 cost for people participating in the program will be $93.29 per bin. The fee schedule needs to be amended to reflect the new amount. Staff recommends the Board approve Resolution 20-02, Resolution Amending the Holden Beach Fee Schedule, if you wish to continue the curbside recycling program.

Update –
No discussion, they voted to change fee schedule to reflect the higher cost for this service.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

Waste Industries provides curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. Less than four hundred (400) households or @17% participate in the voluntary program. This is the only service that charges a user fee. To add insult to injury the Town assesses a $6.00 service charge to participants in the recycling program. To be perfectly clear, they process just one check annually.

 

 

So why the Vig?

 

.

.


9. Public Comments on General Items

If you do not plan on attending the meeting, but would like to submit a comment you can email heather@hbtowhall.com or drop hand written comments off to the Town Hall drop box.

David read e-mail submitted by Dean Thomas a member of the IBPB – Coronavirus pandemic event, elsewhere they are curtailing visitors: Are we or should we do so too?

Editor’s Note –

Towns are restricting people at beaches and accesses along our coast in response to COVID-19.

Outer Banks closed to tourists due to coronavirus concerns
Citing concerns about the novel coronavirus, Dare County officials issued an emergency order banning visitors from North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Tuesday. In a statement from the Dare County Emergency Management Joint Information Center, officials said they will set up checkpoints at all entrances to the county. No visitors will be allowed access.

Bald Head Island issues voluntary evacuation of short-term rentals
Because of a public threat of COVID-19, the Village of Bald Head island has declared a State of Emergency. That means a voluntary evacuation is underway. The order means all short-term rentals will be discontinued. Those who own property on Bald Head Island are instructed to have all current renters, for a rental period of less than three months duration, and their invitees vacate the premises and leave the island by 2 p.m. on Sunday. Effective immediately, there will be no new rentals of any nature or duration allowed on the Island. Only property owners and residents, business owners and their respective employees and contractors, and municipal employees and contractors shall be admitted to the island after 6 p.m. on Thursday. These restrictions will remain in place through April 30.

Carteret County declares state of emergency, asks non-residents not to enter
Carteret County officials have issued a state of emergency and are asking anyone that doesn’t live, work or own property there not to enter the county.

Wrightsville Beach closes beaches for remainder of March

Carolina Beach was also closing its beaches, parking lots to the public 

NC towns shut down their beaches over coronavirus concerns: ‘Stay home’
A growing number of North Carolina’s popular coastal towns are trying to keep tourists off beaches in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This includes Wrightsville Beach, Surf City, Topsail Island and Emerald Isle, all of which are popular Spring Break destinations. “Stay home,” Nags Head officials said in a blunt Facebook post. “Avoid discretionary travel.” Wrightsville Beach and Surf City have closed all public access to their beaches, according to Facebook posts, while Emerald Isle suspended beach driving and is “discouraging tourist travel to the coast.”

Oak Island declares a State of Emergency and suspends rentals
Moments after the fifth and sixth COVID-19 case were identified in Brunswick County, The Town of Oak Island declared a state of emergency. On Saturday, the town also suspended “short term” rentals. All rental agencies and property owners that rent properties on Town of Oak Island are instructed to have all current renters, with a rental period of less than 3 months, vacate the rentals. They’ve also been instructed to leave the town no later than 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Effective immediately, there will be no new rental occupancies for less than 90 days allowed within the town. Town officials also urge that all travel be limited to essential travel, and that people limit groups to nor more than 10 people.

No discussion or response was made banning visitors. Now an influx of people is putting us at risk. I know that many members of the community are concerned. Towns are restricting people at beaches and accesses along our coast in response to COVID-19. Mayor Holden as the Emergency Coordinator probably is the person that makes that call. Presumably most of the older year-round residents would probably prefer that the island be closed too.

I was disappointed that they did not even bother to broach the subject.

From the Mayor’s Desk dated 03/21/20
The conference call meeting this morning with local, state and national officials discussed updates about the Coronavirus. There were no major changes from the last updates. The situation will probably change more in the next two or three days as progress is being made through more information being learned and shared on all levels. 

There are many rumors containing false information. Please be mindful of this and pay attention to official sources. 

The Town of Holden Beach is accessible and the bridge is open. The beach strand, accesses and public parking areas are open. The Town Hall Public Assembly is available only to the Holden Beach commissioners’ activities as may be determined. The staff is working and their duties are being performed. 

The Holden Beach Chapel is currently not holding worship services or any other activities on its campus until further notice. The renovations are ongoing and will be completed before the reopening. 

Concern has been shared by some owners and residents about all of the non-residents and property owners that are visiting Holden Beach. Their concern and request is to close the bridge and island. Consideration by authorities at all levels are making decisions for different locations throughout the country. No two locations are the same. 

No immediate change of the status of Holden Beach is currently contemplated. 


10. Executive Session Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 143-318.11(a)(3), To Consult with the Town Attorney

No decision was made – No action taken


General Comments –

There were six (6) members of the community in attendance
.Coronavirus social distancing – only had public seating for ten (10) people

The White House recommended limitations on social gatherings of more than 10 people.

The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that Americans cancel or postpone events of 50-plus people for the next eight weeks.

Despite an amended agenda, they still managed to have a one hour and a half (1½) meeting.

The BOC’s next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, April 21st

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

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


Receipt of Inlet and Beach Protection Board Report
Previously reported –
Ordinance 18-02 established the Inlet and Beach Protection Board
The Ordinance requires a written report from this Board

Agenda Packet –
February IBPB Meeting Update

The Inlet and Beach Protection Board (IBPB) met February 27 and the following issues and topics were discussed and addressed:

Status of the Beach and Inlets: Staff provided an overview of current and future projects, efforts and conditions, and issues relative to the beach strand and inlets. A copy of the Assistant Town Manager’s Report to the IBPB is attached.

BOC Dune Directive: The Board reviewed the task sent to the IBPB from the February BOC Meeting regarding dune protection. Dune protection issues and possible approaches were discussed. Members will submit 5-10 ideas (with sources) by March 5. These will be compiled into a draft for the next IBPB meeting.

Other Updates:

      • Member Pearson distributed a memo on the February MOA Meeting including updates from the Corps of Engineers on planned shallow draft inlet work.

Meeting Updates:

    • Brunswick County Shoreline Protection: The next meeting will be March 18, 2020.
    • The next IBPB meeting will be March 19,2020.

Assistant Town Manager’s report to the IBPB

The following is the status of the beach, inlets, and issues:

    • Sand Search – Had to find a new surveying company. Hoping to get the permits finalized by the end of April.
    • AIWW Crossing Project – The project is complete. Pipe was off the beach on Monday of this week with a few remaining pieces of heavy equipment to be moved. The beach looks good. Plan to get sand fence and vegetation established as soon as possible. The Holden Beach Renourishment Association will assist with some of the cost for sand fence.
    • UNCW – They have obtained LWF and Shallotte Inlet satellite imagery for a number of years from the Corps. One graduate student is compiling them in GIS and will soon begin the coastal digitizing process. The inlet analysis portion of the project will take the longest and will likely continue at least through the end of March. They hope to provide preliminary results once the analysis is complete.

In regard to the vegetation portion of the project, they have obtained imagery of Holden Beach from 2018 and a separate graduate student is working on classifying the imagery. They will not be sampling vegetation on the ground until closer to the summer. ATM provided GIS data on the five management zones.

    • Received and signed project worksheets for Florence and Michael. Staff has submitted the first monthly report on each storm as required with worksheet approval.
    • Received $177,437.96 for Irene. We think this is the closeout for this storm, but we may have to finalize paperwork for another final inspection. We are still waiting on final payment for Matthew.
    • Met with new project manager for Dorian. Signed DOD (Damage Description and Dimensions)/ Scope/ Cost for Dorian regarding Cat G -Beach losses. Our coastal engineer is estimating$14,914,698 losses out to depth-of-closure

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