February 13, 2018

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Comments from Town Manager - Monthly Statistical Report

Annual Budget Planning Workshop – Monday, February 19

The Board’s annual budget planning workshop is scheduled for Monday, February 19, and will begin at 8:30 am in the Town Administration Building Conference Room.  Town staff and I are working to finalize the agenda packet for this meeting, and I will distribute the packets to the Board no later than the end of day on February 16. 

Emerald Isle Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K Races – March 10, 2018

We are less than 4 weeks away from the 5th annual event, to be held on Saturday, March 10.  Approximately 400 runners have registered thus far, and we are hopeful that we’ll receive several hundred more registrations as the date gets closer.  This year’s event is earlier than usual due to calendar conflicts with the St. Patrick’s Festival, other marathons in our area, and the Easter holiday, and we believe this has impacted the number of registrations.

Emerald Isle St. Patrick’s Festival – March 17, 2018

The Town’s signature festival will be held for the 27th time on the actual St. Patrick’s Day holiday.  Parks and Recreation staff are hard at work planning for another great event in Emerald Isle.  As in the past few years, children’s rides will also be open on Friday, March 16 from 5 pm – 10 pm. 

Temporary Loan of 1920s Original Master Plan for Emerald Isle

The WB McLean Trust / Paxon Holz was kind enough to temporarily loan the original 1920s Master Plan for Emerald Isle to the Town, and it will be on display in the Town Board Meeting Room for the next several weeks.  It is very interesting!

NC 58 Roundabout Construction Nearing Completion

The roundabout remains on schedule to open no later than March 1.  Town staff and volunteers from Yardworks Landscapes will be installing the heron statue and other landscaping features in the center of the roundabout this week. 

“Ins and Outs of Roundabouts” Class / Other Public Information Efforts

EIPD presented the first class on February 5, and two additional classes are scheduled for February 16 and February 24.  I also hope to distribute public information on proper movement through the roundabout later this month to better educate the public. 

Essentially, the most important things for drivers to remember are  1) always yield to the driver already in the roundabout,  2) as you approach the roundabout, simply follow the pavement markings and signage for the correct lane you want to be in (just like any other intersection), and  3) make a right turn out of the roundabout at the exit point you desire.  

Publix Construction Nearing Completion

Construction of the new store is nearing completion, and the associated street improvements are expected to be complete by March 1.  The new Publix grocery store is expected to open to the public in late March.

New Public Water Access Grant Cycle

The NC Division of Coastal Management recently issued a “call for grant applications” for the 2018 Public Water Access grant program.  Pre-applications are due by April 9, and approximately $1 million will be awarded to recipients in the 20 coastal counties.  Please let me know if you have specific public access ideas that you’d like us to consider developing for this year’s grant program.  The local match for this grant program is 15% for land acquisition and 25% for improvements to existing sites.  One idea I’ve been contemplating is a potential lot purchase near The Point to expand parking opportunities in that area – essentially to create another facility similar to the Station Street Park.

Installment Financing Agreement – McLean-Spell Park Land Purchase

We continue to anticipate the release of more than $2.5 million of Federal and State grant funds later this spring, and the Town will be required to remit its share of the land acquisition cost at that time.  As reviewed by the Board at the September 2017 meeting, the Town’s total share of the cost will be approximately $500,000 - $530,000, and will likely be financed over a 10-year period.  The estimated annual debt service payment will likely be in the $60,000+/- range.  A public hearing is required before entering into an installment financing agreement, and will likely be scheduled for the Board’s March 13 meeting.

Federal and State Grant Funds for McLean-Spell Park Land Purchase

The Conservation Fund, Town Attorney Richard Stanley, and I have been working with officials at MCAS Cherry Point on the easement language associated with the Federal grant awarded for this land purchase.  We have essentially finalized the easement language, which retains Town flexibility for active recreational facilities on 10 acres of the overall 30-acre tract.  Once the Federal grant funds are released, State grant funds will be released and the conveyance from The Conservation Fund to the Town can occur.  This conveyance must occur by June 30, and I am working to complete the conveyance earlier than that date. 

Development of Nature Trails at McLean-Spell Park

We are awaiting approval from Eagle Scout leaders for this project, and once that approval is secured the Eagle Scout candidates will work with Parks Maintenance staff to complete the planned nature trails.  I hope to have this work completed in the next couple of months, and formally open the new park to the public before May 1.

Islander Drive Land Proposals Due February 16

The request for proposals (RFP) was released in mid-December, and has been forwarded to several interested parties, posted on the Town’s website, and included in the Town’s email newsletter.  Proposals are due to the Town by Friday, February 16.  I am optimistic that the Town will receive several quality proposals for the Board to review. 

Beach Access Walkway Construction Continues / Lee Avenue Steps?

The construction of the new beach access walkway at West Landing Drive is complete, and the Town’s contractor is currently working on the Fairfax Drive walkway.  Work on the Whitewater Drive and Beachview Drive walkways begin upon completion of Fairfax Drive.

Additionally, I have secured a quote for the construction of new steps to provide easier access to Bogue Sound at the end of Lee Avenue.  The total cost for new steps is $8,000, and if the Board is comfortable with this quote I will award a contract soon.

Old Ferry Road Sidewalk Complete

The Town’s contractor has completed this new sidewalk segment, and we are pleased to add another pedestrian improvement in the Town. 

New Golf Cart Path Along NC 58 Near Olde Cove Road To Be Constructed Soon

I met again recently with NCDOT staff to finalize the location of the new golf cart path.  I hope to secure the formal permit in the next two weeks and begin construction soon thereafter.  Actual construction should not take more than a week or two at the most, and my goal is to complete the path no later than the end of March.     

NCDOT Evaluating NC 58 / Bogue Inlet Drive Intersection Improvements

I am currently working with NCDOT to schedule small group meetings with “downtown” business owners sometime in March to discuss potential improvements to NC 58 in this area.  Following that input, NCDOT will likely further develop its plans and then solicit general public input on potential improvements in this area.  The NC 58 / Bogue Inlet Drive intersection improvements are planned for 2025 in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), however, NCDOT is working to “bump up” the construction schedule for many smaller projects like this one.  I am optimistic that any improvements will be constructed much sooner than 2025, but I would not expect any construction earlier than 2019 or 2020, at the earliest.

More Golf Cart Safety Classes Added

In an effort to make the class as accessible as possible to our absentee property owners, the Police Department has scheduled several more golf cart safety classes this spring.  Additional dates are as follows:

  • Saturday, March 3, 2018 @ 10:00am
  • Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 6:00pm
  • Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 10:00am
  • Saturday, April 7, 2018 @ 10:00am
  • Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 6:00pm
  • Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 10:00am
  • Saturday, May 5, 2018 @ 10:00am
  • Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 10:00am
  • Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 6:00pm

Golf cart owners who attend the class are eligible for a $25 discount on the annual golf cart registration fee (reducing the fee from $100 to $75).    

New Golf Cart Advisory Committee to Meet in Late March

Due to other workload demands, we have intentionally delayed the first meeting of the Golf Cart Advisory Committee until sometime in late March (after the Marathon races and the St. Patrick’s Festival).  A specific meeting date will be announced soon, and the 7 appointees will be notified well in advance.

New Dog Park Development Committee to Meet in Late March / Dog Park Petition Received

Due to other workload demands, we have intentionally delayed the first meeting of the Dog Park Development Committee until sometime in late March (after the Marathon races and the St. Patrick’s Festival).  A specific meeting date will be announced soon, and the 7 appointees will be notified well in advance.

Additionally, an Emerald Isle resident recently presented a petition requesting a new dog park in Emerald Isle, and a copy of the petition is attached.  

Police Department Body Cameras Implemented

The new body cameras are expected to be fully implemented and in use by EIPD officers this week.

EIFD Recruiting for Fire Engineer Position

Due to a recent resignation, the Fire Department is currently recruiting a Fire Engineer.  Interested applicants should contact Fire Chief Walker.

Coyote Trapping Program Continues

A total of 12 coyotes have been removed since December 1, and trapping efforts continue on Town-owned properties and three private properties who requested trapping services.  We will continue this effort through February 28.

New “Welcome to Emerald Isle” Sign Ordered

We have ordered the new “Welcome to Emerald Isle” sign, and hope to have this new sign installed prior to St. Patrick’s Festival weekend, or soon thereafter.  The new sign will be a wooden, sand-blasted sign that includes the Emerald Isle logo and “Nice Matters” (sign copy attached).  The sign is approximately 14 feet wide and 5 feet tall (comparable to the existing sign).  A new flagpole and uplighting will also be installed.

Town Making Progress on “Gateway” Area Flowers, Uplighting

Parks and Recreation staff are currently working on plans for the planting of new flowers and installation of “up-lighting” on selected trees in the NC 58 “Gateway” area near the bridge.  Commissioner Finch, with his background as an electrical contractor, has graciously offered to donate his services for the electrical work, and we greatly appreciate his assistance.  I hope to have these improvements completed no later than April or early May.  

NC 58 Sidewalk Repairs

We have retained a concrete contractor to replace several damaged sidewalk panels in the NC 58 sidewalk between Emerald Plantation and Mangrove Drive, and this work is ongoing.  We hope to gradually replace damaged sidewalk panels in other sidewalk areas as funds permit in the future.

Fire Department Working on Lifeguard Recruitment

Fire Department staff are currently working to recruit 16 – 17 lifeguards for the summer 2018 season, and interested applicants are advised to contact FD staff at Station 1 anytime.  The Fire Department also continues to develop a “Host Family” program whereby interested residents would “host” a summer lifeguard in their home – free of charge.  Thus far, we have identified one resident interested in participating in the program, and hope to identify others in the coming weeks. 

Heverly Drive House Remnants Removed

The remnants of this fire-destroyed house have been removed, and the lot has been restored to vacant status.

Sunset Lane Storm Water Improvements

This project is in a holding pattern due to permitting issues, and Town staff are working with the adjacent property owner’s engineer and NC Division of Coastal Management staff to identify an acceptable design adjustment.

Wyndward Court Storm Water Improvements

Public Works hopes to begin work on this project later this month, and plans to install a small electrical pump to relay storm water from the Wyndward Court cul-de-sac over to the Town’s large storm water pump on Island Circle.  

July 4 Fireworks

The Town’s long-time fireworks vendor recently informed the Town that the cost of the annual July 4 fireworks display will increase by 10% this year, from $17,500 to $19,250.  This is the first increase since 2011.  Since 2011, fireworks costs have been shared by the Town ($11,250) and Bogue Inlet Pier ($6,250), however, the pier owner has requested that the Town consider paying a larger share of the total cost in the future.  The Board should note that State fireworks regulations require the pier to close around mid-day on July 4, thus eliminating a high revenue day for the pier, and the Town has always appreciated Bogue Inlet Pier’s willingness to absorb this loss in order to enable the set-up of the fireworks.