August 9, 2016
MEMO TO: Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners
FROM: Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager
SUBJECT: Comments from Town Manager - Monthly Statistical Report
Comprehensive Plan / Land Use Plan – Special Public Input Meeting
The special public input meeting is scheduled Saturday, August 20 from 10 am – 1 pm in the Community Center gymnasium. We will continue to publicize this meeting, which is being held on a Saturday to hopefully encourage absentee property owners to also attend.
Following this meeting, the steering committee will consider the background information assembled, the online survey results, the input received at the August 20 meeting, and their own insights, and begin to update the Town’s development policies and future goals.
Osprey Ridge Pump Station
Design work is nearly complete, and we expect to solicit informal bids during the week of August 8. I hope to have all bids in hand by September 1 in order to present a construction contract recommendation to the Board at the September 13 meeting. Our goal is to have the new pump station operational by January 1 or soon thereafter.
We are planning staff from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission at the September 13 meeting to discuss the management options developed by Police Chief Waters and distributed to the Board earlier this summer. If the Board decides to pursue the elimination of coyotes, efforts will likely be scheduled for January and/or February 2017.
Property Tax Bills Set to Go Out
Tax Collector Gayle Parker and Finance Director Laura Rotchford are finalizing the 2016 property tax bills, and the bills should be in the mail by August 15, if not sooner. For the first time, the Town is using a private mailing contractor to generate and mail the bills.
Beach Driving Permits On Sale Beginning August 15
Beach driving season begins on September 15, and Town staff will begin selling annual permits on August 15.
2016 has been a record year for sea turtle nests in Emerald Isle, with a total of 49 nests discovered so far this year. Depending on how many nests remain in mid-September, it may be necessary to close certain small areas of the beach strand for a short period of time.
Lifeguard Services, Parking Fees End in September
Labor Day (Monday, September 5) will be the last day of lifeguard services at the two regional beach access facilities and on ATVs for 2016. The final day for daily parking fees at the regional beach access facilities will be Sunday, September 11.
Community Center Security System Installed
A new video security system was installed in the Community Center in July, and is now fully functional. We hope to install a similar system in the Town Administration Building in the next year.
New Beach Wheelchairs
The Town recently received two new beach wheelchairs, and now has a total of 7 available for daily use on a first-come, first-serve basis. This program remains very popular, and all 7 are checked out by mid-morning on most summer days.
Bogue Inlet Navigation Dredging
All local governments have approved funding requests, and a total of $262,500 is available for future dredging in Bogue Inlet connecting channel and ocean bar. The total is $37,500 less than the $300,000 targeted because Onslow County contributed only $35,000 instead of the $47,500 requested, which also reduced the State contribution by $25,000.
We are awaiting new survey results from the Corps of Engineers, which will determine if the Corps pursues the new connecting channel delineation in the center of Bogue Inlet. We remain hopeful that the Corps will complete a new dredging event in Bogue Inlet prior to fall fishing season.
Carteret County Sales Tax Referendum – Navigation Dredging Funding
Carteret County has scheduled a new sales tax referendum for November, with proceeds earmarked for navigation dredging throughout the County. The proposed ¼ cent sales tax increase could generate nearly $3 million annually for navigation dredging. I expect that the Town will be asked to consider a resolution supporting the referendum in September or October.
New Beach Access Walkway Adjacent to The Point Vehicle Ramp
We have awarded a contract for the construction of the new walkway to B&P Services, Cedar Point, NC, in the amount of $13,480. The FY 16-17 budget includes $15,000 for the new walkway, which will be located on the north side of the vehicle ramp. B&P has committed to complete the walkway prior September 15, the start of beach driving season.
Bogue Inlet Drive Bicycle Path
Alesia Sanderson, Parks and Recreation Director, Ken Stone, Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Chairman, and I will be working to determine the best layout for the new Bogue Inlet Drive bicycle path in the coming weeks. I hope to finalize plans by September, and present a construction contract recommendation to the Board by November at the latest.
Discussions with CVS Regarding Aesthetic Improvements, Better Traffic Flow
I have made initial contact, and plan to discuss possible aesthetic and traffic flow improvements with CVS management in the coming weeks. I remain hopeful that we can reach agreement on the construction of a more defined driveway system, ideally with a new sidewalk in that area, and also encourage aesthetic improvements to the existing building.
Rusty Pelican Sign
As you know, the Rusty Pelican was demolished last winter by the property owner, immediately after the Board approved an order directing staff to proceed with demolition. Unfortunately, the owner left the old sign post and frame on the property, and we have received complaints about the sign post and frame. I have asked Josh Edmondson, Town Planner, to contact the owner to encourage the removal of the sign post and frame.
Realtor Sign, Coastal Awnings Sign
Josh Edmondson continues to work with both sign owners to have them removed due to the fact that neither business has a physical location in Emerald Isle, as required by the Town’s sign ordinance.
Joint Meeting with Planning Board?
Josh Edmondson will be organizing another training session for the Planning Board in September to better educate the new members about the various provisions in the Unified Development Ordinance. I think it would be helpful to also have the Board of Commissioners attend this meeting, and then spend some time in general discussion with the Planning Board so that the Planning Board can better understand the Board of Commissioners’ philosophy and goals for regulating new development in Emerald Isle in the future. Please let me know your thoughts on this idea.
Cape Emerald Pipe Expansion / Replacement
I have not yet been able to devote time to this project, but still hope to solicit informal quotes for this work later in August or September. I remain hopeful that the budgeted amount will be sufficient to award a contract in September or October. Permit authorization is still necessary, but we don’t anticipate any hurdles.
New Deer Population Estimate
Police Chief Jeff Waters will be working with NC Wildlife Resources Commission staff to complete a new deer population estimate in September. This new estimate will be used to determine the need for another controlled deer hunt in January / February 2017.
Nies v. Emerald Isle
The Town’s brief to the NC Supreme Court was submitted on July 27. Amicus briefs were submitted by all 8 oceanfront counties, all 21 oceanfront municipalities, the NC Departments of Environmental Quality / Commerce / Cultural Resources, the NC Coastal Resources Commission, the NC Attorney General, the NC Beach – Inlet - and Waterway Association, the NC Vacation Rental Managers Association, the NC Travel and Tourism Coalition, the Surfrider Foundation, the NC Beach Buggy Association, the NC Coastal Federation, and the NC Wildlife Federation.
The plaintiff’s attorney will now have an opportunity to respond to the Town’s brief later this month. It is expected that the NC Supreme Court will hear oral arguments sometime in October or November, with a decision expected sometime in spring 2017.
Police Community Relations Officer
The Police Department will be working to fill the new Community Relations Officer position in the coming weeks, and we hope to have the new officer begin work sometime in September. It is likely that the new position will be filled from among the existing EIPD staff, and that one of the reserve Police Officers will then be promoted to a full-time position in EIPD.
Transfer of Golf Cart Program Exclusively to Police Department
As discussed during the FY 16-17 budget process, we are planning to transfer the application, permit issuance, and fee collection components of the golf cart program from Town Administration staff to EIPD staff this fall. Town Administration and EIPD staff will likely make this transition in October.
Emerald Isle Woods Walkway
I am planning to award this small project to B&P Services, Cedar Point, NC this fall to construct a low-profile elevated walkway over wetland areas at Emerald Isle Woods Park. The new walkway will create a safer and more user friendly park trail, and will make it much easier to monitor storm water levels in EI Woods Park and flows between Cape Emerald and EI Woods Park. Total cost of the work is approximately $7,000.
Cape Emerald Pipe Failure
A private storm water pipe in Cape Emerald recently failed, in part, due to poor workmanship by the Town’s contractor on a Town storm water pipe in 2012. I am still working to secure compensation from Southeast Pipe Survey, the Town’s contractor for the original work on the Town storm water pipe, but have not yet resolved this issue.
Town Dumpster Service
I continue to review different options for dumpster service at condominium complexes. The Town’s existing contract with Waste Industries expires on December 31, 2016, and has an annual value of approximately $80,000. I hope to make a recommendation to the Board at either the October or November meeting.
New Small Storm Water Relay Pumps – 6400 Block
Public Works has completed much of the work for this new system, however, a high water table has prevented them from installing the pump housing. I am hopeful this work will be completed in the next few weeks.
NC 58 Traffic Improvements
NC 58 traffic improvements at the Bogue Inlet Drive intersection, Coast Guard Road intersection, Emerald Plantation intersection, and at the NC 24 intersection have all scored well, and were included on the priority list for both the Carteret County Transportation Committee and the DownEast Rural Planning Organization. I remain hopeful that these projects will ultimately be included in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program when it is released later this year. I remain hopeful that the projects will be scheduled for construction sometime in the next 5 years.
Potential Partnership To Provide Staff Assistance for Emerald Isle Business Association
I have not yet had an opportunity to pursue this idea, but still hope to develop a cost-effective plan to create a paid staff position for the EIBA, ideally in partnership with the Tourism Development Authority. I envision that such a new position would better promote EI to our visitors and potential visitors, help with existing special events (i.e., St. Patrick’s Festival, Christmas Parade, etc.), help with new events (i.e., new “EI Beach Music Festival”, etc.), organize special shopping experiences among Emerald Isle businesses (i.e., Christmas shopping deals throughout the entire Town), and better galvanize the brick-and-mortar businesses in Emerald Isle.
Design Students to Develop Plan for Additional “Downtown” Streetscape Improvement
I am still planning to contact the NC State School of Design in the coming weeks to hopefully arrange a student project to recommend and develop graphics illustrating additional streetscape improvements in Emerald Isle. The project would be focused on the area between the Welcome Center and the Town Government complex.