Emerald Tidings

March 2015

  1. All Vacation Rental Units Must Collect and Remit Room Occupancy Tax
  2. Town Begins Work on FY 15-16 Budget
  3. EI Fire Department Recruiting Lifeguards, Beach Patrol Members
  4. Beach Access Walkway Improvements in Progress
  5. Coast Guard Road Resurfacing Scheduled for March
  6. Bike Path Repairs Nearing Completion
  7. Jean Preston Memorial Playground Receives Big Contribution!
  8. Crystal Coast Lighthouse Challenge Bike Rides - May 2, 2015
  9. Emerald Isle Marathon, Half-Marathon, & 5K Races - March 28, 2015
  10. Don't Miss the 2015 Emerald Isle St. Patrick's Festival
  11. Did You Know?

All Vacation Rental Units Must Collect and Remit Room Occupancy Tax

State law requires that all vacation rental units collect applicable room occupancy tax, and remit such tax to Carteret County.  The law applies to ALL vacation rental  units, including those offered through management companies and those offered through online services (www.vrbo.com and other similar sites).  It is the responsibility of the vacation rental unit owner to collect and remit a 6% room occupancy tax on all accommodations.

To learn more, and to register your vacation rental with Carteret County, please contact James Charlesworth (jamesc@carteretcountync.gov  or  252-728-8410) or Gayle Parker (gparker@emeraldisle-nc.org  or  252-354-3424).  

The Carteret County room occupancy tax proceeds are used exclusively for two purposes that directly benefit the vacation rental industry - tourism advertising / promotion  AND  beach nourishment.  Both of these purposes are vital to the economic success of our community, and County and Town staff are working hard to insure tax fairness for all vacation rental owners.  

Thank you for your cooperation!

Town Begins Work on FY 15-16 Budget

Existing Resources Strategically Reallocated for Higher Priority Town Goals

The Mayor, Board of Commissioners, Town Manager, and Town staff are already hard at work on the FY 15-16 budget.  The FY 15-16 budget will be finalized by the Board in June, and will provide funding for Town operations for the period from July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016.  The Board recently held its annual budget planning workshop meeting, and provided direction to the Town Manager and staff on its goals for FY 15-16.  

The Board directed the Town Manager to work toward a budget that relies on a "revenue-neutral" tax rate for FY 15-16.  With the new tax values taking effect, the "revenue-neutral" tax rate is likely to be somewhere between 15.5 and 16 cents (depending on the outcome of appeals), and would generate the exact same amount of property tax revenues (approximately $4.2 million) for the Town in FY 15-16 as the current year's 14 cent rate (based on the old tax values).  

With the Town continuing to operate with limited resources and our emphasis on maintaining the lowest possible tax rate, the Board recently approved three key strategies to reallocate existing Town resources for higher priority Town goals.  These changes will enable the Town organization to provide better, more cost-effective services in key areas without relying on new funding.  First, the Town has eliminated two full-time Customer Service Assistant positions in the Police Department, and has replaced these two positions with an additional Police Officer to patrol our community. The Customer Service Assistants provided general customer service in the Police Department during evening and weekend hours, and call volumes have dropped significantly since the Town's transition to the consolidated Carteret County E911 Center four years ago.  Part-time staff will still be available to assist the public in the Police Station, however, the hours of service have been scaled back, and no one will man the Police Station during late night hours.  All non-emergency calls to 252-354-2021 will be automatically routed to the Carteret County E911 Center in the absence of Emerald Isle staff, and callers can also use 252-726-1911 for all non-emergency calls. For emergencies, please dial 911.

The Town also continues its emphasis on the aesthetic quality of the community, and the Board approved the conversion of an existing Recreation Coordinator position to a new Parks Maintenance Worker (in the Parks and Recreation Department).  The new Parks Maintenance Worker will help to maintain and improve the appearance of the NC 58 corridor, Town parks and facilities, and beach access walkways.  Town staff work extremely hard to keep Emerald Isle looking as good as possible, and this change will help us in these efforts. 

Finally, the Town is poised to continue its contractual relationship with Carteret County for building inspections services.  The County has been providing building inspections services for the Town since November 2014, and the arrangement has worked very well for both parties thus far.  The Town will soon hire a new Town Planner to oversee and coordinate the development review process for the Town, and this Town staff person will work closely with County building inspectors in the future.  Development proposals will continue to be received by the Town Planner, who will review for consistency with Town ordinance requirements and then coordinate with County staff for enforcement of NC building code requirements.  This arrangement is expected to result in savings for the Town of Emerald Isle, and also additional revenues for Carteret County.  

These changes will be fully implemented in April and May 2015. 


EI Fire Department Recruiting Lifeguards, Beach Patrol Members

Town staff are busy gearing up for a big 2015 summer season, and the EI Fire Department is currently recruiting for lifeguards and beach patrol members.  The Town maintains a summer staff of 10 - 12 personnel, and provides fixed lifeguards at the Town's two large beach access facilities, along with two roving beach patrol members on ATVs each day between mid-May and mid-September.

 If you are interested in joining our team, please visit  http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/employment.html  and/or contact Fire Captain Jeff Strawser at jstrawser@emeraldisle-nc.org  or  252-354-2445.


Beach Access Walkway Improvements In Progress

The Town's contractor has begun work to replace three beach access walkways at 1st Street, Tracy Street, and Shell Drive.  All work is expected to be complete in April, in time for the 2015 summer season. 

The Town maintains more than 60 public beach access walkways, and strives to replace two or three of these walkways annually.  The Town typically budgets $50,000 annually for this work.  The Town maintains a condition-rating for each of the Town's public beach access walkways, and allocates funding for those in greatest need of replacement. 

Coast Guard Road Resurfacing Scheduled for March

The resurfacing of Coast Guard Road, originally planned for fall 2014, is now expected to be completed in March 2015.  Weather permitting, the segment from Dolphin Ridge Road to Ring Street will be resurfaced prior to the end of March, and vehicle travel lanes will be shifted back to the center of the asphalt pavement, resulting in a narrow asphalt shoulder on each side of Coast Guard Road.  

Resurfacing activities may result in minor traffic delays, however, no significant impacts are expected. 

Bike Path Repairs Nearing Completion

NC 58 bike path repairs on the new segment between the Indian Beach town limits and 25th Street are nearing completion, and we expect to have all repaired areas resurfaced by the end of March.  The Town greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of adjacent property owners and bike path users as we have worked to correct these issues.  

Jean Preston Memorial Playground Fundraising Receives Big Contribution!

Fundraising efforts for the new Senator Jean Preston Memorial Playground got a big boost recently from a $25,000 contribution from The Rouse Family Foundation, and the total amount raised thus far is nearly $33,000!  The volunteer committee leading this effort is targeting a total of $75,000 to construct the new playground on Town-owned land just west of the public boat ramp facility.  The location includes a beautiful view of Bogue Sound, and will include new playground equipment, a picnic shelter, an open grassy area, and additional parking.  

To contribute to this effort, please visit  http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/Playground/default.htm . Additionally, local artist Barry Knauff has donated 3 original paintings to this effort, with proceeds donated to the Jean Preston Memorial Playground.  To view and bid on the paintings, please visit  http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/CommunityNotice/CommunityNotice%20-%20auction-jeanprestonplayground.htm .


Crystal Coast Lighthouse Challenge Bike Rides - May 2, 2015

Get your bike ready, and join us for the inaugural Crystal Coast Lighthouse Challenge bike rides on Saturday, May 2!  

The inaugural Crystal Coast Lighthouse Challenge includes three rides to challenge bikers of all levels. The premier ride of the day is an 85 mile roundtrip ride down Bogue Banks, through Morehead City, Beaufort and Down East Carteret County to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse (at least as close as you can get on a bicycle).  For those seeking less challenging bike outings, there are out and back rides to the Civil War site at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach (41 miles) and to the North Carolina Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores (25 miles).

All three rides will begin at 8 AM at the Emerald Isle Community Center!  To learn more and to register, please visit http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/CommunityNotice/CommunityNotice%20-%202015BiketheBanks.htm . Proceeds benefit bicycle and pedestrian projects in Emerald Isle!

Emerald Isle Marathon, Half-Marathon, & 5K Races - March 28, 2015

The inaugural Emerald Isle Marathon (26.2 miles), and the 2nd annual Half-Marathon (13.1 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles) races will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2015!  Learn more and sign up today at  http://www.emeraldislerun.com/ !

Last year's event (Half-Marathon and 5K only) raised a total of $42,000 for bicycle path improvements in Emerald Isle, and this year's event is expected to surpass that total with the addition of a full marathon.  Proceeds from the 2015 event will be shared equally between the American Heart Association and the Town's bicycle path network. 

The Marathon and Half-Marathon are each limited to 1,000 runners, and the 5K is capped at 500 runners.  The earlier you sign up, the better your chances of getting in, and the lower the registration fee!  We hope to see you on March 28 on what we hope will be a beautiful spring day in Emerald Isle.  Bring your family and friends along for a great early beach weekend! 

Don't Miss the 2015 Emerald Isle St. Patrick's Festival - March 14, 2015

Please join us for Emerald Isle's signature event on Saturday, March 14 from 9 am - 6 pm at Emerald Plantation Shopping Center!  Live music, kids rides, arts and crafts vendors, specialty foods, a beer tent, and much more!  For complete information, please visit  http://emeraldislestpatricksfestival.com/ .

Special thanks to Transportation Impact and all of our great local sponsors for helping to make this event better than ever!  We are expecting crowds in excess of 20,000 people in Emerald Isle for the 24th annual event!

Please note that, despite earlier reports to the contrary, strollers ARE permitted at the St. Patrick's Festival!

Did You Know?

After the implementation of the changes noted above, the Town of Emerald Isle will be staffed by a total of 54 full-time positions in FY 15-16.  This is down from a peak of 63 authorized full-time positions in FY 07-08.  Town staff continue to seek more cost-effective strategies to provide Town services and new amenities. 


Posted by VC3 Admin Sunday, March 1, 2015 10:01:00 AM