Emerald Tidings

February 2011

  1. New 2011 Tax Values Released
  2. Please Share Your Budget Suggestions!
  3. Town Plans to Implement Parking Fee at Two Regiona Beach Access Facilities
  4. NCDOT Installs New Electronic Traffic Signs
  5. Parks & Recreation Department Implements New Online Registration System
  6. NCDOT Conducting Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Survey

New 2011 Tax Values Released

The Carteret County Tax Office recently completed the 2011 tax revaluation and mailed notices to all property owners to advise of the new 2011 tax values. 

Overall, the total property tax value for the Town of Emerald Isle decreased by approximately 30%, from approximately $4.3 billion to approximately $3 billion.  The overall property tax value for all of Carteret County decreased by approximately 20%, from approximately $18.2 billion to approximately $14.5 billion.  

FY 11-12 property tax bills will be calculated based on the new 2011 tax values and the property tax rates established by the Emerald Isle Board of Commissioners and the Carteret County Board of Commissioners when budgets are adopted in June 2011.  The 2011 tax values will also be used for the following 3 fiscal years until the next scheduled tax revaluation in 2015.

The Carteret County Tax Office will be conducting appeals over the next several months, and the results of those appeals will likely result in minor changes to the Town's total tax value.  Based on the total tax value, the Town's "revenue-neutral" property tax rate (the rate that will generate exactly the same amount of revenue for the Town) for the General Fund is likely to be in the 11.5 cent to 12 cent range (compared to 8 cents based on the 2007 tax values).  The "revenue-neutral" property tax rates for the new municipal service districts for future beach nourishment activities are expected to be approximately 4.5 cents for oceanfront and inlet-front properties (compared to the projected 3 cents based on the 2007 tax values), and approximately 1.5 cents for all others (compared to the projected 1 cent for based on the 2007 tax values). 

Town staff, the Town Manager, the Mayor, and the Board of Commissioners are all working hard to devise a FY 11-12 budget that maintains the "revenue-neutral" tax rates, despite the projected loss of approximately $430,000 of sales tax revenues in FY 11-12.  If the Board adopts a "revenue-neutral" tax rate, the annual Town tax bill for most property owners should remain about the same.
  Because tax values in Emerald Isle decreased by a larger percentage than Carteret County as a whole, most Emerald Isle property owners are likely to experience a decrease in their County tax bill if the Carteret County Board of Commissioners adopts a "revenue-neutral" tax rate.  Based on the total County tax value for 2011, the County's "revenue-neutral" tax rate is expected to be approximately 29 cents (compared to 23 cents based on the 2007 tax values). 
  To estimate your FY 11-12 tax bill that will be based on the new 2011 values, simply divide your new 2011 tax value by 100 and then multiply that number by the appropriate "revenue-neutral" tax rate.  (Make sure you include the decimal point.  For example, a $400,000 home divided by 100 = $4,000, and then multiply $4,000 times $0.12, which = a new tax bill of $480.)  This will provide a reasonably good estimate of your new tax bill in the future, which can be compared to your FY 10-11 tax bill.  

Please Share Your Budget Suggestions!

As noted above, the Town is already hard at work on the FY 11-12 budget.  Because of a projected loss of $430,000 of sales tax revenues, the Town is considering several significant budget reductions and service level changes as we attempt to maintain a "revenue-neutral" tax rate.
  If you have ideas on how the Town should adjust, reduce, or eliminate services and spending, we want to hear them.  Please send any suggestions to Town Manager Frank Rush at frush@emeraldisle-nc.org .  The Town welcomes all suggestions, and they will be thoroughly considered over the coming months. 
  Please note that the Town has already delayed new capital projects, and is currently only pursuing capital projects that are primarily funded by outside grants, contributions, and donations.  Examples of projects funded primarily by outside funds include the new public boat launching facility, multi-use (bicycle) path improvements, and park improvements.  

Town Plans to Implement Parking Fee at Two Regional Beach Access Facilities

Based on direction from the Board of Commissioners during the December 2010 and January 2011 Town meetings, Town staff are working on plans to implement a new daily parking fee at the Eastern Ocean Regional Access and Western Ocean Regional Access in 2011.  

The Board has preliminarily endorsed a plan to charge a $10 per vehicle, per day parking fee at these two facilities.  The fee would only be collected on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays between April 1 and September 30, and during daytime hours only.  Weekdays, evening hours, and off-season parking would continue to be provided free of charge.  The Town's smaller beach access parking areas would also continue to be provided free of charge.  Emerald Isle residents and taxpayers would be eligible for a free annual parking permit at the two regional access facilities.

The Town is pursuing the new parking fee to fund the annual operating costs for these two facilities, which have historically been funded by the Town's taxpayers and offered free of charge to our day visitors.  Because of increasing service demands at these facilities, the Town's annual operating costs have increased to nearly $100,000.  The Town incurs significant expenses to maintain clean and safe facilities, provide adequate Police presence, and provide adequate support for our visitors.  The Town strives to maintain these facilities in a first-class manner in a family-friendly atmosphere, and is now simply seeking to distribute the cost of these facilities to the users of these facilities.

The Board will make a final decision on this issue at the February 8 Town meeting.

NCDOT Installs New Electronic Traffic Signs

NCDOT is nearing completion of two new electronic traffic signs at each end of the NC 58 bridge to Emerald Isle.  The two new signs are physically in place now, but not yet activated.  The new signs will be activated in the coming weeks in time for the 2011 tourism season.

NCDOT's historical data indicates a high number of accidents on the bridge, and the new electronic signs will monitor the traffic conditions and display traffic information before motorists reach the bridge.  NCDOT is hopeful that the extra warnings provided by the new electronic signs will improve motorists' awareness and thereby result in fewer traffic accidents.

The new electronic signs will also be used to convey emergency information as needed in the future, including hurricane evacuation notices.

Parks & Recreation Department Implements New Online Registration System

The Town continually strives to make it easier for our customers to conduct business with the Town, including the expansion of our online services.  As part of this effort, the Parks & Recreation Department recently implemented a new online registration system.

The Town has partnered with Active Network to offer our customers the ability to register for classes, events, and activities, purchase a Community Center membership, and make secure online payments.  Please visit www.emeraldisle-nc.org/eiprd/default.htm and click on the green button on the right to use the new online registration system.  

Please share your feedback with Alesia Sanderson, Parks & Recreation Director, at asanderson@emeraldisle-nc.org or 252-354-6350.  Thanks!

NCDOT Conducting Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Survey

The Town remains committed to maintaining and expanding our bicycle path and sidewalk network, and to the overall promotion of bicycle and pedestrian activities in Emerald Isle.  The NC Department of Transportation has been a great partner with the Town on these activities, and continues their work on a statewide basis.  NCDOT's Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation is currently conducting an online survey on bicycle and pedestrian safety, and the survey can be accessed at  www.itre.ncsu.edu/Public/Bike-Ped-NCDOT-Survey.html .   Please take a few minutes to share your opinions with NCDOT!

Frank A. Rush, Jr.
Town Manager
Posted by Frank Rush Tuesday, February 1, 2011 4:22:00 PM