December 12, 2017

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

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

SUBJECT:           Comments from Town Manager - (Monthly Statistical Report)

Town Christmas Schedule – Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who lives in, owns property, visits regularly, or just loves Emerald Isle!  We are all incredibly blessed to be able to enjoy this special place!

Town offices will be closed on Monday, December 25, Tuesday, December 26, and Wednesday, December 27 in observance of Christmas.  The Community Center will be closed on Monday, December 25, but will be open on December 26 and 27.  Trash will NOT be collected on Monday, December 25 or Tuesday, December 26.  The regular collection schedule will resume on Wednesday, December 27.     

Town offices and the Community Center will be closed on Monday, January 1 in observance of New Year's Day.  Trash WILL be collected on Monday, January 1.  The regular collection schedule will be in effect otherwise.  Happy New Year! 

Special Budget Planning Meeting – Wednesday, December 20 @ 8:30 am

This meeting is intended to allow the Board to have a general, open-ended discussion about FY 18-19 budget priorities as Town staff prepare to begin the FY 18-19 budget process.  My intent is to receive general feedback from the Board at this meeting, and use that feedback to prepare more detailed reports for the traditional annual budget planning workshop meeting in February.

Design Services – Next Beach Nourishment Project

The Town continues to work with Greg Rudolph, Carteret County Shore Protection Officer, and the towns of Pine Knoll Shores and Indian Beach on early planning for a winter 2018-19 beach nourishment project in eastern Emerald Isle.  I hope to present a design services contract for Board consideration at the January or February Board meeting so that work can begin in earnest. 

Beach Access Walkway Replacements

Alesia Sanderson, Parks and Recreation Director, and I are currently evaluating bids for the construction of replacement beach access walkways at Fairfax, Beachview, and Whitewater, and hope to present a contract recommendation to the Board in January.  We will also be recommending a contract for the construction of a new walkway near West Landing Drive (to be funded with significant property owner contributions). 

Dog Park Committee

As of December 8, the Town has received emails from 18 individuals interested in serving on the Town’s new Dog Park Committee.  The deadline for individuals to express interest is January 3, and I hope to schedule formal Board appointments for the January or February meeting. 

We recommend a total committee membership of 7 or 9 individuals.  We will be following up with each individual who has expressed interest in serving, and will request more detailed information about their interest and background.  We will share this information with the Board in January.

Golf Cart Committee

As of December 8, the Town has received emails from 6 individuals interested in serving on the Town’s new Golf Cart Committee.  The deadline for individuals to express interest is January 3, and I hope to schedule formal Board appointments for the January or February meeting. 

We recommend a total committee membership of 7 or 9 individuals.  We will be following up with each individual who has expressed interest in serving, and will request more detailed information about their interest and background.  We will share this information with the Board in January.

RFP for Sale of Islander Drive Land

I expect to complete this document in the next week, and will then release it to several parties that have expressed interest in the land, other individuals in the development and construction industries, and the general public.  The RFP should be posted on the Town’s website no later than December 15.  My goal is to receive all proposals by early or mid-February, and then provide ample opportunity for the Board to review the proposals, identify the most attractive proposal for the Town, and then proceed with the sale of the 1.8 acre tract.

New Trails in McLean-Spell Park (30 Acre Tract Behind Town Government Complex)

Parks Maintenance Superintendent Ricky Lanier and I recently met with Jack McCabe, an Eagle Scout candidate, to review planned nature trail construction.  We are awaiting a formal plan from the Eagle Scouts, and I expect work to begin after January 1, with a goal to open the new nature trails to the public by March or April.  Town staff will assist as needed.

NC 58 Roundabout Construction / Detour

The contractor appears to be making good progress on the construction of the new roundabout, and no major problems have been encountered thus far. The detour appears to be working well thus far, and we appreciate the Emerald Isle community’s patience during construction.  I am hopeful that the new roundabout may be completed slightly earlier than the expected early March completion date, and much will likely depend on the weather in the coming weeks.  The construction of the new roundabout is being financed by Publix, and no Town funds are involved.

Thus far, large trucks have been using a separate detour on Crew Drive and Mallard Drive, however, the contractor expects to close Mallard Drive soon and begin directing large trucks through a temporary road on the Publix property.

Educational Class – Driving in Roundabouts

In anticipation of the completion of the new roundabout, Police Chief Reese is currently developing a new educational class for the public on driving in roundabouts.  We expect to present this class to the public in January and February.

Crew Drive Improvements

Curb and gutter and base-course asphalt are in place on Crew Drive in front of the new Publix grocery store, and the normal traffic pattern has been restored.  An additional, finish layer of asphalt will be added to the new road at the completion of the project.  These road improvements are being financed by Publix, and no Town funds are involved.

Public Art in Center of Roundabout

Publix has donated a bronze sculpture of blue herons that will be installed in the center of the roundabout in January or February.  Town staff will install the sculpture, and will also make other landscaping improvements to create an attractive feature in Emerald Isle.

Old Ferry Road Sidewalk

The FY 17-18 adopted budget includes a total of $30,000 for the construction of a new sidewalk along Old Ferry Road between CVS and Canal Drive, and we recently received a quote of $14,300 for this project.  We expect to award a contract in the coming days, and hope to complete the project by early January. 

New Golf Cart Path Along NC 58 Near Olde Cove Road

I am still awaiting NCDOT’s formal approval for this new path, and will schedule construction as soon as possible after the necessary permit is issued.  The new path will be a concrete path on the north side of NC 58 between Olde Cove Road and Whitewater Drive, and will likely be 8 feet wide.   The new path will be clearly marked as a golf cart path, and will remain effectively segregated from the NC 58 travel lanes and the NC 58 bicycle path.  

Comprehensive Land Use Plan Certification

New State rules allow for the Director of the NC Division of Coastal Management to certify local land use plans, rather than the full NC Coastal Resources Commission.  With the new streamlined process, we expect the Town’s plan to be officially certified in late December or January.

Charters of Freedom Monuments

I continue to work with Emerald Isle residents Doug and Erin Starcke on a project to install Charters of Freedom monuments at a public location in Emerald Isle.  The Charters of Freedom monuments include attractive monuments that include the text of the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.  The Starckes have requested that efforts be put on hold for now, with plans to revisit this project in the spring or summer.

Cape Emerald Pond Bulkhead

Work on this project is essentially complete, and is under budget.  The completion of this bulkhead should eliminate bank erosion concerns along the main pond, which is an integral part of the Town’s storm water management system for the Deer Horn / Sea Dunes / Ocean Oaks area.

New STOP Signs Along Lee Avenue and Sound Drive

Upon request from adjacent property owners, and as a trial program aimed at slowing traffic on Lee Avenue, the Town recently installed new all-way STOP signs at the intersection of Sound / Lee and Archers Creek / Lee.  If these new signs are effective and there is not significant objection from nearby residents, we will leave the signs in place and eventually add STOP bar pavement markings.  If the signs are not effective and/or there is significant objection from nearby residents, we will remove the signs after the trial period.

The Town has taken a similar approach in several other locations in the past, including Inlet / Channel, Reed / Islander, Reed / Loon, Sound / Cedar, and Ocean / 12th.  Please let me know if you receive significant objections or have other concerns. 

Demolition of House Destroyed by Fire on Heverly Court

A demolition permit has been issued for this house that was completely destroyed by a fire nearly one year ago, however, the work has been placed on hold by the owner.  Josh Edmondson, Town Planner, and I continue to work with the homeowner and the contractor to complete this demolition and restore the land to vacant status. 

New Pavement Markings on Coast Guard Road

The Town recently contracted for the repainting of the center yellow lines on Coast Guard Road, which had faded over the past couple of years.

Update for The Emerald Isle APP Released

The new update has been released, and should be more user-friendly and also more efficient for Town staff to update information.  The new version is also more customizable by the Town, allowing us to include incident-specific messages in a prominent manner on the main screen.  As of November 30, nearly 8,700 people have downloaded the EI APP.

“Downtown” Light Improvements?

I am still awaiting information from Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative about potential improvements to the “downtown” decorative lights.  The current lights utilize high pressure sodium bulbs that include a yellow color, and these lights were originally installed to match the existing, older lights on wood and concrete poles.  These older lights have since been removed, and there is now a desire to convert the “downtown” decorative lights to a white light – either metal halide or LED.  We also discussed the possibility of installing decorative banners on the existing poles in the future.  I plan to present information for the Board’s consideration at the FY 18-19 annual budget planning workshop in February.

Golf Cart Safety Classes Scheduled

The Police Department has scheduled the following golf cart safety classes, and attendance at one of these sessions will entitle the attendee to a $25 discount on the annual golf cart registration fee:

  • Saturday, January 13 @10 am,
  • Friday, January 19 @ 6 pm,
  • Friday, February 2 @ 6 pm, and
  • Saturday, February 3 @10 am. 

Coyote Trapping

Several coyote traps have been set on select Town-owned properties (away from areas frequented by the public) and participating private properties.  As of December 8, a total of 2 coyotes have been trapped. 

The authorized coyote trapping season runs from December 1 – February 28, and EIPD will arrange for trappers to provide services on any private properties that are interested.  Interested property owners should contact the Emerald Isle Police Department to learn more and coordinate trapping activities. 

New Position to Assist Town Administration and Town Planner

I continue to work to identify sufficient funds in the FY 17-18 budget to add a new position to assist Town administrative staff and the Town Planner, and hope to present a recommendation to the Board at the January or February meeting.

Annual Meeting With Vacation Rental Agencies

I have not yet had time to schedule this helpful annual meeting, but hope to convene the group sometime later in December or January.  I greatly appreciate the cooperative relationship between the Town and the EI vacation rental agencies, and always value their feedback.

New Firefighter Position

We have filled the 3rd new firefighter position, and will introduce Clair Atchinson, our newest Town employee, to the Board and the public at the January meeting. 

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

Planning is underway for the 5th annual event, to be held on Saturday, March 10, which is earlier than usual this year due to calendar conflicts with the St. Patrick’s Festival, other marathons in our area, and the Easter holiday.  We hope to attract another big crowd in Emerald Isle this year!

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 continue planning for another big crowd and great kickoff to the tourism season!

Beach Music Festival Generates Small Surplus

Final accounting for the Beach Music Festival has been completed, and the event generated a small surplus of nearly $3,500.  These funds will be reserved for expenses associated with the 2018 event.

Small Area Storm Water Improvements

Public Works is currently working to install drainage improvements on Doe Drive (closer to Coast Guard Road), and route the water to the Doe Drive fixed storm water pump.  We hope to complete this small project in the coming weeks.  Following completion of this project, Public Works will begin installation of a new storm water relay pump at the Wyndward Court cul-de-sac, and route this water to the Town’s fixed storm water pump at Island Circle.

Public Works staff will also be installing a new storm water relay pump in the cul-de-sac on Sunset Lane to address chronic nuisance flooding.  This water will be routed to a Town easement between Bogue Sound Drive and Sunset Lane.  We hope to complete this work by early February.