I recently made the following comments in a State of the Town talk.
Good evening. It is great to see all of you tonight. Emerald Isle has been in the making for the last 50 years. We will celebrate our 50th Anniversary of incorporation in 2007. I want to thank all of you for your part in making Emerald Isle the great place that it is. I am really excited about where we are today, and where we are headed.
Today I would say the three top issues facing the Town are 1) storm water control, 2) improved police facilities, and 3) improved EMS facilities not necessarily in that order. Police and EMS both provide outstanding services, but the facilities they occupy are way overdue for replacement.
Now for what has happened over the last year in no particular order.
- When federal funding was not available, the Town Manager was the driving force in getting local counties and municipalities to join together and fund the intercoastal and inlet connecting channel dredging projects. We continue to work on securing federal funds for future maintenance.
- Dredged the canal near Bogue Sound Drive mostly with grant funds.
- Improved several soundside access points with construction of bulkheads at several street ends in the eastern part of town.
- Improved 3rd Street Park parking area.
- Completed the bike path from Merchants Park to Live Oak Street, the sidewalk from Emerald Landing to Coast Guard Road, and a new pedestrian bridge over the canal on Holly Street.
- Completed Emerald Isle Woods Park with bathhouse, picnic facilities, soundside pier, etc.
- Paved and put in new storm water control at Western Ocean Regional Access.
- Resurfaced tennis courts, replaced fence, and improved children’s playground.
- Signed agreement ensuring delivery of storm water pumps within 24 hours when needed because of flooding
- Tax rate remained at 15.5 cents, one of the lowest, especially considering the services received.
- Secured a conservation easement from the Martha Howe Family to ensure vegetative appearance on north side of Emerald Drive as you enter town.
- Randy Hebert, Chris Johns, Michael Solomon, and Laura Wagstaff received awards from the Carteret County Mayors Committee for Person’s with Disabilities. Dinner was held in Beaufort. Much of the organization was done by Kim Hebert, Jackie Getsinger, and Molly Saitta. The dinners served by 9 young people, mostly from Emerald Isle. I was extremely proud of our town’s participation.
- Village East and Village West – As suggested in the CAMA Land Use Plan, we hired a consultant to get citizen input on possible new ordinances for development in these two areas. This resulted in ordinance revisions for the Village East area and possible revisions for Village West in early 2007.
- Kids Day sponsored by Police Department in August and another Kid’s Day sponsored by Parks and Rec in September. Additional expanded youth programs such as free-flick night, additional Halloween activities, and the free children’s electronic fingerprinting program (part of amber alert); and of course our Christmas Parade the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Town Departments have done citizen involvement programs for years, but they outdid themselves this year.
- Bid and awarded a new trash contract with Simmons and Simmons that will provide twice a week trash pickup year round, once a week recycling pickup, and roll-back with a reasonable increase in cost. Service will start January 2, 2007. Solid waste fee increased from $150 to $175. Simmons and Simmons was easily the low bidder of the 3 bids.
- Accretion at The Point - more than 700 feet of new beach in place, which allowed for reopening of the ramp at The Point
- Traffic improvements planned this winter for Coast Guard Road /Emerald Drive intersection. Bids should be going out in early November and assuming reasonable bids, contract will be awarded in December.
- Received CAMA grants matched by town funds to construct handicap beach accesses/viewing platforms at WORA and EORA.
- CDOT has notified us they will be installing state-of-the-art traffic system at all four Emerald Isle traffic light locations including pedestrian signals this winter
- Planning is now underway for improved EMS and Police facilities
- Walkways destroyed by Ophelia are now being rebuilt with FEMA funds. Goal is to have all completed my March 7, 2007.
- Town will be replacing 569,000 cy of sand on 5 miles of beach - 2.5 miles from 6th Street to Connie Street, and 2.5 miles from Lee St. to Conch Court - work to begin in January 2007.
As with all barrier islands, beach erosion and storm water runoff will continue to require a lot of attention. Everyone agrees that we want to maintain our "small town beach atmosphere" and that will certainly occur. As the elected officials have done over the years, the elected officials of the future will have to be flexible and constantly adapt to changing conditions. Some things that made sense 20 years ago, need to be modified for today's conditions, and today's good ideas will not all be appropriate 20 years from now.
In conclusion, it is an honor to be your Mayor. When I meet visitors to our Town, and when I go to meetings in other towns, I constantly hear comments like "What a great town", "Coming to Emerald Isle is a family tradition for us", "What is it like to live in such a wonderful place?", "I always feel at home when I am in Emerald Isle", etc. When I hear those comments, I think of all of the wonderful people that live in Emerald Isle, and that those comments are really a compliment to all of you. Thank you all for all that you do for our community.
I hope many of you will be spending the Thanksgiving Holidays in Emerald Isle. We are having our highly successful Holiday Parade on Saturday November 25 at 4PM. I look forward to seeing you there.
Wednesday, November 1, 2006 3:38:00 PM