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Commissioners meet; hear reports

Dare County Board of Commissioners met March 5 for a regularly scheduled meeting.

Chairman Robert L. Woodard provided a special Board presentation and acknowledgement to George Henderson.

Henderson was one of six founding members of the Dare County Airport Authority and has provided 47 years of continuous service on that authority. Henderson received his pilot’s license at age 16 and then his commercial pilot’s license. With Henderson’s aeronautical experience, long standing commitment, and insightful leadership, general aviation in Dare County has flourished.

North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Erin Fleckenstein thanked the commissioners for their leadership in the community’s effort to oppose offshore oil and gas drilling. Fleckenstein provided a recap of the recent Rally to Raleigh where over 500 people attended the Rally.

The occasion was an open house sponsored by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management about the federal administration’s 2019-2024 proposal announced in January. The plan as proposed would open federal waters along the US East Coast to oil and gas leasing and drilling.

However, U.S. Secretary of Ryan Zinke has excluded the Florida from the plan.

During the first week of March, Board chairman Woodard and others journeyed to Washington, D.C. to continue a lobbying campaign opposing the proposal.

The plan is not final. A draft plan will be issued and another 90-day comment period will follow. 

The annual Cooperative Extension Report to the People was delivered by Shannon Brooks, Extension Director for Dare County. In 2017, 103 volunteers provided over 7,200 hours of service, which represents an economic value of over $174,000. Brooks reported that the agency continues to expand its programming through community partnerships.

Finance Director David Clawson presented a five-year projection for the county’s general fund.

The practice is viewed positively by ratings agencies. With the planned use of fund balance in 2019, the fund balance will decline from 32.8 percent to 31.7 percent at the end of the Fiscal Year 2019. “Modest deficits” could occur in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Over the five-year period, debt service (as a percentage of total expenditures) is projected to decrease from 17.11 percent to 11.40 percent, another positive for rating agencies. Outstanding debt is scheduled to decrease from $95.6 million to $46.6 million.

Commissioners approved an updated Resolution that designates May 8, 2018, as the date for the election in the Hatteras Village Precinct to authorize the use of ad valorem taxes for multi-use pathways around Hatteras Village. The resolution calling for the voter referendum that was previously adopted by the Board did not include the date of the election, which is required under the North Carolina General Statutes. The request for a referendum on this issue was made last year by the Hatteras Village Community Center District.

In Dare County, March 2018 is proclaimed American Red Cross Month.

In the consent agenda, the commissioners approved Government Education Access Channels 2018-2019 Proposed Budget with $236,525 in expenditures and $336,525 in revenue.

In committee appointments, the commissioners

⎯nominated Richard Burris and Susie Walters to the Dare County Community Advisory Committee (also known as the Nursing Home Advisory Committee). Burris and Walters were nominated for training and then appointment.

⎯appointed Molly McGinnis to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.

The commissioners agreed to join the new Ocracoke Waterways Commission in sending a letter to the North Carolina Ferry Division requesting a full survey of Hatteras Inlet.

The Board of Commissioners’ next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 19 at 5 p.m. and will be followed by an informal Community Meeting that begins at 7 p.m.

On March 20, at 6 p.m., the commissioners will hold another informal Community Meeting in Buxton at the Fessenden Center.

Attending this almost two-hour meeting were Woodard, Vice Chairman Wally Overman, Commissioners Jack Shea, Jim Tobin and Steve House. Excused were Danny Couch and Rob Ross.

For more information about the Dare County Board of Commissioners, including full agenda packets and videos of entire meetings, visit darenc.com/boc.