Kitty Hawk considers funding for new police, fire and EMS stations
Published 7:14 am Sunday, September 29, 2019
The Kitty Hawk Town Council met at Kitty Hawk Town Hall on Monday, Sept. 16 to discuss, among other things, funding for new police and fire/EMS facilities.
A new business agenda item addressed by the council addressed funding for a new police station and fire/EMS substation. The current police station in Kitty Hawk is susceptible to rain and flood damage. Site plans for a new building include an area where the facility is away from flood zones. A new fire/EMS substation is included in the proposed plan.
The total cost of the project is about $2.6 million, which includes construction costs, site work, architectural fees, IT wiring and furnishings. Town manager Andy Stewart presented a proposal for the funding option available: the town’s emergency reserve, set aside by the council.
Sixty-five percent of the project cost is covered already by what the town has budgeted for. Stewart summarized the proposal: “The proposal is to utilize $1.5 million of the emergency reserve funds to construct the buildings and repay the funds back over a period of ten years.”
Approval is needed by 2020-21. Until then, the town will continue to budget to make the project possible. “This funding project will not hurt the financial health of the town,” Stewart assured. The council decided to revisit the plan during future meetings.
Also at the meeting, Michael Tillett presented an award to Chief of Police Joel Johnson and the Kitty Hawk Police Department for their service in making the OBX Rod and Custom Festival possible. The event took place the first weekend in May 2019. The police force aided in directing traffic and maintaining a safe environment for the people that were in attendance. “Because of the help of crews from Kitty Hawk to Nags Head, people were impressed with the all the support from the community,” said Tillett.
During public comment, Curt Baskette and Kristine Lewis brought up concerns with standing water levels in the area. The Kitty Dunes pond area was not included in the original plan of saltwater drainage due to costs. With the system in place now, residents of the area near the pond are having septic issues. Perry agreed to revisit the plan for that area. Baskette suggested a connection be installed between the pond and drainage area to prevent standing water and septic issues.
New business also included an overview of the Kitty Hawk Recreation Master Plan for 2019-20. Perry addressed Section 1.5 Recreation Planning Standards, which covers recreation opportunities within the county. He said, “We [the council] see what the state would ask a town or county to have, but we need a master plan. If we are looking to do some additional parks or accesses or something, this helps us get grant money.”
Under Section 3.1.2 of the Recreation Master Plan, letter “c” details long-term plans of improvements including the “construction of connecting bike paths from Windgrass Circle to the boundary with Kill Devil Hills on Bay Drive.” Perry wanted future councils to understand the difficulties that would come along with this plan. Topography is one issue, along with having to cross the road twice for multi-use pathways. It seems “unfeasible” to construct a bike path and property owners have already expressed their disagreement with the plan.
Lastly, Perry addressed Section 3.1.4 Special Event Goals. The promenade the town has previously used to host their annual Heritage Day is now unavailable. Finding a place to accommodate everyone for the day is a concern. Perry said he would like to find a new place to hold the event if possible.
The Recreation Master Plan was unanimously approved by the council.
The issue of whether FEMA will pick up the damages from hurricane Dorian in Kitty Hawk is still a topic of concern. “There is a delay because we don’t yet have FEMA declaring the storm here. We are in a quandary, all of us, because if they don’t do it, we’re going to have to make the call,” Perry said. The council is hoping to find out if the damages will be covered within the next few days.