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Dare commissioners quickly enact agenda

At its April 6 meeting, the Dare County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed an eleven-item consent agenda without discussion, delivered comments and enacted various requests presented by county manager Robert. L. Outten.

“I can’t say enough good things about our people,” commented Outten. “Really, every department we have, in some way or another, is contributing to the success of other departments and the county as we go forward.”

Outten continued, “they’ve done an excellent job of adjusting.” The county’s staffers “have stepped up and done the right thing at the right time.”

The commissioners enacted two new policies required by the US Department of Labor under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The first policy addresses emergency paid sick leave provided under six conditions spelled out in the policy. The policy lists eligible employees, describes pay rates and leave rules. The policy was effective April 1, 2020 and expires Dec. 31, 2020.

The second policy is under the Family Medical Leave Expansion Act. The policy provides a new qualifying reason for leave: lack of child care due to COVID-19. This policy also addresses pay and return to work. The new policy was also effective April 1.

Find the full policies on darenc.com under Board of Commissioners, selecting Meeting Agenda, Minutes and Video for the April 6, 2020 meeting.

The Department of Labor policies were changed on Monday. However, Dare commissioners gave authority to Outten to implement additional policies as needed during the two weeks between board meetings.

In another employee matter, MedCost Medical Insurance for Fiscal Year 2021 is experiencing a 4.83% increase. “All plans will remain the same with a traditional PPO and high deductible health plan paired with a health savings account,” states the agenda sheet.

Human Resources director Elizabeth Reilly reported “employees hired after July 1999, who have employee/child or employee/family, will see an increase. Employee-only coverage will be absorbed by Dare County.”

In adopting the consent agenda, the commissioners approved the MedCost insurance plans for fiscal year 2021.

Outten also announced that employees working at home are not required to take leave. In response to COVID-19, flexible schedules have been arranged to keep social distancing. Cross-training is in place. For example, Parks and Recreation staffers are learning about driving ambulances.

The Draft Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance and Zoning Amendments are now before the commissioners. A public hearing was set for May 4, 2020, at 10 a.m.

New flood maps for Dare County become effective June 19, 2020. The new maps necessitate updating the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance and amending zoning districts in Hatteras village and Wanchese.

On the financial front, Dare’s commissioners adopted an initial resolution setting in motion refinancing of several debt obligations and achieving $1.45 million in gross savings and $1.352 million net present value. The resolution sets a public hearing for May 20, the next Board of Commissioners meeting, which starts at 5 p.m. in the commissioners meeting room in Manteo.

Following the public hearing, the commissioners will adopt a final resolution. On May 5, the borrowing request will be before the state’s Local Government Commission. Assuming permission is granted, the closing on the refinancing will be May 13, 2020.

In other budget actions, the commissioners:

– Approved an amendment to the Oakley Collier architectural contract for the Department of Health and Human Services building project. The amendment to the capital project ordinance is $52,096 for work not included in the original scope of work. The work includes designing a building and site solution for drainage issues, data wiring for remodeled spaces, and civil engineering for additional permitted work.

– Budgeted additional federal funds, $14,093, for the federal Low Income Energy Assistance and Crisis Intervention Programs.

– Budgeted $45,000 grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program for a seat belt convincer. The educational exhibit includes a rail system with a car. A person is seated in the car, straps on the seat belt. The car flies down the rail and stops going five miles per hour to convince folks to buckle up. Dare County Sheriff Lt. Jack Scarborough sits on the Governor’s Highway Safety Council and represents 11 counties in northeastern North Carolina.

– Concurred with the Dare County Tourism Board about spending $50,000 for July 4th Fireworks Grant Awards, as follows: Avon Property Owners Association $11,838; Town of Kill Devil Hills $12,831; Town of Manteo $12,831; and Town of Nags Head $12,500.

Regarding the county’s 2021 budget, Outten told the commissioners that budget work continues. “We’re starting with the premise of a no-growth budget.” He said at best the budget would be flat; at worse something less than that.

Outten sought and received approval from the board on several items:

– Rescinding the Buxton location for the April 20 meeting, which will now be scheduled for the customary meeting location in Manteo.

– Amending the utility ordinance to embrace the governor’s order about not turning off water service during the pandemic. The county had already enacted such a measure.

– Waiving fees for Dare Transportation rides. The agency is transporting folks to medical appointments.

– Setting a public hearing on May 4 on the codification of adopted ordinance changes.

– Approving a letter requested by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials to nominate the new Oregon Inlet Bridge for a national award.

The meeting lasted 46 minutes and is available for viewing on darenc.com, under Board of Commissioners, or view here:




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