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Nags Head plans for 4th of July fireworks display, hears proposed budget for 2021-22

Nags Head commissioners had a full agenda at last Wednesday’s regular meeting.

The meeting opened with a short video introducing seasonal lifeguards and a reminder from Fire Chief Randy Wells to “love the beach, respect the ocean.”

Eric Claussen, new public works director from Omaha, Nebraska was introduced and Ralph Barile was recognized upon his retirement from the same position. Police Officer JC Mitchell was recognized for five years of service, and Police Officer/School Resource Officer David Allen was recognized for ten years of service.

During public comment, a resident addressed trash pick-up services as well as requested that commissioners formulate a resolution to address the workforce needs in the Outer Banks as related to unemployment benefits: “If we’re going to get serious about getting people back to work, we need to stop paying them for staying home.”

After approving the consent agenda, commissioners heard from town manager Andy Garman about the proposed operating budget for 2021-22. “We had a fairly strong year, higher than we expected,” Garman said. The town plans to use additional revenue to purchase equipment and additional items that have been deferred in past budgets.  Mayor Ben Cahoon said, “That’s what this budget is doing – catching up on those critical items.”

The current tax rate is 26.5 cents; 2.25 is for beach nourishment. Garman proposed a two cent town wide increase to 28.5 plus a quarter cent for beach nourishment.

Rates for MSDs 1 and 2 will remain unchanged at 14.3 cents. Proposed MSDs 3 and 6 would be taxed an additional half cent for a total of 29.25; MSD 4 would be taxed an additional 1 cent for a total of 29.75.

MSD 1 properties are also in MSD 3. MSD 4 properties are also in MSD 2. MSD 5 properties are also in MSD 6.

No action was taken on the budget at this meeting.

Next, commissioners heard from Police Chief Phil Webster requesting consideration for a police officer recruit program due to a shrinking pool of police candidates. According to a memo from the Nags Head Police Department: “Offering a police recruit program allows the Town to hire an officer who is not certified through a Basic Law Enforcement Training program. It expands our pool of candidates thereby giving us the ability to be more selective, attract diversity, and give an opportunity to individuals who cannot afford to acquire a certification on their own.”

nags head

Police Chief Phil Webster requested board consideration for a police recruit program. Nags Head meeting screenshot

Commissioners approved contract renewals for debris removal and monitoring and then approved the town manager to execute an agreement for the annual beach condition survey.

The town is planning to hold its annual fireworks display at Nags Head Fishing Pier. The display will be July 4 with an approximate start time of 9:25 p.m. A rain date of July 5 has been set. Residents are encouraged to walk or ride bikes due to limited parking.

In the commissioners agenda portion of the meeting, Webb Fuller requested a recommendation from the police to address the user conflict between people driving on the beach and people laying on the beach. Commissioner Renee Cahoon recommended additional bike racks in town so bicycles can be locked.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to approve the sale of the town’s portion of the Soundside Event property to the Dare County Tourism board for $2,336,107 payable over ten years. The initial payment would be $600,000 by June 30 and then a minimum of $100,000 per year for ten years with the balance due in the last year.

After a lunch meeting, the board reconvened for a pay/classification study presentation from the Maps Group and then began a closed session.

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