Nags Head commissioners receive audit report, approve beach nourishment bid

Published 11:54 am Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Nags Head commissioners received a positive audit report from public accounting firm Johnson, Mizelle, Straub, & Murphy, LLP for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, confirming that the town’s financial statements are presented fairly in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

“The town goes above and beyond in normal reporting in preparing the annual report,” said Lisa Murphy, who presented the report to commissioners.

According to Murphy, the town’s net position, which includes governmental and business-type activities, is $61,287,593. This is a decrease of $2,670,687 from 2020.

Regarding taxes, the report continued, “The Town was required to follow the county-wide property revaluation in fiscal year 2021. Real and personal property valuations have increased by over 26% for ad valorem and motor vehicle taxes, compared to fiscal year 2020. Due to the revaluation, the total overall assessed property valuation, including property and registered motor vehicles, increased by $645,443,481, from $2,451,719,147 in fiscal year 2020 to $3,097,162,628 in the current fiscal year.”

The board also heard an annual report of Nags Head Woods from northeast regional steward Aaron McCall. Thanks to a new laser counter, Nags Head Woods logged 42,546 visitors in just a six-month period (January to June 2021); McCall estimated that the park sees between 60,000 and 80,000 visitors annually. “We saw increased activity during COVID. Although it’s a hidden gem, it’s not as hidden as it used to be,” he said. One increase is due to ADA-use trails, especially last two years.

In other new business, the board considered a traffic control amendment to create a tow-away zone on Pond Island at S. North Shore Road to protect the integrity of the bulkhead, but ultimately voted to deny the amendment as there have been no neighbor complaints.

Commissioners did approve an incentive for four additional hours of vacation time for employees who receive or have received the COVID-19 booster shot. Approximately 70% of town staff (80 individuals) were fully vaccinated when data was collected five or six months ago. The town is not tracking those who have received the booster. The recommendation follows a change in CDC guidelines that recommends quarantining for people exposed to COVID-19 who have not received the booster. “It’s in the interest of keeping people at work, and also the fact that the shot can make you feel crappy for half a day. Employees may use that time to recover,” said Mayor Ben Cahoon. The motion to approve the policy was approved unanimously.

Tabled from the last meeting, the traffic and motor vehicle ordinance amendment was approved, clarifying and paring down the language about what is allowed on the multi-use path. Rather than create different regulations for different types of vehicles or devices, the amendment simply prohibits unsafe or reckless riding. The use of electric bikes is allowed on the multi-use path, as long as bikes are ridden safely and responsibly.

Next, commissioners approved the awarding of the post-Dorian beach nourishment project to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company for the contract price of $11,598,653. The bid is for dredging, placement, grading and environmental protection of 508,070 cubic yards of sand, mobilization/demobilization, 8500 cy dune planting, 25 days relocation trawling, three days of beach tilling, 10,000 cy of hopper capacity/day for suspension time and an additional 103,189 cubic yards of sand. The project is expected to be completed by the end of September 2022.

“That’s been a long time coming together. I’m glad to see that,” said Cahoon of awarding the contract.

Fifteen hundred dollars was also approved for a simple design process for the aging skate park that the community has expressed interest in refreshing.

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