Dare County getting ready for arrival of dredge ‘Miss Katie’

Published 6:48 am Wednesday, April 27, 2022

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Dare County is gearing up for the arrival of the Miss Katie, the new hopper dredge.

Commissioner Jim Tobin told the Dare County Board of Commissioners that the dredge may arrive at the end of June.

In anticipation of that arrival, Dare’s commissioners approved an application to the North Carolina Shallow Draft Navigation Fund and a resolution sponsoring the Miss Katie-Oregon Inlet Dredging Project.

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The application from the Shallow Draft Navigation Fund is for $6 million, or 66.67% of the project cost. Dare County will provide up to $3 million or a third of the project cost. The dredging project may total up to $9 million to provide “dredging in Oregon Inlet and nearby channels.”

The sponsorship resolution spells out Dare County’s commitment to the project, including obtaining all necessary state and federal permits; complying with applicable laws governing awarding contracts and expenditure of public funds by local governments; supervising construction; obtaining appropriate easements, rights-of-way or suitable dredge material disposal area; ensuring the project is open for use by the public on an equal basis; and accepting responsibility for operating and maintaining the completed project.

Both actions passed unanimously.

Barton Grover, grants and waterways administrator, told the commissioners to expect similar requests for Hatteras Inlet next month.

Dare’s commissioners unanimously expanded the zoning districts where accessory dwelling units are permitted. The action added single family residential districts R-1 and East Lake Natural Historic. No one spoke at a required hearing.

In May, the nation observes Older Americans Month. This year’s theme is “Age My Way” with a focus on aging in place. The theme addresses how older adults can plan to stay in their homes and live independently for as long as possible.

A unanimously-passed proclamation declares May 2022 to be Older Americans Month in Dare County. The proclamation “urges every resident to recognize the contributions of our older citizens, help to create an inclusive society and join efforts to support older Americans’ choices about how they age in their communities.”

In the consent agenda, the commissioners approved:

A budget amendment for $3,376 appropriating APS Essential Services funding. These funds can be used to assist vulnerable adults preventing and/or reducing maltreatment, unnecessary institutionalization and addressing demographics that typically fall outside of standard eligibility criterion in service programs. These funds can be spent through December 2022. The county’s division of Social Services asked for the amendment.

Another budget amendment requested by the county’s division of Social Services is a budget amendment to allocate direct care worker bonus. The Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2021 approved a Medicaid budget provision for one-time bonuses up to $2,000 for eligible direct care workers and support staff. There is no effect on county dollars. The amount of the budget amendment is $31,429.

Dare’s commissioners appointed the following to the Older Adult Services Advisory Council: Issac Simonson, Mary Ellen Holland and Margaret Reber-Dennis.

In opening remarks, board Chairman Robert L. Woodard praised the Dare County staff. Woodard and county manager Bobby Outten attended the National Hurricane Conference in Florida.

Said Woodard, “Dare staff is second to none. We do everything they suggested.”

Outten also praised staff. “I’m real proud.” He also echoed Woodard: “we do just about everything.”

Outten asked and the board approved a maintenance agreement with Airbus for the county’s MedFlight helicopter. The buy-in totals $217,199, which the commissioners authorized. The move saves money as it is less than what is put aside annually in the county’s budget. “It’s a good deal for us,” said the manager.

The board agreed to offer NC Works an empty ground floor office in the Administration Building. The agency serves as a clearinghouse for jobs.

Commissioner Ervin Bateman reported that the Dare County Economic Security Office, or unemployment office, was shut down permanently on April 20, the day of the meeting. The office handled the temporary unemployment applications for seasonal workers and provided computer access.