Dare commissioners consider many items

Published 7:42 am Thursday, October 13, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

At its Oct. 5, 2022 meeting, Dare County Board of Commissioners approved two reimbursement resolutions, the first in a series of financial moves starting approved capital improvement projects.

Series 2023A limited obligation bonds call for the construction of a replacement county Emergency Medical Services station and a Kill Devil Hills fire station to be located in Kill Devil Hills; the construction, renovation and improvements to a county Emergency Medical Services station located in the Town of Southern Shores; and the construction of a new airport hangar for Dare MedFlight, which will include crew quarters.

The Series 2023A bonds are expected to have a maximum principal amount of $37,122,000. These bonds are expected to appear on the Local Government Commission February 2023 calendar.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Series 2023B limited obligation bonds call for the construction of a new youth center in the Town of Manteo and the construction, renovation and improvements to county Emergency Medical Services stations located in Manteo, Frisco and Manns Harbor.

The Series 2023A bonds are expected to have a maximum principal amount of $9,277,000.

In making the request, finance director David Clawson told the commissioners that this series of bonds will likely be issued in February 2024 due to the Local Government Commission’s calendar.

Dare County received its 31st certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting. Clawson accepted the plaque from board Chairman Robert L. Woodard. Assistant finance director Sally DeFosse was presented with an award of financial reporting achievement. She was instrumental in preparing the county’s annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year 2021.

In planning matters, the commissioners approved a special use permit for Elizabeth Shifflett to operate a four-day a week childcare facility in the Manteo Faith Baptist Church located at 1037 Burnside Road in Manteo. The property is zoned RS-8 and childcare facilities as an accessory use of an existing church are permitted subject to special use permit review. The permit approval for the Little School of Fish Child Care Facility was unanimous.

The commissioners also set a date for a public hearing on a text amendment to add pet crematorium to the list of permitted uses in the R-2B zoning district, which is mapped only in Colington. The amendment is requested by Pam Anderson. The hearing is set for the board’s next regular meeting on Nov. 7, 2022.

The board approved a resolution proclaiming Fire Prevention Week. The theme for the Oct. 9-15, 2022, Fire Prevention Week is “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.”

The resolution “urges all citizens to plan and practice a home fire escape and to support the many public safety activities and efforts of Dare County and surrounding area fire and emergency services.”

The commissioners approved the following items in the Oct. 5 consent agenda:

– A memorandum of agreement allowing Dare Emergency Medical Services to use the Town of Kill Devil Hills fuel pumps, resulting in a cost savings to the county over travel to the county fuel pumps and over retail purchases.

– A budget amendment for additional SNAP funds given to counties to support efforts of administering the Food and Nutrition Service program due to workload increases that counties experienced as a result of increased food insecurity due to the pandemic. These funds were allocated based on FNS caseloads. The amendment shows $19,201.71 of 100% federal funds going to the county’s division of social services.

– The purchase of a replacement VHF paging system for the Dare County Emergency Operations Center.

Service and support of the current operating system ended Dec. 13, 2020. Dare County elected to use the stored spare parts. As of Sept. 14, 2022, all spare parts and equipment have been used to fix the aging system.

The commissioners approved a resolution authorizing county manager Robert L. Outten to enter into a contract in the amount of $418,044 with Motorola for the sole source purchase of a VHF paging system for Emergency Operations Center.

During public comment, Rev. Spottswood Graves read a pastoral statement signed by 12 members of the North Dare Ministerial Association addressing the impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding Roe v. Wade announced this summer.

Willo Kelly, chief executive officer of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, introduced Donna Creef as the new government affairs director for the association. Creef retired from her position as Dare County planner in January of this year. Accompanying Kelly and Creef was Rosemarie Doshier, who chairs the association’s Government Affairs Committee.

During a comment period, commissioner Steve House reported that the Division of Marine Fisheries was studying what can be done about the invasive blue catfish species and will develop some kind of plan. The issue of blue catfish was raised by Alana Harrison at the last board meeting. House also commented on the closure of the striped bass fishery in the Albemarle Sound.

Commissioner Rob Ross toured Rodanthe with Dave Hallac, superintendent of the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina. The duo looked at the beachfront homes threatened by erosion. “I don’t know what the answer is,” said Ross.

Outten, in his report, said multiple meetings with all stakeholders have been held to try to make all the rules work together to address the Rodanthe oceanfront erosion situation. The county is looking for grant opportunities.

Outten asked for and received approval to accept a $416,354 grant for the Dare County Sheriff’s Office to set up and operate for three years a task force on human trafficking.

A change in cost share percentage for dredging was enacted by the General Assembly. In times past, the county was required to pay one-third of the cost of a project. The percentage has changed to 25%. The commissioners adopted a resolution to change documents regarding the dredge the Miss Katie to reflect the lower percentage.

Dorothy Hester, the county’s public information officer, passed on a compliment from Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, which completed beach nourishment projects in Buxton, Avon and Nags Head this past summer. The company workers have never seen a community embrace a project like locals and visitors did here, reported Hester.

Hester said Emergency Management has acquired a drone purchased through a grant. So far, 18 Dare employees in various departments are learning to operate the equipment. A federal test is required.

The redesign of the county’s website is moving forward and Hester anticipates launch at the end of November or early December. The website address will change to darenc.gov.

In his comments, Clawson announced the receipt of $523,123 in rescue plan monies intending to supplement the $250,000 payment in lieu of taxes from the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The funds come with all the rules in place and no deadline for spending.

The board held a closed-door meeting. The commissioners provided guidance to county attorney Outten regarding McKenzie, one of the firms involved in opioid settlement negotiations and the Blackburn case about the county’s two-month COVID-19 closure starting March 17, 2020. Additionally, the commissioners gave direction about acquiring a piece of property.