Presentations highlight Duck council meeting

Published 8:19 am Saturday, February 11, 2023

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Presentations and introductions were a major part of a brief February 1 Duck Town Council meeting.

As the meeting opened, town attorney Robert B. Hobbs Jr. introduced Lauren Arizaga-Womble, who has recently joined the Hornthal, Riley, Ellis & Maland law firm as a partner. Hobbs added that she has considerable local government experience and is expected to cover for him in March.

During a special employee presentation, Duck Mayor Don Kingston presented public safety office administrator Nicole Martin with a five-year service recognition certificate and $50 gift certificate for her service to the town.

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Police Chief Jeff Ackerman advised that Martin is an important part of the fire and police departments and the 28 police and fire people she deals with would be lost without her. Fire Captain Jeffrey Del Monte echoed those sentiments adding that she also plays an important role dealing with the public and often goes out of her way doing so.

Following the recent promotion of Kay Nickens to public information and events director, Melissa Felthousen was sworn in by town clerk Lori Ackerman as the new deputy town clerk.

“Melissa is filling the position Nickens previously held,” said Ackerman. “And with our cross training and succession planning, should I ever decide to retire she would be able to step in and provide a smooth transition for the town.”

One of two council actions for the night was the approval of the consent agenda that included January 4 and January 18 council meetings, a three year contract with Swept Away Home Services to clean Town Hall, Paul F. Keller Meeting Hall and Town of Duck Police Department, public restrooms and amphitheater, and a $53,172 budget amendment for the Memory Lane Brick Project.

Council also voted to amend resolution 2011-05 to allow up to eight members on the Wall Décor Committee and named Jane Puckett and Jackie Tury as two new members to that committee.

The Wall Décor Committee serves in an advisory role with recommendations for wall décor, rotating artwork and memorabilia to be displayed in the Town Hall first floor conference room and Paul F. Keller Meeting Hall. Members appointed serve with no end date to their term.

Other business for the evening included a financial report from finance and human resources administrator Jessica Barnes, a January fire report from Del Monte, police report from Chief Ackerman with a caution that government worker would not be calling to ask citizens to buy gift cards to pay bills even if they appear to have considerable local information. In his activity report, community development director Joe Heard explained that building permit activity is down, with most permits issued for the southern end of town.

During public comments, Miriam Rollin from Plover Drive asked council to consider a lower Plover Drive speed limit, dropping it down to 15 or 20 mph from the current 25 mph and a written public comment from Steven and Barbara Staples on Olde Duck Road was read with their opposition to continued use of beach for vehicle driving other than emergency or town vehicles providing services to residents and guests.

At the end of the evening, council entered into a closed session to confer with the town attorney on an attorney/client privilege matter. Following the session, Hobbs advised he gave legal information to Council with no action taken.

The next scheduled council meeting is a February 15-16 retreat beginning at 9 a.m. each day at the Paul F. Keller Meeting Hall. Topics to be discussed include: NCDOT updates, speed limit discussion, VHB project updates, Dare County updates, departmental updates, capital improvement plan and financial update, beach nourishment, Project Vesta, beach driving and tents on the beach.

The next regular Duck Town Council meeting is set for 6 p.m. on March 1.