Two major Dare projects approved for financing

Published 7:32 pm Sunday, February 19, 2023

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Dare County commissioners are moving ahead on two major projects.

On Feb. 6, 2023, the commissioners decided to push forward with new Emergency Medical Stations in Southern Shores and MedFlight hangar and crew quarters for the county’s medivac helicopter stationed on Roanoke Island.

The initial capital budget ordinance for these projects, which was one lump sum, was split into three phases. Each phase received its own limited obligation bond number, making financing flexible.

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At this initial point, the capital project ordinance totals $4.77 million with only architectural, survey and preconstruction fees or expenses for Southern Shores, Dare MedFlight and the start of the Kill Devil Hills stations.

County manager Robert L. Outten told the commissioners that prices were “up significantly.”

“Staggering,” sighed commissioner Rob Ross.

Outten said the commissioners may need to start looking at other projects, such as public works and the youth center, and the capital improvement plan may require reprioritization. Outten and county finance director David Clawson will return to the commissioners with a reworked plan.

To finance these projects, the county will negotiate an installment financing contract not to exceed $49.25 million.

The financing document includes the youth center in Manteo, the joint project with Kill Devil Hills which will have a new fire station and Dare’s new Emergency Medical Services station, the Dare MedFlight Hangar and the “construction, renovation, and improvements to various EMS stations throughout the county” and “other projects that may be identified as part of the County’s future capital improvement plans …”

A public hearing will be scheduled for Monday, March 6, 2023, at 9 a.m. on the financing.

Clawson, as deputy county manager/finance director, will submit an application to the Local Government Commission. A meeting with the commission is scheduled for April 4, 2023. A bond sale is anticipated May 5, 2023.

Clawson was authorized to hire the following firms to assist with the transaction: Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein LLP as bond counsel; DEC Associates, Inc. as financial advisor; The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A. as trustee; and Piper Sandler & Co. as underwriter.

The Dare County Tourism Board has asked Dare County to finance the proposed Event Center. The Tourism Board is prohibited by its authorizing legislation from borrowing money. The Tourism Board is proposing to pay the county back over 30 years. The provided estimate was initially $18 million, but more recently county officials have been using the figure of $30 million.

Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert L. Woodard said that in fairness to the request, he wanted to see numbers. Outten responded that he would ask the Tourism Board for current numbers.

Dustin Peele, special projects and purchasing manager, quickly updated the commissioners with projects under his purview: Manteo Youth Center, the Dare County-Kill Devil Hills joint project, an affordable housing property purchase, the Kitty Hawk baseball fields, First Flight Schools lighting project, Walker Park, Roanoke Island Drainage, Cape Hatteras Soccer field and mitigation projects.