Manteo adopts personnel policy, approves passenger ferry dockage

Published 7:01 am Thursday, March 9, 2023

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The Manteo Board of Commissioners adopted the 2023 town personnel policy, approved passenger ferry dockage and reviewed new speed limits sent by NCDOT at its meeting held March 1, 2023.

In introducing the policy document, town manager Melissa Dickerson said changes were made in the mechanics of how the manager administers the policy.

She indicated bereavement leave was included. She said the document would continue to develop and cited the need for a policy on military leave.

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Dickerson praised the staff working group for developing the policy document. The group included town clerk Jamie Whitley, community and economic development staffer Michele Bunce and finance officer Heather Doughtie.

Commissioner Sherry Wickstrom commented that she really liked the changes made and moved to accept the 2023 town personnel policy. The commissioners adopted the motion unanimously.

At the board’s Feb. 15 meeting, Peter Thompson with Harbor Towns Inc. briefed the commissioners on the organization’s new passenger ferry service that will provide excursions and move guests from ports in eastern North Carolina. Thompson asked if the passenger ferry could dock in Manteo.

Staff conducted research. On March 14, 2007, the then board voted to “reaffirm use of west side of the Centennial Pier/Lighthouse Pier by the Maritime Museum for its interpretive programming; use of west side of the lighthouse platform for passenger embarkation and disembarkation that includes the Coast Guard, other military, the Roanoke Island Commission, approved passenger boats by the Town of Manteo …”

On staff’s recommendation, commissioner Tod Clissold moved to approve Harbor Towns Inc.’s use of the west side of the lighthouse pier as an area for embarkation and disembarkation. The commissioners unanimously approved the motion.

Two ferries are expected to be delivered mid-April with routes running mid-May. A dinner boat is expected to be delivered late June or July.

In response to speeding complaints, the commissioners on Sept. 21, 2022 directed Dickerson to ask NCDOT to review the speed limits within the town. At this meeting, the first batch of NCDOT repeal and approval forms were received.

Generally, the downtown streets are 20 miles per hour and others are 25 miles per hour. The Cora Mae Basnight Bridge is marked 20 miles per hour.

The board approved the speed limit repeal and approval forms as provided by NCDOT and authorized Dickerson to review additional forms sent by NCDOT to facilitate faster action.

In other action, the commissioners:

– Reinstated the online convenience fees. On April 1, 2020, the commissioners, responding to the COVID pandemic, agreed to pay online convenience fees to encourage people to stay home and pay utility bills online instead of coming to Town Hall in person. The previous convenience fees of $3.75 for payments by credit/debit cards and $2.50 for payment by check were reinstated.

– Tabled action on appointments to the Community Police Advisory Board.

Mayor Pro Tem Betty Selby presided at this meeting as Mayor Bobby Owens could not attend. Thoughts and prayers continue to be asked for commissioner Darrell Collins.