Dare Board of Commissioners partially funds nourishment study, agrees to send $1 million to foundation for teacher housing

Published 10:41 am Saturday, July 29, 2023

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Dare County Board of Commissioners has approved partial funding for a Rodanthe beach nourishment feasibility study.

The decision made at the July 17, 2023 board meeting came with strings attached.

U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy wrote a letter dated June 16, 2023 to Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert Woodard regarding the required feasibility study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a beach nourishment project in Rodanthe.

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The letter indicated that “the minimum cost of the feasibility study is $3 million.”

The letter states that the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 requires “half the cost of the study must be incurred at the state and local levels.”

At the board meeting, county manager Robert L. Outten reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will conduct the study, agreed to proceed incrementally. For example, the first stage is a cost-benefit analysis. If that’s negative, the study stops. If it is positive, the study continues.

Woodward immediately said “get it in writing.”

The money, up to $1.5 million, will come from the Beach Nourishment Fund, which has sufficient funding.

The time frame for the study is three to five years, said Outten.

The Dare County Board of Education let it be known that it was having difficulty hiring teachers because of a lack of housing. The school board said the Dare Education Foundation can expand the teacher housing complex in Kill Devil Hills to construct nine to 12 housing units.

However, the foundation is $1 million short for project funding.

Outten recommended using the county’s fund balance. “The County has sufficient funds in Fund Balance to move necessary funds,” wrote Outten in the item explanation.

The board unanimously approved spending the $1 million to build the housing. “This is money well spent,” said Outten.

Attending the meeting on behalf of the school board were Chairman Ron Payne, board members Matt Brauer and Mary Ellon Ballance, and Dare Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight.