Nags Head adopts 2024-25 budget with no tax, water rate increases

Published 6:34 pm Saturday, July 6, 2024

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At their June 5, 2024 meeting, the Town of Nags Head’s commissioners adopted their fiscal year 2025 budget, “reflecting a strong alignment with a strategic plan informed by comprehensive community feedback,” stated a news release from the town. “The budget demonstrates the Town’s commitment to responsible fiscal management and strategic investment in community infrastructure, with no increases in tax or water rates.”

The general fund budget, at $41,165,256, marks a nine percent increase from the previous year, while the water fund budget, at $4,915,408, saw a 10 percent increase. These figures underscore the town’s “dedication to enhancing services and infrastructure without imposing additional financial burdens on its property owners,” noted the release.

“Our objective, as dedicated community stewards, is to always listen, respond promptly, provide services, and strategically plan for the well-being of our town and the resources we oversee,” said Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon. “In line with this commitment, we conducted a comprehensive community survey in the summer of 2023 to gather feedback and set future priorities. The insights from this survey shaped our strategic plan and served as a guide for the development of this budget. Our goal was to thoroughly reflect the valuable input we received from the survey, and we believe we did that.”

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Historical Context and Project Updates

Over the past several years, the Town of Nags Head has made “significant strides in capital investment and infrastructure improvements with the development of a capital investment fund to finance general fund capital projects and reduce reliance on external financing. The new Public Services complex, with the public-facing facilities now open, and the replacement of aging water meters with digital technology, now underway, were financed through this tool,” stated the release.

“Notably, this budget does not propose any modifications to either tax or water rates despite our continued aggressive approach to implementing infrastructure maintenance and equipment replacement schedules,” explained town manager Andy Garman. “As in the past, we employed a balanced, strategic approach to developing this budget, which also includes targeted facility improvements and upgrades to enhance the quality of life here and to respond to our community’s needs. We can’t continue this success without professional, skilled employees, so this budget also places a strong emphasis on workforce development through total rewards initiatives aimed at recruitment, retention, and employee development.”

Budget Highlights

  • Taxes/Fees – No changes to the ad valorem tax rate, the municipal service district, or town-wide beach nourishment tax rates, or the water rates.
  • Ocean Rescue Housing – Proposed construction of two to three housing units at 425 West Health Center Drive.
  • Infrastructure Improvements –
    • Grant-funded improvements to the South Virginia Dare Trail multi-use path. ($650,000)
    • Drainage, waterline, and resurfacing improvements throughout town. ($4,807,763)
      • Using Golden LEAF grant funds, the town will conduct drainage system upgrades along South Memorial Avenue. In conjunction with that project, though not part of the grant funding, the town will pave sections of South Memorial Avenue, as well as several side streets. ($791,852 general fund portion).
      • A nearly $3 million North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality grant was awarded for two stormwater projects in south Nags Head. The first project, between Hargrove Street and Tides Drive, is included in the budget. An innovative, nature-based solution to reduce the frequency, depth, and duration of flooding along a half mile stretch of South Old Oregon Inlet Road, will be installed.
      • Waterline replacements between Eighth Street and Driftwood Street are included and budgeted at $501,500.
    • Five-year capital improvements for sidewalk enhancements starting with West Baymeadow Drive and West Windjammer Drive. ($271,300)
  • Beach and Public Beach Access – Continue planning for the next beach nourishment project, which is scheduled for the summer of 2027. Vegetative sprigging, sand fencing, and other stabilization measures will be completed with the project. Replacement of the dune walkovers at the Holden and Juncos Streets accesses is also included. ($384,380)
  • Equipment Upgrades – Replace several vehicles and pieces of equipment, including four police cars, with automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and a front load sanitation truck.
  • Employee Total Rewards –
    • A 4% cost of living adjustment is included.
    • An additional 1% is budgeted for a new performance-based merit program.
    • Continued funding for within-grade increases to allow for movement in pay ranges, and career progression programs, are included.
  • Staffing/Organizational Changes – One new sanitation equipment operator and a part-time seasonal employee for summer events is included, as well as additional funding for the Fire Department’s part-time staff pool budget.
  • Grant Funding Initiatives – Five million dollars in grant funding is budgeted for various projects, including sidewalk and multi-use path projects, beach access improvements, and stormwater infrastructure upgrades.

The budget can be viewed at