Saturday, February 13, 2016

Time To Move Forward On Buxton Project

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A $25 million beach nourishment project planned by Dare
County includes placement of sand east of Hwy 12 in Buxton, NC
 

A resolution signed by the Dare Board of Commissioners this week asking Governor Pat McCrory to seek federal assistance with Hwy 12 in Buxton isn't likely to get results even if the governor acts upon it. However, you can't blame them for trying.

Most likely, the feds will take the position that they aren't in the business of doing preventive maintenance on state highways. Currently, there has been no washout down there and no federal declaration of any disaster, no matter now disastrous the situation may seem others here in the county.

However, there is one important thing that the resolution did accomplish. The wording of the document finally makes it clear to the residents of Hatteras Island what everyone else was willing to accept in the first place. Beach nourishment in the village of Buxton is not just to (1) protect Hwy 12, it will also, (and equally important) serve (2) to protect the island's tourism economy from which everyone living down there benefits and relies upon.

Now, there is nothing left for the county board to do, but to acknowledge what is common sense logic by everyone following this story, and vote as a majority to set up a tax service district to help pay for their planned nourishment project.  The commissioners have no other choice, for they have locked themselves in to this decision by (1) not funding other nourishment projects by 100%, and by (2) their verbal justification to help save Hwy 12.

An average tax increase of seven cents per $100 was deemed not too much to pay for the residents of the county's northern beaches, and the residents of Hatteras Island, who boast that they contribute as much as 25% of the county's tourism economy, should not be treated any differently.

Now, let the Buxton project bids go out, and then pray they don't come in as high as the ones opened this week from contractors who were vying for the Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk and Duck projects. Now, those projects have been put on hold for another year.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Hatteras Property Tax Increase Possible for Beach Nourishment

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Scenes like this one on the northern beaches of Corolla
are all too often, as the ocean continues to eat away at man
made dunes which are constantly being created, mostly in
failed attempts to ward off Mother Nature.
Information is sketchy early this morning, but signs coming out of yesterday's  Dare commissioner workshop appear to indicate there will be a rebid put out for the Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk and Duck beach nourishment projects.

Bids from three dredging companies, opened earlier in the week came in much higher than the town's engineers had estimated, with the lowest bid submitted by Weeks Marine Inc. of Cranford, NJ. It was about $5 million higher than expected. Also, the company said it would not be able to begin the project until September, which would mean dredging during hurricane season and into early winter. This idea did not sit well with the board which felt that a rebid might get them a lower contract price, with hopes of starting the projects in the spring of 2017.

The board also placed on the agenda for Monday's regular meeting a serious discussion of a possible tax service district in order to gain additional revenue to help pay for the $25 million Buxton beach project. A request for bids on that work is expected to go out in the coming weeks with hope that work can begin this spring or early summer. However, the results of the northern beach town bids may also throw a damper on that idea.

Included in the service district plan which will be offered by county manager Bobby Outten is the strong possibility of a property tax increase for the villages of Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras of about six or seven cents. The remaining portion of the estimated project cost  ($25 million) will be paid from occupancy tax funds.

Public reaction to this idea is expected to be highly controversial. Many residents of the villages say they should not have to pay to help maintain Hwy 12 and some reject the idea that the nourishment project will benefit the island's property owners or their local economy.  Meanwhile, residents of the northern beach towns are watching to see if they, alone, were singled out to pay additional property taxes for their nourishment projects, which also were intended to protect Hwy 12 that runs along the entire length of Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk and Duck.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Beach Nourishment Bids High

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The Kitty Hawk beach road (Hwy 12) is one area of the
town awaiting the proposed beach nourishment project, which
could be delayed if project costs are so high the county and
town cannot come up with enough money.


BREAKING NEWS - The bids for the beach nourishment projects that were planned for this spring for the towns of Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk and Duck were opened yesterday.  According to information obtained by EyeonDare the bids for the towns of Duck and Kitty Hawk came in higher than planned, while the bid for Kill Devil Hills was a bit lower. Complete figures are not yet available.  County officials immediately planned a conference call for early this morning "with their financial people and engineers to evaluate options".

Meanwhile, all three towns have already announced to their residents the new tax rates to be assessed in order to pay for the projects, and the county had put in place a proposed financing plan to pay for their committed contribution to the projects. It is not know at this time how this will affect getting the projects underway.

The Dare Commissioners will be holding a Planning Retreat tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. (Feb 11th). in the conference room of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, where this and other matters will be discussed.

More to come as information is available.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A horse named Airport

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A horse name "Airport"
If a horse suddenly came out of your barn and started running around the neighborhood, it's quite natural that most people would think the horse belonged to you. OK, there's a horse running all over the Dare County Democratic Party's webpage and Face Book page these days and the Dems don't appear to want to claim him.  His  name is "Airport".  It seems that the reason "Airport" is running about is that, perhaps, he wants to be a four year college.  But, who knows, for sure.

Here's how "Airport" got out of the barn.  The Dare Dems sent out a survey questionnaire to two members of its party, John Towler (D) and Bobby Culpepper (D) who are running for the 2nd District commissioner seat in the upcoming primary. Four questions were asked of each candidate.

It's certainly reasonable to assume that the Democratic Party would have chosen questions they thought would be of the utmost importance to all voters. But, Question #4 was a real doozy.
It read: Would you support efforts to bring a 4 year college in Dare County, to help stabilize the economy of Dare County? Would you support moving the Dare County Airport to a mainland location or a location in an adjacent county and using the current airport property for a four-year college?
Warren Judge


The Dems received Towler's response and printed it on their website, and apparently have not yet heard from Culpepper.

Sandy Semans Ross
EyeonDare spoke with Sandy Semans Ross, Intermin Secretary of the party and commissioner Warren Judge, who is well known to have his hands in about everything of a political nature in the county. Both Judge and Ross refused to say the Democratic Party owns the horse named "Airport". "First, I've heard of a new airport and four year college", said Judge.
"It was just a question submitted from someone from within the party", said Ross.
Well, someone owns that horse, otherwise how did it gain such affluence as to be honored and get a #4 spot on the Democratic Party web and Face Book pages.

It would be interesting to know how the members of the local Airport Authority, the citizens of Dare, and even the county employees, who are asking for a raise,  think about tearing down a 75 year old county airport in favor of spending buccos of money trying to get a four year college in its place. It brings back memories of the "UNC Dare" days when the Democratic Party so heavily controlled county politics not so many years ago.

One thing is sure, someone's got airports, colleges and race horses on their minds. And, if the Dare Democrats own those ideas, they need to come out and say so.  For, to own such a horse, and turn it loose on the public in this fashion could be called disingenuous.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Commissioners Vote Violated Lease Requirements

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 Four Dare County  commissioners (Allen Burrus, Jack Shea, Wally Overman, Warren Judge) voted to award a three year farm lease to a farming operation (Sow & Reap, LLC) in violation of their own request for proposal (RFP) by accepting a last minute written  proposal from ex-commissioner Mike Johnson, who signed the document as the "farm manager of Sow & Reap, LLC", even when the corporation's owner, Thomas Ormond of Bath, NC stood before them and said "He (Mike Johnson) is not the manager of Sow & Reap Farms". Ormond also admitted to the board that the corporation, Sow & Reap, LLC had only been in business for three years, despite the fact the RFP required five years of farming operations.



From: Ray Midgett (obxsaltydog2009@live.com)
Sent:Wed 2/03/16 9:27 AM
To:Bob Woodard (woodard@darenc.com); Jack Shea (jshea@darenc.com); Margarette Umphlett (margarette.umphlett@darenc.com); Beverly Boswell (beverly.boswell@darenc.com); Warren Judge (warrenj@darenc.com); Allen Burrus (allenb@darenc.com)

Commissioners,
 
Please go back and listen to the comments made by Tommy Ormond at the board
meeting on Monday. You will notice that he tells you  that Mike Johnson has
nothing to do with any of his farming operations except to be a trouble shooter for
one farm that he (Ormond, not Sow & Reap) rents over in Hyde county. He also said TWICE that Mike Johnson will have nothing to do with the Dare farm.

As such, how did Mike Johnson have legal authority to sign and present that bid offer on
behalf of Sow & Reap. Per Ormond's statement, nothing above Johnson's signature
was legally binding as to Ormond or Sow & Reap Farms. I also find it interesting that the
paper signed by Johnson was submitted only hours before the deadline date.

I believe you have acted on an illegal bid proposal and ask for your verbal response
on this matter.  I also ask that you revisit this matter in open session. Again, please review the video again.  This matter continues to smell and  I do not think the people of Dare County appreciate how it has been handled.

Ray Midgett