2024 Bond Referendum

Background:

The Village of Bald Head Island is planning for a coastal storm damage reduction (CSDR) project in the winter of 2024-25.  The full project as proposed will use Jay Bird Shoals to supply the project with approximately 1 million cubic yards of beach-quality sand.  The sand will be placed east of the terminal groin along South Beach, down through the area where the sand tube groins are installed.  It will restart east of Muscadine Wynd and will fill to the east end of the Shoals Club. With the dry sand beach nourishment in place at the west end of South Beach, the Village also plans to remove and replace all groin tubes in the soft-tube groin field. 

The Village’s sand needs are evaluated on a continuous basis and are based on several factors.  Hurricanes, nor’easters, tropical storms, and other weather events can have an impact on shoreline erosion rates. In addition, the Village’s terminal groin permit has a requirement to maintain the fillet (the beach along the length of the terminal groin) so nourishment must occur regularly to meet permit requirements.

The Village’s current shoreline management plan is predicated on the long-standing Wilmington Harbor Sand Management Plan (WHSMP).  Bald Head Island, Caswell Beach, and Oak Island receive beach-quality sand when the Army Corps of Engineers performs channel maintenance on a rotational basis, and it is typically performed on an annual basis if there is Congressional funding.  Since these are Army Corps of Engineers projects, there is no cost to the beach towns for any of this work and the towns do not determine where the sand will go or how much sand will be placed.

The Village must plan to perform its own shoreline maintenance projects in between Corps projects.  The next planned project is a part of the Village’s shoreline management plan to “fill in the gap” since Bald Head Island has been a recipient of Corps sand from the WHSMP for the last two maintenance events.


What is a bond referendum?

A bond referendum is a voting process that gives voters the power to decide if a municipality should be authorized to raise funds through the sale of bonds, for specific purposes. A general obligation (G.O.) bond is long-term borrowing in which a municipality pledges its full faith and credit (taxing power) to repay the debt over a specified term. G.O. bonds are the least costly financing option available to the Village to finance major capital costs and offer significant savings to taxpayers over the repayment period. 

During the upcoming March 5, 2024, primary Bald Head Island voters will be able to vote YES or NO on the following questions:

Question 1:

Additional property taxes may be levied on property located in the Village of Bald Head Island (including, if legally authorized, additional taxes within the Village’s Integrated Shoreline Municipal Service District (Zones A and B)) in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on bonds if approved by the following ballot question.  SHALL the order authorizing $13,500,000 of bonds plus interest secured by a pledge of the faith and credit of the Village of Bald Head Island to pay capital costs of providing beach improvements (including replacing a groin field and transporting and providing additional sand and sand dunes, all for the control of beach erosion and flood and hurricane protection) and providing that additional taxes may be levied (including, if legally authorized, taxes within the Village’s Integrated Shoreline Municipal Service District (Zones A and B)) in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds, be approved, in light of the following:

(1)        The estimated cumulative cost over the life of the bonds, using the highest interest rate charged for similar debt over the last seven years, would be $16,203,600 (consisting of $13,500,000 principal amount of the bonds plus $2,703,600 of interest).

(2)        The Village estimates that existing projected revenues are expected to be sufficient to pay debt service on the proposed bonds and no property tax increase would be necessary.  However, the estimated amount of property tax liability increase for each one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) of property tax value to service the cumulative cost over the life of the bond provided above, assuming that, in addition to the proposed bonds, the Village issues $4,500,000 of general obligation bonds pursuant to a referendum conducted simultaneously with this referendum and $2,200,000 of general obligation bonds previously authorized by the Village’s May 2018 general obligation bond referendum, would be $55.00 per year for the entire Village, as well as an increase of $18.30 per year within the Village’s Integrated Shoreline Municipal Service District A and an additional increase of $18.30 per year within the Village’s Integrated Shoreline Municipal Service District B.

Question 2:
Additional property taxes may be levied on property located in the Village of Bald Head Island (including, if legally authorized, additional taxes within the Village’s Integrated Shoreline Municipal Service District (Zones A and B)) in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on bonds if approved by the following ballot question.  SHALL the order authorizing $4,500,000 of bonds plus interest secured by a pledge of the faith and credit of the Village of Bald Head Island to pay capital costs of providing beach improvements (including replacing a groin field and transporting and providing additional sand and sand dunes, all for the control of beach erosion and flood and hurricane protection) and providing that additional taxes may be levied (including, if legally authorized, taxes within the Village’s Integrated Shoreline Municipal Service District (Zones A and B)) in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds, be approved, in light of the following:

(1)        The estimated cumulative cost over the life of the bonds, using the highest interest rate charged for similar debt over the last seven years, would be $5,345,000 (consisting of $4,500,000 principal amount of the bonds plus $845,000 of interest).

(2)        The Village estimates that existing projected revenues are expected to be sufficient to pay debt service on the proposed bonds and no property tax increase would be necessary.  However, the estimated amount of property tax liability increase for each one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) of property tax value to service the cumulative cost over the life of the bond provided above, assuming that, in addition to the proposed bonds, the Village issues $13,500,000 of general obligation bonds pursuant to a referendum conducted simultaneously with this referendum and $2,200,000 of general obligation bonds previously authorized by the Village’s May 2018 general obligation bond referendum, would be $55.00 per year for the entire Village, as well as an increase of $18.30 per year within the Village’s Integrated Shoreline Municipal Service District A and an additional increase of $18.30 per year within the Village’s Integrated Shoreline Municipal Service District B.

Who can vote in the referendum?

You must be registered to vote under your Bald Head Island address to vote in the 2024 bond referendum. The registration deadline is February 9, 2024. Voter residency requirement information HERE. Additional 2024 election information HERE. Please direct all inquiries about voting to Brunswick County Board of Elections.


Important Dates

December 11, 2023GO Bond Town Hall
December 15, 2023Public hearing, bond order adoption, and referendum date set.
January 19, 2024Absentee ballots for the bond referendum will be available.*
February 9, 2024Last day to register to vote in the referendum.
February 15, 2024Early voting period starts.**
February 20, 2024Second GO Bond Town Hall
February 27, 2024Absentee ballot request deadline (5:00 p.m.).
March 2, 2024Early voting period ends.
March 5, 2024The referendum will take place. Absentee ballot return deadline 7:30 p.m.***
March 15, 2024Canvass of returns by Board of Elections at 11:00 a.m.
* Request absentee ballots HERE.
**Early voting information HERE.
***Voter registration and absentee voting deadlines are different for military and overseas citizen voters. All other ballots must be RECEIVED by the 3/5 7:30 p.m. deadline, NOT postmarked by this deadline.

Resources

Article: An Overview of BHI’s Shoreline Protection Program in Advance of the Village’s 2025 Project

2025 CDSR Project Webpage – Additional information about the project including project timeline, CAMA permit application, and project plans.

Shoreline Project Presentations – Recent presentations on the Village’s shoreline management program including the last two Council retreat presentations and the Village Manager’s presentation at the 2nd Annual Johnston Coastal Sustainability Symposium.

Past Project Information – A list of all beach disposal/sand placement activities and erosion control structure installations going back to 1991. Out of the 13 beach nourishment projects completed to date, 8 have been funded by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Check out our brochure on the 2025 CSDR Project!