In this issue:
- Recap of Village Council regular meeting.
- Commercial Area Master Plan (CAMP) survey ends on 11/30, please respond if you have not already!
- Golf cart registration renewal begins on Thursday, December 1, 2022.
- Creek access permit renewal process begins the first week in December.
- Village recognizes long-serving Public Safety volunteers, Brian and Jane Johnson.
- An update on Duke Energy’s project at the wildlife overlook.
Important Events & Dates:
- The IPC/PO will operate on extended hours this Wednesday, November 23, 2022, it will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Village offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 24 & 25, 2022, for the Thanksgiving holiday. USPS mail will be put up on Saturday, November 26, 2022. Click HERE for Bald Head Island Transportation Inc.’s Thanksgiving ferry schedule.
- 2nd Annual Golf Cart Parade will take place on Friday, November 25, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. beginning at the Shoals Club. Mayor Quinn and Santa Claus will be in attendance.
- Christmas tree lighting at the Jailhouse, Saturday, November 26, 2022, from 5-7 p.m. Mayor Quinn will be lighting the tree.
- November 30, 2022, is the last day to respond to the CAMP Survey.
- Golf cart registration opens Thursday, December 1, 2022.
- Village offices will be closed on December 23, 26, and 27. IPC holiday schedule HERE.
Reminders: IPC package tracker, IPC holiday schedule, package addressing, beach bonfire season is here, and there is a new permitting process.
Regular Council Meeting – The Village Council conducted its regular meeting on Friday, November 18, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. Here is a summary of the information shared and the actions that were taken at this meeting:
Andy Sayre was presented with an honorary resolution from the North Carolina League of Municipalities for his 24 years of faithful service to the Village of Bald Head Island.
The Village Council received public comments from Rex Cowdry regarding the sale of the transportation system. He requested transparency from the Village and for the Village to have a public hearing on the matter. Ms. Marianna Fitz-Hugh submitted comments online regarding issues with contractors parking in the roadway and blocking emergency vehicle access. She requested that the Village purchase a few low-cost medical equipment items for the island.
The consent agenda passed unanimously. It included meeting minutes (the special meeting minutes were pulled for minor edits).
Under old business, the Village Council received public comments on a proposed ordinance amendment to increase the size limitations/restrictions for vessels using the creek access from under 16 feet in length with motors smaller than 25 horsepower to under 17 feet in length with motors smaller than 75 horsepower. Several comments were submitted online, all were in favor of the proposed amendments. No one was present to provide comments in person. The Village Council will consider the adoption of the proposed amendment at the next regular meeting on December 16, 2022.
Under new business, the Village Council unanimously approved an agreement for the Phase I Immediate Response Debris Clearing (cut and push) and a budget amendment to cover legal fees for ongoing and future legal expenses associated primarily with the Transportation System acquisition and more recently with the NC Utilities Commission rate case effort to regulate the parking at Deep Point Marina and the barge operations. The Finance Director presented the October financials and reported on Brunswick County’s upcoming re-appraisal. Additional information on this topic is below.
Report of Upcoming Re-Appraisal – Finance Director Zachary Hewett reported that he and Mayor Quinn attended a meeting with the County on the upcoming re-appraisal (revaluation). In North Carolina, a revaluation or re-appraisal must be done at least once every eight years. Brunswick County has shortened this time to every four years. The goal of a revaluation is to appraise all property at its current market value so that each property is only assessed at its fair share of the tax burden. For this re-appraisal, Brunswick County estimates that there will be a 35-85% on average increase in property values for Brunswick County municipalities. The reappraisal will go into effect on January 1, 2023, and property tax bills will go out in July 2023.
The re-appraisal may affect the Village’s tax rates. The Village is required to calculate and publish the revenue-neutral property tax rate. The revenue-neutral property tax rate is the rate that is estimated to produce revenue for the next fiscal year equal to the revenue that would have been produced for the next fiscal year by the current tax rate if no appraisal had occurred. The Village does not have to adopt the revenue-neutral tax rate.
The Village is working on setting up a time for someone from Brunswick County Tax Office to come give a presentation on the reappraisal process. In the meantime, please feel free to check out the County’s 2023 reappraisal FAQ website HERE.
Below are a few items that were shared during the Manager’s Report.
Development Services – Stephen Boyett, Development Services Director reported that he is directly communicating with contractors on a regular basis to minimize the disruption to others. He is making sure the contractors are keeping the work sites clean and that vehicles are out of the roadway. There is not much he can do under the present ordinances and State code to enforce more harshly, he can’t pull permits or issue stop work orders for parking violations. Public Safety is issuing citations and is educating first and fining for repeat offenses. He said he appreciates folks letting him know where the issues are so he can follow up.
Public Safety Items – Captain Josh Gibson presented the monthly report for the Department of Public Safety. This time of the year they transition from response to maintaining equipment and training. The Department recently received a speed and message board. He shared some of the data that was collected from the equipment when it was placed in two different locations. He said that the Department wants to collect data from all parts of the island so they can establish target times and areas for enforcement. So far, most vehicles are slowing down when they see the sign. Captain Gibson thanked the Village Council for approving the purchase of the new speed and message board.
Public Services Items – John Parker presented the monthly report for Public Services. He discussed the annual maintenance that is scheduled to take place in the off-season to several beach accesses. Access 1, 4, 32, 34, 39, and 41 will be undergoing maintenance and the new ADA will be built, this work is currently out for bids, bids are due on November 28, 2022. Public Services will be cleaning up the public parking area at the corner of South Bald Head Wynd and Muscadine, this area is directly across the street from where the new ADA access is being built. Mr. Parker thanked the Village Council for approving the purchase of the new sign making machine. Public Services has made over 100 replacement signs. He estimated that in 6 months the department has covered 35% of the cost of the machine in savings by making the signs in-house. He reported that crews have been able to finally proceed with doing the cutting needed around the island to alleviate sight line and clearance issues. He said the department is equipped with the proper tools to do this work and now has an arborist on staff so that the cutting is done in a method that promotes canopy growth. Mr. McCall indicated that the new filter for the reverse osmosis system is showing results. Mike Harris reported the work on the Public Safety building HVAC system is ongoing and should be complete before next summer.
Action Items for Public Safety – Mr. McCall reported that Mayor Pro Tem Gardner and Councilor Hill along with staff met with representatives of the Public Service Auxiliary and public safety volunteers to review several issues and concerns. A summary table was created to document progress on the action items that were discussed at this meeting. The Village recently reported on the accomplishments made since the Lighthouse Landing fire which happened a year ago this past Sunday. You can read the article HERE. He reported that the proposals for the two ambulances and pumper truck will be opened on December 1, 2022. This apparatus will be purchased with FEMA funds.
#6 Bypass Lagoon Stormwater Project – Village Staff met with the contractor, engineer, and BHI Club representatives on-site earlier this week for a pre-construction meeting to further coordinate details for the upcoming project. The project will include the replacement of the existing 24” inch culvert pipe and gate on the Club side of the lagoon with a 30” inch culvert pipe and two (2) isolation gates. Construction is expected to take place the week of January 9, 2023, barring no complications. This project will complete the recommended changes at the bypass lagoon per the Hurricane Florence Task Force final report from July 2019.
Cyber Security Assessment – The NC Army National Guard will conduct its cyber security assessment of the Village starting 11/28.
The Assistant Village Manager, Jae Kim, provided an update on the following:
Island Package Center/Post Office Update – The FTE (full-time equivalent) IPC/PO specialist position has been posted and has had several applications submitted. One interview has been conducted this week with another scheduled next week. You may recall last month that the Village Council authorized staff to hire an additional FTE in anticipation of reopening on Saturdays. Staff requested time to train the new team member before reopening on Saturday.
October package counts that came through the IPC/PO facility:
- 4,799 Total packages for October 2022 with a 3% drop from the month before (4,951 packages)
- FedEx Express: 81
- FedEx Ground: 1113
- UPS: 2189
- USPS: 1416
- 4,595 Total packages from last October (2021) with a 4.4% increase to the year prior
The Village continues to work on a new contract with UPS. The FedEx (Ground) contract was executed on October 11, 2022, effective 8/1/22 to 7/31/23 at a contract rate of $8.00 per package. FedEx has since requested an additional agreement that will require the Village to use FedEx scanners to track packages on the island. While this may assist with better invoicing of FedEx, it could affect efficiency and requires the lease/purchase of additional equipment.
Shoreline Protection – A representative from the American Flood Coalition, the Carolinas Director, Tony McEwen will be visiting Bald Head Island to introduce himself and give a brief presentation on the organization. It is a non-partisan group of municipalities, elected officials, military leaders, businesses, and civic groups that provide a platform to advocate with a unified voice for solutions to flooding and sea level rise. They focus on policies that strengthen the economy, invest in our cities and towns, that safeguard our economy, and advance solutions that support flood-affected communities. The Village can become a member at no cost.
The Wilmington Harbor Navigation Channel Maintenance Dredging Project is set to begin soon. Village staff has been in communication with Marinex, the dredging company that is doing the project for the Army Corps of Engineers. The Village is assisting the contractor as they begin to set up the base station off of West Beach near Sand Piper Trail and is coordinating resources that they will need from the Village (water, port-a-johns, fuel, etc.).
As construction begins, the Village will be sending out communications regarding the project. For those folks who may have never experienced a shoreline restoration project here is some information on what to expect:
The beach will remain open except for the areas of immediate construction where a 1,000-foot section of the beach will be closed at any given time when nourishment is underway. Due to the many variables associated with the construction progress, such as mechanical or weather impacts, it is extremely difficult to forecast when the contractor will have a particular section of the beach closed. There will be a large pipe that carries the sand slurry down the beach and heavy excavation equipment which will be working 24/7 until the project is completed. There will be noise from the large machinery 24/7, this will include the “backup signals” from the machines and lighting which are required for the safety of the crew. Sand ramps will be spaced along the beach (approximately every 400 feet) to allow beachgoers to walk over the pipe and access the ocean.
Government Affairs – Mayor Quinn and staff are coordinating with GT Law on a visit to DC to meet with congressmen and their staff, this will likely take place in mid-to-late January. Staff is following up with GT Law consultants on updates and timelines for congressional aid opportunities (infrastructure and coastal-related funding).
CAMP Survey – Bald Head Island is going to continue to grow and having a long-term plan for that growth will be important in easing future growing pains. As you may know, the Village’s Commercial Area Master Plan effort began with Commercial Area Master Plan Committee’s kickoff meeting on November 9, 2022. You can view a synopsis of that meeting on the CAMP webpage HERE and the planning consultant’s presentation from the meeting HERE.
At the CAMPC’s kickoff meeting, several commercial stakeholders on the island were given a survey to complete. This same survey will be available to the public in hard copy on Monday, November 14, 2022, in the Island Package Center and Post Office, or you can complete it online by clicking HERE.
The survey is broken down by each of the three commercial areas of the island, so be sure to answer the questions while you are considering each distinct area of the island (view maps here HERE). This survey will be available through November 30, 2022.
Please consider filling out this important survey so you can be a part of our island’s future!
Golf Cart Registration Renewal – It is almost time to get your golf cart registered for 2023! Online and in-person registrations begin on Thursday, December 1, 2022.
Annual Renewals: To complete your online registration you will need your insurance policy and a credit card. Please inspect your cart registration sticker before applying for a yearly renewal sticker. If your registration sticker is torn, faded, peeling, or damaged in any way please choose the option to pick up your annual registration at the Public Safety Building. When you arrive at the Public Safety Building, you will need to request a new cart sticker (you will be assigned a new registration number). The online registration can be completed HERE.
If you select the option to pick up the new sticker at the Public Safety Department (vs. having it mailed), please allow at least 48 working hours for processing by administrative staff before going by to pick it up. Note that the 48-hour processing does not apply on weekends and/or holidays.
First-Time Registrations: The initial registration of a golf cart (first time on the island, initial application) must be completed at the Public Safety Building with staff. Your cart will be inspected. Please bring a copy of your insurance policy, proof of liability coverage is required at the time of registration. The coverage must meet the standards set by the NC Department of Motor Vehicles. After the cart passes inspection and given a registration sticker, the owner will need to go online and apply and pay for the annual registration HERE.
You must register each cart individually. As a reminder, trailers that are as long as golf carts must also be registered with the Village. Please try not to put this off until the last minute. If you have any specific questions about the annual registration process, please feel free to contact Elizabeth Gray, Administrative Assistant, at 910-457-5252 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Creek Access Permit Renewal – The due date for 2023 Creek Access Permit renewals is January 15, 2023. Permit fees remain at $150 per permit. Historically, permit applications have been sent via USPS. If you already have a space at the Village Creek Access for your vessel (kayak, canoes, small boats without motors), Creek Access permit renewal applications should arrive by December 15th. The Village will be offering online renewals for the 2023 calendar year. If you would like to take advantage of this service, please reach out to Darcy Sperry, Village Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 9th so she can arrange for your to receive your renewal notification electronically.
The permit needs to be filled out in its entirety and returned to her attention. Once payment is received, a permit number will be assigned, and staff will affix the stickers to the vessel for you. Permits are issued per vessel as opposed to per space.
If you are interested in obtaining a space at the Creek Access, contact Darcy (email@example.com or 910-457-9700 ext. 1001) and if there is space available, she will get a space assigned to you once the proper paperwork is filled out and submitted. These spaces are permitted annually at the calendar year.
Recognizing the Johnsons – On October 17, 2022, the Department of Public Safety had a Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast to show the Department’s appreciation for our dedicated group of volunteers. Mayor Quinn and Village Manager Chris McCall presented Brian and Jane Johnson with plaques during the event. The engraving says, “in grateful appreciation of your dedicated service to the community and the Village of Bald Head Island.” The Johnsons have been serving as Public Safety Volunteers since 1999! Additional photos can be viewed HERE.
Update on Duke Energy Project at the Wildlife Overlook – As recently reported, the Village and the Bald Head Association have been coordinating with Duke Energy on the upcoming work at the wildlife overlook area. Due to potential tropical storm impacts from TS Nicole, Duke Energy decided to delay the switching to de-energize the existing equipment. This was scheduled for last week. Due to this delay, Duke Energy will not begin the removal of existing equipment until the Monday following Thanksgiving to avoid having an open construction area over the holiday weekend.
Here’s the adjusted schedule (subject to weather and other impacts) for the project:
- 11/17 grid switching to de-energize existing equipment (DONE)
- 11/28-11/29 rigging to remove existing switchgear
- 11/30-12/1 pouring new concrete pad – three-day curing time
- 12/5-12/6 installation of new switchgear
- Week of 12/5 site restoration
- Week of 12/12 cable testing for new switchgear
- TBD energize new switchgear
While some of this occurring, traffic control personnel will be staged at Sabal Palm Trail and Bay Tree Trail to redirect traffic as there will be no through traffic on Stede Bonnet Wynd while this work is taking place (view maps HERE).
This work is not expected to cause a power outage for customers. As always, if you do experience an outage at your home, please call the outage line at 1.800.419.6356.
IPC Package Tracker – As the Island Package Center and Post Office transitioned to new software only PO Box users now receive package notifications. But no worries there, you can track your package online by using our package tracker. You can find it HERE.
It is important to emphasize that when you receive a package notification from a carrier, (FedEx/UPS) that means the package has arrived at the driver’s final destination which is the Deep Point warehouse, NOT Bald Head Island. The package still needs to be transported to the island via the barge, trucked to the IPC, then scanned and sorted prior to being ready for pickup. The barge does not operate on weekends and can be impacted by inclement weather conditions causing additional delays.
IPC Holiday Schedule – The IPC/PO will be extending its hours and operating during one designated Village holiday this season, details are below:
- Thanksgiving Holiday – The IPC/PO will be closed on Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25, 2022, for the Thanksgiving holiday. It will be open for extended hours on Wednesday, November 23rd and will open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. USPS mail will be put up on Saturday, November 26, 2022. We recommend that if you are having items shipped to the island for this holiday you place your orders on November 10 or earlier to give sufficient time for your package to make it to the island.
- Christmas Holiday – The IPC/PO will be open for extended hours on Thursday, December 22, 2022, and will open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. The IPC/PO will be closed Friday, December 23rd and Monday, December 26th. USPS mail will be put up on Saturday, December 24, 2022. USPS mail will not be put up on Friday, December 23rd and Monday, December 26, 2022. Although the Village offices will remain closed on Tuesday, December 27th, the IPC/PO will be fully staffed and open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. We recommend that if you are having items shipped to the island for this holiday you place your orders on December 8 or earlier to give sufficient time to make it to the island.
View our holiday mail and package tips HERE.
Package Addressing – Due to recent upgrades at the Island Package Center and Post Office, all incoming mail and packages must have a unique identifier to ensure that packages are tracked and received in a timely manner. If you have a post office box, please make sure all incoming mail has that number on it. If you do not have a PO box, your BHI property address needs to be on all incoming mail and packages. We have customers that are using the IPC/PO address (104/106 Lighthouse Wynd) for incoming mail and packages. This is no longer acceptable and will not be compatible with our new software system.
Beach Bonfire Permits – Beach bonfire season has begun. It began on November 16th and will end on April 30, 2023. Individuals must apply for and receive a permit to have a bonfire on the beach. The permits are issued by the Department of Public Safety. Applications are accepted Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (except Village holidays). Applications can be emailed or delivered in person to the administrative assistant at the Public Safety Building (firstname.lastname@example.org, 273 Edward Teach Extension). Applications must be submitted at least 24 hours prior to your requested burn time.
Locations for bonfires by individuals are limited to four beach access sites: Access #5, Access #24, Access #35, and Access #39 (one bonfire per beach access site at the same time). Only one permit shall be issued per beach access per day. Permits for Monday through Friday will be issued the day prior. Permits for Saturday, Sunday, or holidays that fall on Monday will be issued on Fridays.
Over the years beach bonfires have become very popular and the permits are applied for well in advance by several individuals. This season the Village will be issuing permits in the following manner. If you have applied for a permit, you will receive a phone call on the day of issuance, if you do not answer and there is another person who has applied for that same night, the next applicant will be called, and so on until we speak with someone who verbally claims the permit.