In this issue:
- Recap of Village Council regular meeting. Including Commercial Area Master Plan (CAMP) update, last week’s fire drill, IPC/PO opening on Saturdays starting in January, and an update on the Wilmington Harbor Maintenance Project.
- Bald Head Island Transportation, Inc. released ferry schedules for Christmas and New Year’s.
- 2022 employee of the year selected.
- Golf cart registration renewal continues, some guidance for phone and tablet users.
- Creek access permit renewal process is now online, please renew by January 15, 2023.
- BHI Transportation Authority meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, December 21, 2022, at 9:15 a.m.
Reminders: Village offices will be closed for the holidays, IPC holiday schedule, prepare for freezing temperatures.
Regular Council Meeting – The Village Council conducted its regular meeting on Friday, December 16, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. Here is a summary of the information shared and the actions that were taken at this meeting:
Under public comment, the Village Council received a presentation from Tony McEwen, Carolinas Director for the American Flood Coalition. Mr. McEwen introduced the council to the organization, its mission, members, and member resources. He invited the Village to join the coalition. Thomas Antalik submitted public comments online. His comments were regarding the proposed text amendment to the Creek Access Ordinance.
The consent agenda passed unanimously. It included minutes and a resolution adopting the 2023 Village Council Regular Meeting Schedule. There are no changes to the schedule, the Village Council will continue to meet at 10:00 a.m. on the third Friday of the month. The only exception will be in February. The regular meeting will take place after the second day of the annual retreat which is set for February 7 and 8, 2023.
Under old business, the Village Council unanimously adopted the proposed ordinance text amendment as presented 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. The Village wants islanders to take note that although these restrictions have been eased, access to the creek will remain limited depending on tidal conditions. The Village is constrained in its ability to address the silting at the boat ramp and is not able to increase the depth of the creek beyond the Creek Access due to environmental regulations which prohibit the disturbance of these protected areas.
Under new business, the Village Council adopted a capital project ordinance for Phase 2 of the lift station upgrade project and awarded the bid for the construction of the ADA beach access and annual beach access repairs. The Council adopted budget amendments for Fund 42 (for the beach accesses), Fund 31 (for water/sewer), and Fund 10 (for the Edward Teach ext. area landscaping project). For more information about the ADA beach access, the beach access repairs, and the Phase 2 lift station upgrade project, go to our Village Projects webpage HERE. The Village Council received the audit presentation from Duncan Hilburn, CPA of Berry, Padgett & Chandler PLLC. The Village received an unqualified opinion, meaning all financial statements present fairly in all material respects (this is good).
Below are a few items shared in the Manager’s Report:
Fire Drill – Chief May reported on the Department of Public Safety’s fire drill which took place on Thursday, December 15, 2022. Public Safety volunteers, Public Service Auxiliary members, and Department of Public Safety personnel participated in the fire drill. The drill took place at the Crew’s Quarters complex so that all involved could practice on a three-story structure. The drill scenario involved a fire on the second-story corner unit, with inaccessible stairs so ladders were deployed to the second floor and the third floor to inspect fire intrusion on the upper floors. PSA members assisted with traffic control and set up tents with supplies. Firefighters transitioned through the PSA’s rehab tent as if it were a true event. After the drill, everyone gathered to discuss what went well, what needed to be improved, and opportunities for additional training and equipment needs. There was an excellent showing of volunteers and PSA members and the discussion was very productive. Chief May indicated that there will training events like this one in the future.
Public Safety Apparatus Bid Opening – Mr. McCall reported that the Village is currently evaluating the bids received on December 1st in response to the Village’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the pumper engine truck and two (2) ambulances. Staff has been discussing various options for funding given the myriad of revenue streams including PSA funds donated, FEMA funding, and installment financing for the outstanding balance.
#6 Bypass Lagoon Stormwater Project Update – The project has now been set for the week of January 9 barring no complications. The work 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. This project, once finished, will complete the recommended changes at the bypass lagoon per the Hurricane Task Force final report from July 2019. The Village would like to thank the Bald Head Island Club and BHI Transportation for their coordination and cooperation in ensuring that this is a successful project.
Verizon Cell Tower Service Equipment Upgrades – The Village has been in contact with Verizon regarding cell service issues on the island. While the Village has no direct authority over cell phone companies and their services, Verizon has been receptive to hearing from the Village on behalf of the many customers who live, work, and play on Bald Head Island. Verizon is awaiting outcomes of their annual budget approval which currently has funding included for system upgrades. Based on follow-up discussions with the area engineer, the upgrades should improve cell service on the island. The Village should know more about the status and the path forward after January 23, 2023 and will provide any further updates.
MAPS Salary & Pay Classification Study Update – The MAPS study is ongoing with a tentative time frame of a draft report with recommendations in February 2023. It may be ready to present at the March Village Council meeting.
Cyber Security Assessment Update – The NC Army National Guard will conduct its cyber security assessment of the Village from December 19 through December 22. The initial report may be ready for the January Village Council meeting. The final report will likely not be ready in time for the February retreat (there will be a minimum of 30 days between the initial report and the final report).
Lobbying Efforts Update – Village officials are tentatively scheduling a post-election trip to D.C. the week of January 23 or the week of January 30 to have meetings with the delegation. The purpose of the meetings is to meet and greet and touch upon key issues specific to Bald Head Island (i.e., wind energy and channel deepening).
Village officials have recently discussed a path forward for direct engagement with Duke Energy on the Wilmington area wind energy lease areas through their Government Relations Director Pam Hardy.
Village officials also discussed the recent announcement of the Corps’ “years-long” Harbor Expansion Study getting underway. This would be an evaluation of the NCSPA’s 2018 feasibility study to deepen the federal shipping channel from 42’ feet to 47’ feet to meet post-Panamax container vessel sizes to the port in Wilmington. The evaluation is slated to cost $8.3 million and take at least four (4) years (completed in October 2026). Per the article, the forthcoming USACE analysis will address technical and legal concerns identified by federal officials with the ports’ initial feasibility study.
The Assistant Village Manager, Jae Kim, provided an update on the following:
IPC/PO- November package counts that came through the IPC/PO facility:
- 4,916 Total packages for November 2022 with a 2.4% increase from the month before (4,799 packages)
- .7% increase from the year prior when there were 4,739 Total packages from November 2021
UPS Contract – The status of this contract is ongoing.
FedEx (Ground) Contract – FedEx completed a site visit on December 1 with a team of their representatives including their station manager from Wilmington. They wanted to see how the operation works from drop off of their packages at the warehouse to customers picking up packages at our IPC/PO facility. The status of the contract is ongoing in coordination with their IT staff for our data to be merged/shared. If the added capacity agreement is signed for next year, will incorporate any costs to the Village of the scanning system or software from FedEx to be covered by the carrier as discussed between FedEx reps and our IT Director during the last visit.
IPC/PO specialist position – Interviews have been completed and an offer letter has been drafted. The selected applicant has received a verbal offer. The start date will be January 4, 2022.
Opening on Saturdays– The IPC/PO will open fully on Saturdays starting January 7, 2023, with windows open from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Wilmington Harbor Maintenance Project – Village staff met with US Army Corps of Engineers representatives and Tyler Stubbs with Marinex Construction for a kickoff meeting on November 17, 2022. Equipment started arriving on the beach at the end of November. Dredging and sand placement began on Friday, December 9. The estimated timeline is three months pending weather conditions and/or mechanical delays. For more information about this project go to our project webpage HERE. The webpage includes the USACE progress map, the Village’s map with photos, and regular updates from the Village. The Village is also posting updates on social media.
A question that has been asked since the project started concerns why the sand is not going to go in front of the Shoals Club where there has been significant erosion. Since this is an Army Corps of Engineers project solely funded by the federal government through Congressional appropriations, and the sand source per the Sand Management Plan (“SMP”) is the sand dredged from the federal navigation shipping channel to ensure the channel remains open, the Village does not have any direct authority over the project and where the sand will go. The Village can ask and did so last time the Corps did this project in 2021 and at that time the project budget funded by Congress and the quantity of sand dredged from the channel allowed for the sand to be placed from the west end of South Beach down near the Shoals Club. For this Corps project, the funding appropriated and the volume of sand to be removed from the shipping channel was not enough to the extent that the Village considered expending Village funds to add additional material so it could get down in front of the Shoals Club as an additional contract to the Corps contract while the dredge was here, but decided against it at the recommendation of the Village’s coastal engineer primarily because the quality of sand did not justify the cost share the Village would have to pay.
At this point, the Village is working on the permitting to borrow sand from a new area of Jay Bird Shoals and is still pursuing a permit for sand from the adjacent Frying Pan Shoals. A future privately funded Village beach nourishment project is planned for the winter of 2025 that will look to address the erosion at the east end of south beach and this topic will be discussed at the annual Council Retreat in February (7th and 8th). Our coastal engineer will be updating the Council on the status of the shoreline management program to include a discussion on details of the future Village beach nourishment project and erosion mitigation efforts specific to the area at the Shoals Club.
To date, the Village has worked in assisting the Shoals Club and its engineer with obtaining state permits through the Division of Coastal Management for the installation of temporary erosion control structures (i.e., “sand bags”) over the summer that have helped to protect the private infrastructure and minimize the ongoing erosion.
CAMA LPO Workshop – Mr. Kim and Mr. Boyett (Development Services Director) attended the CAMA workshop for LPO (local permitting officers) conducted by the DCM (Division of Coastal Management). Chris McCall and Stephen Boyett among others in attendance were recognized for their years of service working within the program. Mr. McCall and Mr. Boyett both received certificates for 15 years of service.
CAMP Update – Mayor Quinn asked Mr. Kevin Arata, Chair of the Commercial Area Master Plan Committee, to provide an update. Mr. Arata reported that the committee met about two weeks ago and had a walking tour. All committee members were in attendance as well as some stakeholders. The tour took over three hours to complete and much feedback was provided to the planning consultant. The planning consultant is incorporating everything that was discussed into the draft plan and is speaking to pairs of folks to refine the plan. A schematic plan should be ready in January. Mr. Arata reported that the CAMP survey was successful with over 200 responses and indicated that there will be an opportunity for islanders to provide additional input, likely in a public hearing type format.
Ferry Schedules – Bald Head Island Transportation Inc. has released ferry schedules for Christmas (see HERE) and New Year’s (see HERE).
Employee of the Year – This year’s Village Employee of the Year award goes to Sebastian Alamond, IT Assistant in the Information Technology Department. While Sebastian’s role is behind the scenes, his internal customers are appreciative of the excellent customer service he provides. Here are a few comments from Sebastian’s peers:
“Sebastian always makes himself available to help with anything. It doesn’t matter if it is a simple cell phone issuer or a major PC issue. He is always right there to help. A huge asset to the Village!”
“Sebastian helped the IPC/PO earlier this year during a time of much-needed reorganization. He worked many hours for several months and showed professionalism, teamwork, and dedication.”
Golf Cart Registration Renewal – It is time to get your golf cart registered for 2023 if you have not already! Online registrations began on December 1, 2022, and the deadline is January 1, 2023. We do have a grace period for enforcement to compensate for the possible delay in processing the stickers for pick-up and mail delivery for registrations submitted late in the month of December.
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 are using a tablet or cell phone after you click submit and pay you must click “agree” at the end. Please do not forget to enter your serial number (VIN), insurance company, and entire return address, an incomplete application will result in the delay of registration issuance.
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 is 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. 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, however, the Village is now offering online renewals for the 2023 calendar year. Permit payments can be made online as well. Click HERE to access the online application.
BHI Transportation Authority Meeting – The Bald Head Island Transportation Authority (BHITA) is holding its regular meeting on Wednesday, December 21, at 9:15 a.m. online and in the Indian Trail Meeting Hall (113 West Moore Street, Southport, NC). Click HERE for the meeting agenda.
Here are details to join by phone or online:
Join by phone (dial or tap)
+14156550001,24352536803# US Toll
+442031988143,24352536803# UK Toll
Internal call-in number from McGuireWoods offices: ext. 17800
Join with the following meeting link:
Click or tap to Join the meeting
Note: Audio connection type can be changed to “Call me” or “I will call in” to modify audio quality based on device or network in use.
Village Offices Closed – Village offices will be closed on Friday, December 23, 2022, Monday, December 26, 2022, and Tuesday, December 27, 2022. Please note the IPC/PO will also be closed 12/23 and 12/26 but will be open on 12/27.
IPC Holiday Schedule – The IPC/PO will be extending its hours and operating during one designated Village holiday, details are below:
- 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.
Prepare for Freezing Temps – If you missed it yesterday, the Village sent out an announcement with some tips on how to prepare for winter weather, especially when it comes to preventing freezing pipes. You can review the announcement HERE.