In this issue:
- Recap of Village Council regular meeting.
- Public Safety Day was a success!
- Village Utilities has released its annual drinking water quality report.
- BHA to host information sessions on BHIT’s new ticketing & reservation system.
- NC Wildlife Resources Commission reported earlier this month that coyote sightings are on the rise due to the arrival of pup season.
- BHI has active shorebird nests at beach access #1 and #11, please be mindful and keep dogs on a leash.
- Grilling safety tips.
- Commercial Area Planning Task Force update.
Reminders & Events:
- Village offices will be closed on Monday, May 29, 2023, in observance of Memorial Day. This includes the Island Package Center & Post Office. The Village Chapel is holding a ceremony on Memorial Day. BHI Transportation has released its Memorial Day schedule.
- The Village Chapel is holding a baby shower for Samara’s Village on May 27, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Village Chapel courtyard.
- The next Commercial Area Planning Task Force (CAPTF) meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. in the multi-purpose room in the Department of Public Safety.
- DEQ is holding a public input session on the NC Flood Resiliency Blueprint in Wilmington on Friday, June 9, 2023.
- The next regular Village Council meeting is on June 16, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.
- Village offices will be closed on Monday, June 19, 2023, in observance of Juneteenth. This includes the Island Package Center & Post Office.
- Due to staffing shortages, the Dosher Clinic on BHI will not be open this season.
- A section of Lighthouse Wynd is now closed to vehicle traffic.
Regular Council Meeting – The Village Council conducted its regular meeting on Friday, May 19, 2023, 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, there were no written or in-person comments for the Council.
The Village Council conducted a public hearing on the Manager’s Recommended FY 2023-24 Budget. Prior to the hearing, Mayor Quinn made some opening remarks on the budget’s structure, the Village’s priorities, and budgeting needs for FY24. He discussed the Village’s long-range financial planning, purchasing Public Safety equipment, spending on transportation to benefit the community, and shoreline protection. He pointed out that this budget includes a contingency line item, so the Village is prepared to pay for unexpected expenses without going into the fund balance.
Following the Mayor’s statement, Chris McCall, Village Manager, gave a presentation on the proposed budget. During the hearing the Village Council heard from Tippi Antalik, Robert Drumheller, Debra Drumheller, and Rex Cowdry. The Village Council will consider the feedback received during the hearing, and is expected to adopt the final budget ordinance at its next regular meeting on June 16, 2023.
The Village Council took action on several New Business items. The Council received a recommendation from staff to award the 2023-2024 Phase II Debris Management contracts (dangerous trees and limbs, C&D and vegetative debris, sand debris removal) to State Tree Services, Inc. The Village Council unanimously approved the contracts with State Tree Services, Inc. The Village Council unanimously awarded bids for the Pumper Engine Truck and Ambulances to Fire Connections for the truck and FESCO Emergency sales for the ambulances. The plan is to fund most of the purchase with FEMA funds. These purchases, along with the ladder truck, total $2.8 million in capital spending in FY24 for the Department of Public Safety and the largest capital investment in Public Safety the Village has made since at least 2004 (possibly ever) excluding the construction of the Public Safety Building. The Village Council adopted the capital project ordinance amendment for the public safety vehicles. The Village Council adopted a grant project amendment for the ARPA grant project. And lastly, the Village Council authorized staff to execute the UPS services agreement which increases the per package rate received by the Village from $6.25 to $8.00, effective June 1, 2023.
Below are a few items that were shared in the Manager’s Report:
IPC Update – April package counts that came through the IPC/PO facility:
- 6,334 total packages with a 1.6% decrease from the month before (6,441 packages). There has been a large increase which is a sign of the busy start to the season.
- 1.3% decrease from the year prior when there were 6,421 total packages from April 2022
- Staff is in the process of hiring the 5th full-time equivalent employee in the IPC.
- After finalizing the UPS contract, staff will focus on discussions with USPS on that contract.
- NCBIWA Spring Meeting – Councilor Hill and staff attended the NC Beach Inlet and Waterway Association spring meeting in Emerald Isle, NC. A few topics of interest were US Army Corps of Engineers update, NC Division of Water Resources Budget/Policy updates, Shallow Draft Channel Maintenance Grant Program updates, Division of Coastal Management (DCM) Program update (CAMA permitting fees expected to increase), State Flood Resiliency, ASBPA & tide gauge updates, American Flood Coalition update, targeting potential funding sources.
- Channel Maintenance Dredging – Coastal Dredging, LLC completed dredging of the marina channel entrance and the bypass area last week. They are expected to return in July to perform additional maintenance and place sand further down the beach (cell two) in front of Row Boat Row.
- Resiliency Projects – Withers & Ravenel (the Village’s new on-call engineering firm) performed a site visit and will be identifying potential coastal resilience projects that could qualify for Federal grants such as BRIC (Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities).
- Federal Governmental Affairs Consultant – Village Staff discussed several topics with the new firm (Ward & Smith, P.A.), including Frying Pan Shoals borrow area efforts and wind energy. The Village has a community project funding request through Congressman Rouzer’s office for the Village’s next shoreline protection project (for $10M). Representatives from the firm will be making a site visit on June 6, 2023.
- Shoals Club – The Village staff continues to work with the Shoals Club and assisted with its permit application to expand the sandbag revetment. It is expected that the permit is going to be denied and that the Shoals would need to seek a variance from the State. The Shoals Club has hired a coastal engineering firm and the Village will be working with the firm to fulfill requests for information.
- Hurricane Expo – Later this month several Village staff will be attending Brunswick County’s annual hurricane expo which is for the County’s community partners.
AIA (Asset & Inventory Assessment) Grant – Withers Ravenel, the Village’s new on-call engineering firm will be monitoring and managing the AIA grant project. Staff will have a resolution and project grant ordinance to present to Council for approval. This will likely be on the Council’s June regular meeting agenda.
Aging in Place – Village staff will be helping a group of folks who are making sure that senior citizens on the island have support as they age so they can continue to live on the island full-time. The Village will be working on a number of community awareness initiatives to including an education session on the emergency services the Village provides. The session will include information on emergency transport protocols and what happens when there are certain types of medical emergencies. Stay tuned for details on when the education session will be held.
Common Goals Meeting – Mayor Quinn indicated that he will be attending a meeting with the Bald Head Association to go over items that the entities can collaborate on and items that the two can possibly cut back where there is some redundancy.
List of Accomplishments – The Village Manager provided Mayor Quinn with a long list of accomplishments that the Village has achieved over the last fiscal year. There were more than sixteen big projects that were beyond the normal scope of operations of the Village. The Public Information Officer will be working on a way to present those to the public.
Public Safety – Chief May announced that last weekend’s Public Safety Day was a success. He thanked PSO Chip Sudderth and Public Service Auxiliary President Cam McIntyre for their hard work in organizing the event (more info below).
Chief May shared the monthly statistics for the department (HERE). Weekly statistics are posted online each week (HERE). He noted that there are two structure fires represented in the statistics. One was the 4/15 on Chicamacomico Way that he reported on last month. The second structure fire was called in as a fire. It was actually a propane heater that was on a second-story deck that had a flame so large it looked like it was a fire. He indicated that the Public Information Officer will follow up with education (see below our information on grilling safety) and the Village will investigate what the current ordinance states and how it may be adjusted to avoid similar hazards.
Chief May emphasized that the department’s equipment is not broken, it is functional, but needs upgraded as continuing maintenance on aging equipment can exceed the cost of replacement. He also noted at this time last year the department had 485 calls, this year the department is at 688, which is a 42% increase.
Public Services – JP McCann, Public Services Director shared the monthly statistics for the department (HERE). The Village has a right-of-way budget line item that can handle minor street repairs and is sufficiently funded for next year’s activities. He reported that the utilities department has completed repairs to the SBRs (sequencing batch reactors).
Staff attended a recent BHA meeting regarding the dog park. The Village will be making more of an effort to maintain the dog park to include vegetation and ticks and will include this in the department’s facility operations plan. The Village will be installing a water line for a water feature and will be assisting with fencing by repurposing some fencing that came from the Timbercreek mulch site. Another 200 feet will need to be procured to complete the expansion of the park. The Village Manager will be working with the BHA on a long-term lease agreement will be pursued to put the Village’s responsibility for the dog park in writing.
A full account of these meetings can be found in the minutes which are posted HERE. Typically, minutes are posted with the agenda of the next month’s meeting (ex. If you want to read the March meeting minutes, they can be found under the April regular meeting agenda).
Public Safety Day – Public Safety Day was held on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at the Department of Public Safety. Public Safety volunteers and Public Services Auxiliary members were on hand to make it a huge success. The day started with a 3.2-mile race (for Station 32). PSO Chip Sudderth ran the entire race in full gear! The kids who came had a great time! The training course was popular. Kids were able to put on fire equipment, climb over a wall, and through a tunnel to rescue a victim and carry it to safety. The bike rodeo was also a big hit, as was the sobriety test taken with special impairment goggles, and the popsicles! The BHI Conservancy had and educational booth. Volunteers and staff also manned booths with information about the Vial/File of Life program, the Knox Box program, hurricane preparedness, medical equipment, fire equipment, and all of the vehicles and apparatus the department has to work with. A BIG THANK YOU TO THE VOLUNTEERS & PUBLIC SERVICE AUXILIARY MEMBERS who came out to help make this event such a success!
Annual Water Quality Report – Village Utilities has released its annual water quality report (CCR – Consumer Confidence Report). It can be viewed HERE, is posted on the Utilities webpage and will be included in the next utility bill.
Info Sessions on New Ticketing & Reservation System – BHI Transportation plans to launch a new electronic ticketing and reservation system in early June 2023. At the request of BHI Transportation, the Bald Head Association will be hosting two information sessions on Bald Head Island Transportation’s new system. Both sessions will be open to the public and can be attended online or in person at the Association Center (111 Lighthouse Wynd). The first session is scheduled for Friday, May 26, 2023, at 10:00 am. (register for the Zoom session HERE). The second session is scheduled for Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at 2:30 p.m. (register for the Zoom session HERE). Questions about the new electronic ticketing and reservation system can be emailed to email@example.com. Questions received by Thursday, May 25, at 12:00pm will be grouped by category and answered at the information sessions as time allows.
Coyote Sightings – Earlier this month the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologists released an article letting North Carolinians know that the month of May is when people are more likely to spot a coyote than any other time of the year. The Village has not received any recent calls about sightings. Public Works has noticed some scat on the roadway, which indicates they are on the island. Please review the full article HERE. In the article, NCWRC biologist, Falyn Owens, offers the following tips to deter coyotes:
- Keep cats and small dogs on a leash or harness whenever they are outside. Backyard poultry should be kept in a predator-proof coop and run.
- Feed pets inside and keep food waste in secure containers. If you feed pets outside, set specific feeding times and remove the dishes and spilled food afterward.
- Keep fruit and bird seed off the ground. These foods can attract rodents and wildlife that prey on them.
- Haze coyotes that are seen around homes and businesses. Scaring coyotes away teaches them these areas are off-limits and that people should be avoided.
Active Shorebird Nests – The BHI Conservancy has requested that the Village notify folks that there are active shorebird nests at beach access #1 and #11. The Conservancy asks that beach visitors avoid disturbing the birds in these areas. Dogwalkers should be mindful and keep dogs on a leash. Shorebirds such as American Oystercatchers and Wilson’s Plovers nest directly on the sand and can be quite hard to see.
During turtle nesting season, dogs are required to be on a leash while on the beach from sunset to sunrise, per Village ordinance. Dogs must be under immediate control of their owner AT ALL TIMES when they are unrestrained.
The oystercatcher pair is new to Bald Head Island and the Conservancy is hopeful that they are successful and will come back following years. You can help by keeping dogs on the leash in these areas during nesting season and avoid nesting areas by walking close to the shoreline. The areas are marked with signage.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Conservancy Chief Scientist Beth Darrow (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Grilling Safety – Outdoor grilling is one of the best activities of spring and summer and it’s one of the most popular ways to cook food. A grill that is placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. Hot grills can also cause burn injuries. Medical and fire emergencies are two things we all want to avoid on Bald Head Island.
The Village’s Fire Prevention Ordinance (Section 12-53) states:
Cooking fires contained within a commercially available, solid-fuel burning, portable, outdoor cooking appliance, but only to the extent that such portable appliance shall be located at least ten (10) feet from any structure and within twenty-five (25) feet of a permanent water source connected to a hose that is able to reach the location of the appliance, and shall not be located upon any wood or composite deck or balcony attached to such structure or underneath any roofed structure, including any porch, awning, or balcony overhang of a structure.
Following the Village’s ordinance will reduce fire emergencies and property damage caused by grills and ensures that islanders can quickly respond to any mishaps that may occur when grilling out. Violating this ordinance could result in a $500 fine.
Here are a few grilling tips from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA):
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
CAPTF Update – The Commercial Area Planning Task Force (CAPTF) met on May 9, 2023. The task force members received a presentation from Brian Jenest of Cole, Jenest & Stone. After the presentation, CAPTF chair Kevin Arata made a statement to clarify the task force’s efforts and provide an indication of where the task force is at in the process. Below is a summary of his statement:
After a meeting on February 16th, an article in a local newspaper incorrectly implied that the results of the meeting were prescriptive. The meeting was an indicator of potential developments presented by the planning consultants. The task force, whose primary goal is to create Commercial Design Guidelines, listed potential focus areas for the Village Council but did not recommend specific steps for development. The task force is currently refining the draft Design Guidelines with input from property owners and plans to involve contractors and commercial property owners in the review process. The Village Council is also reviewing its ordinance to align it with the Design Guidelines and may be in a position to review the need for the continued moratorium on undeveloped commercial properties, which the Task Force did recommend, and Council implemented, in April 2023. The task force emphasizes the importance of careful development that aligns with the island’s infrastructure and preserves its current character.
The CAPTF is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. in the multi-purpose room in the Department of Public Safety. The agenda and Zoom information will be posted online HERE. If you would like to be informed about future CAPTF meetings, please contact Darcy Sperry, Village Clerk (email@example.com) to be added to the Village’s “Sunshine List.”
REMINDERS & EVENTS:
Memorial Day – Village offices will be closed on Monday, May 29, 2023, in observance of Memorial Day. This includes the Island Package Center & Post Office. Please be sure to plan ahead when ordering essential items. FedEx and UPS packages that are due to arrive at Deep Point on Friday, May 27, will not be delivered to the island until Tuesday, May 20, 2023. The barge never runs on weekends and will not be running on May 29 due to the holiday.
The Village Chapel will host its annual Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29 at 10:00 a.m. Details HERE.
BHI Transportation has released its Memorial Day schedule view it HERE.
Charity Event – The Village Chapel is holding a Baby Shower for Samara’s Village on May 27, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Village Chapel Courtyard. Baby items from newborn to one year old will be accepted. More info HERE.
CAPTF Special Meeting – The CAPTF will be meeting on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. in the multi-purpose room in the Department of Public Safety. The agenda and Zoom information will be posted online HERE.
Flood Resiliency Public Input – The NC Department of Environmental Quality will be holding a public input session on the NC Flood Resiliency Blueprint in Wilmington on Friday, June 9, 2023, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 230 Government Center Drive. More details HERE.
Next Regular Council Meeting – The next regular Village Council Meeting is scheduled for June 16, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. in the multi-purpose room in the Department of Public Safety (273 Edward Teach Ext.). The agenda will be posted HERE. Zoom information to listen-in remotely can be found HERE.
Juneteenth – Village offices will be closed on Monday, June 19, 2023, in observance of Juneteenth. This includes the Island Package Center & Post Office. Please be sure to plan ahead when ordering essential items. FedEx and UPS packages that are due to arrive at Deep Point on Friday, June 16, will not be sorted and available for pick up until Tuesday, June 20, 2023.
Dosher Clinic on BHI – Due to staffing shortages Dosher Memorial Hospital will not be able to have a clinic on the island this season. This will not impact the Village’s current procedures for addressing walk-in non-emergent patients. The Village will continue to notify patients about their options to include the on-island provider and mainland providers when necessary. In addition, some medical providers and insurance companies have telemedicine options that individuals may wish to explore prior to staying on the island. As always, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 and let the operator know you are on Bald Head Island.
Lighthouse Wynd – A section of Lighthouse Wynd is now closed to vehicle traffic. The closed section will remain open for pedestrian traffic until construction work begins for Old Baldy Foundation’s campus expansion. The parking area is also still available for the time being. Bollards have been installed on the very end of the street near the Timber Bridge.