In this issue:
- Recap of Village Council regular meeting.
- Emerging Contaminant (PFAS) update.
- Candidate filing for the November 7, 2023, municipal election has closed, what you need to know heading into the election.
- Golf cart safety awareness.
- Most hurricanes strike NC between mid-August and late October, prepare now.
- Commercial Area Planning Task Force update.
Reminders & Events:
- IPC/PO reminders – Saturday change of hours, please have packages ready for postage when you come to the service counter.
- TED Workshop from 10-12 on Saturday, July 29 at the BHI Conservancy porch.
- The next regular Village Council meeting is on August 18, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.
- The Village is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Planning Board. Deadline is August 11, 2023.
- National Lighthouse Day Weekend & Pirates Invasion Friday, August 4 – Sunday, August 6, 2023.
- Village Chapel school supplies drive and pet food collection.
- Pedestrian and cycling safety reminder.
- Always call 911 if you need a Public Safety Officer to come to you!
- Property tax bills are on their way, MSD tax charges will be separate on the bill.
- Due to staffing shortages, the Dosher Clinic on BHI will not be open this season.
Regular Council Meeting –The Village Council conducted its regular meeting on Friday, July 21, 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, Tippi Antalik made comments regarding an article that was recently published citing Brunswick County as the number one location for the worst water in the United States for forever chemicals. She asked if the Village will be updating islanders about the status of the water quality on Bald Head Island. Mr. McCall indicated that Mr. JP McCann, Public Services Director, is scheduled to provide a briefing on that subject as part of his department report (a more in-depth report can be found in the Emerging Contaminant Update section of this issue).
The consent agenda passed unanimously. It included the minutes from the June 16 regular meeting and Closed Session, a resolution authorizing the exchange of surplus property with the City of Southport, and approval of the reappointment of James Clark to the Planning Board for a term expiring June 2026.
Under Old Business, Commercial Area Planning Task Force Chair Kevin Arata gave an update on the task force’s activities. The full update can be found below. The update was followed by a discussion on the Village’s commercial building moratorium which is currently set to expire on December 15, 2023.
Under New Business, the Village Council approved the following: the FY24 ICE Fee Agreement, the Timbercreek Mulch Site Facilities Use and Service Agreement, the Timbercreek Mulch Site Sublease Agreement, award of the Marina Dock project to Island Contracting, Inc., award of the On-Call Engineering Services contract to WithersRavenel, Inc. and a resolution requesting State Assistance for Water Resources Development Program. There was discussion regarding a request for the Village to become a member of the Marina Association. Much of it pertained to the Village’s cost-share of the dredging of the marina which is yet to be determined.
Below are a few items shared in the Manager’s Report:
Development Services Update – Mr. Boyett, Development Services Director, presented the monthly departmental statistics (here, here, and here), followed by an update on the Village’s efforts to alleviate issues with commercial vehicles blocking the roadway. He reported that the Village sent an email to contractors regarding an acknowledgment statement that will be required to be submitted with building permits indicating that it is the general contractor’s responsibility to ensure that materials, vehicles, and trailers are not impeding the right-of-way and that they are subject to penalties for violation of the Village Code, including when a violation is the result of action by a subcontractor working on their site. Village staff conducted a meeting this morning for General Contractors, superintendents, and other personnel to discuss the issues and explain enforcement and the acknowledgment statement.
Public Safety Update – Captain Gibson, interim Public Safety Director, presented the monthly departmental statistics and took questions from the Village Council regarding illegal parking and where certain calls fall within the statistics. There was discussion about the area at the shoals where folks go out on the sandbars and when the tide comes in find themselves in need of rescue in the deep water and the need for signage. Because of the dynamic shoreline, it was decided that the signage would be placed at beach accesses 39, 41, and at the Shoals Club (with permission). There was discussion on encouraging folks to call 911 when they need BHI public safety, neighborhood watch, and recent sign vandalism. Staff is working on all three items (see reminder on calling 911 below).
Public Services Update – JP McCann, Public Services Director, presented the monthly statistics for Public Services. He reported that Public Works is working with the Bald Head Association on the Dog Park and that stump removal has been approved and the Village is working with Island Contracting on getting that work completed. He also reported on the latest Environmental Protection Agency response to PFAS in public water systems and the Village’s response (see full report below). Mr. McCann also requested permission to remove the Russian Olive that is impeding the view of oncoming vehicles near the new ADA access (photo below). Permission was granted to remove this vegetation.
Cyber Security Assessment Update – David Cox, IT Director, briefed the Village Council on the cyber security report prepared by the NC National Guard Cyber Security Task Force. This was a third-party assessment report which gauged the Village’s IT system’s compliance with the Guard’s standards. The Village was compliant in most areas, partially compliant in four areas, and non-compliant in two. Mr. Cox indicated that the Village will be able to come into full compliance before the Guard returns later this year and that he has sufficient resources to make it happen.
IPC Update –June package counts that came through the IPC/PO facility:
- 10,296 Total packages for June 2023 with a 37% increase from the month before (7,510 packages)
- 18.9% increase from the year prior when there were 8,661 Total packages from June 2022.
- Numbers from May to current show an average of 69.7 customers picking up packages on Saturdays.
- USPS Contract – Ongoing, gathering information for rate increase request.
2025 CSDR Project Permitting – As a follow-up to last month’s Scoping Meeting with DCM/Corps and other state & federal regulators, Village environmental consultants met with the Corps and determined that they would require an EA (Environmental Assessment) and the project would be processed as a modification of the Terminal Groin permit. Our consultants believe this is favorable and efficient in working through the process as a modification and should fit with the timing of the state permitting process. Note: DCM has 2, 75-day review periods and the Corps should be able to make a permit decision in about the same time frame.
Staff asked consultants to keep their “eye on the ball” relative to the timing of permitting and needing to bid the project out around this same time next year (July 2024) to get competitive bids from prospective dredging contractors.
The financing for this project will be through a General Obligation Bond (GO Bond) like the Village’s previous shoreline projects (2010 & 2018/19), and there will be a process in which the Village will inform the public on the details of the project, project funding, etc. The public education effort will take place prior to the bond referendum which is scheduled to take place on March 5, 2024.
As a reminder, the 2025 CSDR (Coastal Storm Damage Reduction) project will be removing beach quality sand from either Jay Bird Shoals or another approved site and it will be placed on the west end of the terminal groin down through the groin tubes, then the sand fill will restart east of Muscadine Wynd, and fill to the east end of the Shoals Club.
Wilmington Harbor Navigation Channel (WHNC) Deepening Project – Comments from the Village and Conservancy were submitted last month prior to the 6/30 deadline following the scoping meeting on 6/13. A copy of the comments was forwarded to Council for review, which included the history of the project & negative impacts associated with the previous project in 2000-2001. Additionally, Village staff/legal counsel worked with the Conservancy to assist them in their draft & submittal of public comments.
Federal Governmental Affairs Consultant – The Village initially requested $10M for the 2025 CSDR project (titled BHI Coastal Shore Erosion Project through NOAA) through the FY24 Community Project Funding Appropriations and has received clearance for $4.5M by the full committee in the US House. Ward & Smith is tracking and pushing for this request as it moved to the floor of the House. They are also communicating with our Senators’ offices, so they are aware of the Village’s funding request and expectations regarding the preservation of it through the overall Congressional earmark process.
AIA (Asset & Inventory Assessment) Grant – There was a kickoff meeting with WithersRavenel staff on July 20 (GIS team members, funding and asset management team & points of contact). Village staff will be attending ongoing monthly meetings.
Contractor Services Storage Facility – Staff has evaluated the space needs at the Contractor Services facility. Exterior space is being identified to meet the current demand for parking. There is some demand for indoor storage space, with about five people currently on the waiting list for the next available unit. The Village will continue to evaluate when another phase will be constructed, which would include additional indoor storage units, based on demand and the payoff of debt from previous phases.
Public Safety Director Recruitment – Mr. McCall reported that staff has selected a search firm out of the three evaluated. The process will include an in-depth assessment of the applicants. The assessment is a predictor of performance and is very thorough. The Village will be presented with the top candidates and then the Village will interview those candidates and ultimately make the hiring decision. The firm is going to provide executive coaching to the final candidate to help them succeed in the position. This position will be advertised internally and externally. The hiring process is expected to take 30-90 days.
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).
Emerging Contaminant Update – At the July 21, 2023, Village Council meeting, JP McCann, Public Services Director, gave an update on emerging contaminants in local water systems. Mr. McCann has been attending NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) workshops locally for the last two years regarding this topic and shared information about the Environmental Protection Agency’s policy proposals and the latest on the Village’s response to emerging contaminants.
EPA’s Response – Mr. McCann reported that the EPA is proposing a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) to establish legally enforceable levels, called Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for six Per-and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) in drinking water. The EPA is also proposing health-based, non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for these six PFAS. These MCLGs are the maximum level of contaminant in drinking water where there are no known or anticipated negative health effects allowing for a margin of safety.
The proposed MCLG and MCL (enforceable levels) can be viewed below.
Village’s Response – The State approached the Village about testing the island’s drinking water and tests were performed this past spring 2023 of the Royal James well. The results are shown below. The numbers on the left are the test results of the water coming straight from the well, the numbers on the right are the test results of the water coming from the tap at the time of the testing (this would be water from all sources that the Village’s water system was pulling from at the time of testing). All results received from this testing would fall below EPA’s proposed enforceable levels.
Mr. McCann emphasized that this is a snapshot in time, the results can change. This is because the Village pulls from different wells over time and adds Brunswick County treated water at various amounts during peak usage periods. He explained that as more testing is performed the Village will get a better understanding of what sources impact the results. The frequency of testing required for local water systems is likely to come out of the EPA’s guidance. The current proposed levels are also a snapshot and are subject to change. Mr. McCann indicated that the proposed levels have gone from 140 ppt and 70 ppt to the currently proposed levels of 4.0 ppt and 1.0 Hazard Index (unitless).
The Village is performing additional testing this week that will concentrate on water from the wells closest to the river and intake water coming from Brunswick County and then a tap result. The Village is also being proactive by putting in pre-filters and is seeking to modify them to include additional filters such as GAC (granular activated carbon) filtration.
The Village will provide updates as more test results are received and as the EPA’s regulations become final.
View all the EPA slides HERE.
2023 Municipal Election – Candidate filing for the November 7, 2023, municipal election closed on Friday, July 21. The Village has two (2) seats open for election this year and there are three eligible (3) candidates for consideration: Jerry Maggio (incumbent), Ginny White (incumbent) and Scott Thomas.
A few important dates:
Friday, October 6: Absentee ballots available.
Sunday, October 8: Residency deadline.
Friday, October 13: Voter registration deadline (forms must be postmarked by this date).
Thursday, October 19 – Saturday, November 4: One-stop early voting (see the schedule here).
Tuesday, October 31: Last day to request absentee ballot.
Tuesday, November 7, at 5:00 pm: Hand delivered absentee ballots due at the Board of Elections office.
Tuesday, November 7: Municipal Election (polls open from 6:30 am – 7:30 pm).
Monday, November 13: Mailed absentee ballots due at the Board of Elections office (must be postmarked on or before November 7).
Friday, November 17, 11:00 am: Canvass.
You can learn more about municipal elections with Brunswick County BOE’s Municipal Election Basics flyer and have all of the 2023 municipal election information at your fingertips with their Municipal Election Trifold Brochure. You can also find information on their 2023 Municipal Election webpage and social media (Facebook & Twitter).
As previously reported, staff from the Brunswick County Board of Elections visited the island last month to gather information following a request to have a voting precinct on the island so that a polling place could be located on the island. It is expected that the Board of Elections will be discussing this topic at its August 22, 2023 meeting. The Village will provide an update as soon as there is information available.
Golf Cart Safety Awareness Month – July is Golf Cart Safety Awareness Month, and the Village is pleased to recognize the artists and share the artwork that was submitted for last year’s contest. The artwork is now up in the Island Package Center & Post Office. If you look up right as you walk in the door you will see it hanging above the PO boxes.
Our bronze medal winning artist, Frances warns golf cart riders about falling or jumping out of the golf cart. She points out that seat belts save lives. If your golf cart has seat belts installed and they are operable, please make sure the driver and passengers are buckled up!
Peak Hurricane Season Quickly Approaching – Peak hurricane season runs from mid-August to late October, and it will be here before we know it. Are you ready? Now is a great time to make sure that you are prepared for the next big storm. There are many resources available online for preparedness. The Ready.gov site (HERE) has many tips. The Village’s website (HERE) has additional Bald Head Island-oriented information, including how to sign up for emergency alerts.
CAPTF Update – Task Force Chair Kevin Arata gave an update to the Village Council at its July 21, 2023, regular meeting. The Commercial Area Planning Task Force (CAPTF) met on July 19, 2023. Chair Arata reported that the task force reviewed its latest version of the design guidelines page by page for approximately 3 ½ hours. Stakeholders were in attendance and provided input which will be incorporated into the document. The last piece that the CAPTF is working on is the fee structure. In the meantime, the Task Force is recommending that the Village Council begin working on the process of selecting the members who will make up the Commercial Review Board (CRB), which will be made up of five members with two alternates.
The next CAPTF will be meeting on August 14, 2023, which is expected to be a shorter meeting to make any small edits to the guidelines. The guidelines will then be presented formally to the Village Council at its August 18, 2023, regular meeting. In order for the guidelines to become codified and enforceable the Village Council is required to have a public hearing which will be formally advertised per NC General Statute.
If you would like to be informed about future CAPTF meetings, please contact Darcy Sperry, Village Clerk (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be added to the Village’s “Sunshine List.”
REMINDERS & EVENTS:
IPC/PO Reminders –The Island Package Center and Post Office will be closing from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. These hours will be in effect yearly between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This change is being implemented to allow staff time for lunch.
As a reminder, the packaging and addressing of all outbound packages are the responsibility of the sender. Please have your packages assembled, taped up, and ready for postage before you approach the service counter. This will make for a more streamlined operation resulting in less wait time for our customers.
TED Workshop –The Bald Head Island Conservancy will be conducting a TED (terrapin excluder device) workshop on Saturday, July 29, 2023, from 10-12. Bring your crab pots to the BHIC porch and they will provide TEDs and zip ties and teach you how to equip them! For more information about TEDs go HERE.
Next Regular Council Meeting – The next regular Village Council Meeting is scheduled for August 18, 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.
Planning Board Vacancy – The Village is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Planning Board. The deadline is August 11, 2023. To find out more about what the Planning Board does and to download the application go to the Planning Board webpage HERE.
National Lighthouse Day Weekend & 2023 BHI Pirate Invasion – The island will have many activities for folks to enjoy starting on Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6, 2023. To view the schedule of events for Old Baldy Foundation’s National Lighthouse Day weekend go HERE. To check out the activities associated with the BHI Pirate Invasion, a 501 (c)(3), go HERE.
Village Chapel Donation Collections – The Village Chapel of Bald Head Island is hosting a school supplies drive from July 23 to August 20 more details HERE. They are also collecting pet food for Paws Pantry more details HERE.
Pedestrian and Cycling Safety – Walkers, runners, bike riders, etc. share the road with golf carts and ICE vehicles on Bald Head Island. To stay safe, please remember to always ride bikes, scooters, and other wheeled devices in the same direction as vehicle traffic goes. If you are walking or running always go against traffic so you are facing oncoming vehicles, seeing them helps you determine if they see you and you can move over if they are not moving for you.
Always Call 911 – As a reminder, on Bald Head Island, if you need a Public Safety Officer to come to you, even if it is not an emergency, please call 911.
Examples of non-emergency situations in which you would call 911:
- Lost/stolen property.
- Found property that cannot be taken to the Department of Public Safety.
- Missing pets.
- Report a minor ordinance violation (litter, vandalism, walking on dunes/jetties, leash laws, beach equipment, parking/ICE).
- Any time that you need an officer to come to you.
For more information please read our full-length article HERE.
Property Tax Bills – Brunswick County has announced that property tax bills for 2023 are heading your way. Bald Head Island municipal taxes will appear on the County’s bills.
As previously reported, this year’s property tax bills will look a little different for folks who own property in Municipal Service District Zone A (beachfront) and Municipal Service District Zone B (dune and East Beach). In years past, the Bald Head Island tax indicated on the bill included the Island-Wide Tax rate and the Municipal Service District tax together, beginning this year, the two tax levies will be shown separately.
For FAQs on paying your Brunswick County tax bill go HERE.
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.