In this issue:
- Recap of Village Council regular meeting.
- Joshua Gibson was selected as the new Public Safety Director.
- Elizabeth Gray was awarded the Employee of the Year Award.
- GO Bond Town Hall follow-up.
- Golf cart registration renewal update.
- Village maintains CRS rating classification from the National Flood Insurance Program.
- BHI Transportation will no longer take old paper tickets effective April 1, 2024.
Reminders & Events:
- IPC/PO holiday schedule.
- Village offices will be closed on Monday, December 25, Tuesday, December 26, and Wednesday, December 27 for the Christmas holiday. Village offices will be closed on Monday, January 1, 2024, for New Year’s Day.
- Bald Head Island Transportation, Inc. has released its Christmas and New Year’s ferry schedule.
- Trash pick-up schedule for Christmas week.
- Village Chapel services over December 24 & 25.
- The public is invited to take a survey to assist Brunswick County in planning the future of its libraries.
- The community is invited for a New Year’s Eve ball drop on Paris-time at Jailhouse Provisions on Sunday, December 31 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Creek Access Permit renewal applications are due by January 15, 2024.
- The next regular Village Council meeting is on Friday, January 19, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.
- Save the date for a Project Longevity/Community Care meeting on January 26, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. at the Department of Public Safety.
Regular Council Meeting
The Village Council conducted its regular meeting on Friday, December 15, at 10:00 a.m. Here is a summary of the information shared and the actions that were taken at this meeting:
A special announcement was made before the Council proceeded through the agenda. The Village Manager announced the hiring of the Village’s new Public Safety Director. Chris McCall, Village Manager announced that Joshua Gibson has been selected to fill the position which he filled in an interim capacity since June 1, 2023. Gibson was administered the oath of office by Public Safety administrative assistant, Elizabeth Gray, with his wife Lindsay, and daughters Brynn and Logan by his side. Additional information about Gibson is included later in this issue.
Under public comment, Elizabeth Hervey Stephen requested that the Village Council consider re-activating the Environmental Task Force as it has not been active or conducting meetings.
The consent agenda passed unanimously. It included the November 9, 2023, special session, November 17, 2023, regular session and closed session minutes, an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2024 fee schedule, and a resolution awarding the contract for the purchase of law enforcement supplies and sale of trade-in property.
The Village Council conducted two public hearings, one on the bond order authorizing the issuance of a $13.5 million beach improvement bond and one on the bond order authorizing the issuance of a $4.5 million beach improvement bond. No one from the public came forward to speak in favor or opposition to either of the bonds. The Village Council unanimously adopted the resolution authorizing the issuance of the $13.5 million bond. The Village Council also unanimously adopted the resolution authorizing the issuance of the $4.5 million bond.
Under Old Business, the Village Council unanimously designated term limits for the Commercial Review Board (CRB) members. The Council indicated that Kurt Haglund and Harper Peterson’s terms will end in June 2025. John Fisher, Dianne Reid, and Jeff Sanderson’s terms will end in June 2026. Alternate Mary Susan Jackson’s term will end in June 2026 and alternate Jordyn Matthews’ term will end in June 2025. The CRB is expected to have its organizational meeting during the first or second week in January. The Village Council then unanimously adopted an ordinance to amend and close the capital project fund ordinance regarding future Village facilities improvements and transfer the remaining funds to the general fund (this is for the Contractor Service campus project). The Village Council then unanimously adopted an ordinance to amend the fiscal year 2023-2024 budget ordinance (which moves the funds remaining from the Contractor Services project back to the current FY24 Contractor Services budget line items for $60k). Then the Village Council unanimously adopted an ordinance to amend the general fund budget ordinance (this is to fund the purchase of the two (2) Public Safety quick response vehicles (QRVs) which were approved at the September 15, 2023, meeting, one QRV was in the FY23 budget and delivery was delayed due to supply chain, the Village opted to get a second one while it was available). The Village Council received a presentation from the Village’s auditor on the 2023 audit (presentation and audited financial statements).
Under New Business, the Village Council accepted the Brunswick County Board of Elections’ official results for the municipal election held on November 7, 2023. The Council unanimously adopted a resolution honoring Gerald “Jerry” Maggio who served on the Council since December 2021. Maggio was also given a plaque. Maggio congratulated Ginny White and Scott Thomas and recognized the Village’s great staff and the manager for their professionalism and for answering his questions, he thanked Mayor Quinn for appointing him and said it was a privilege to work with everyone.
The Village Clerk administered the oath of office to Councilor Virginia White and Councilor Scott Thomas. Councilor Scott Thomas was seated to replace Maggio. The newly seated Council elected Scott Gardner to continue to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore and the oath of office was administered to Gardner. The Village Council unanimously re-appointed Councilor Emily Hill to serve as a delegate to the Cape Fear Council of Governments, and Councilor Scott Thomas was appointed as an alternate. The Village Council unanimously adopted the resolution to adopt the 2024 meeting schedule (please note, the meeting schedule resolution was amended, and the Council will meet on October 11 instead of October 18), its conflict-of-interest policy (also adopted with minor changes), and a capital project ordinance amendment for the Jay Bird Shoals Dredging Project to account for additional expenses related to the permitting of the Jay Bird Shoals borrow site for the 2025 Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project.
Finance Director, Zachary Hewett presented the monthly finance report. He gave an update on the recent activities in the Finance Department. He said they currently have a request for proposals (RFP) for installment financing out for the first ambulance, it’s considered a bridge loan which will be paid when FEMA funds come in. They are drafting some of their fiscal policies and procedures to keep the department up to date. They are also conducting quarterly budget review meetings with department heads to go over their budgets and make sure everything is in compliance.
Below are a few items shared in the Manager’s Report:
Development Services Update
Stephen Boyett, Development Services Director, presented the monthly departmental statistics (HERE & HERE). The Village has received information from the State that the Village has maintained its CRS (Community Rating System) rating and is in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). We have more information about this effort and its benefits to policyholders on BHI later in this issue.
Councilor White suggested that the Village invite someone with expertise to present on insurance availability issues at its February (February 6 & 7) retreat.
Public Services Update
JP McCann, Public Services Director, presented the monthly statistics for Public Services.
He indicated that the Utilities Department has been working on a few initiatives including a science-based approach for the wastewater treatment plant data collection, shadowing opportunities with Brunswick County staff to get staff trained to do more in-house work on the lift stations, identifying lead and copper in the community, and ensuring the Village is in compliance with the required inspection of backflow devices.
For Public Works, McCann reported that a significant amount of time was spent trimming the vegetation on the shoulders. They recently finished installing a median extension project at Federal and SE Beach Drive which will improve the sight line for drivers. The stop sign was moved forward and the stop line on the pavement will be placed when the temperatures rise a bit. The median is mulched for now and plantings will be added. This improvement not only looks better, but it will make the intersection safer so that drivers will not blow through the stop sign.
Public Safety Update
He thanked Village management and the community for allowing him to be a part of Public Safety and entrusting him with such an important role. He has enjoyed the nine years he’s had at BHI so far and looks forward to moving the department forward.
He announced the promotion of Marcus Brindle to Lieutenant and Jacob Lieber to Sergeant. He said that the department is working to improve its recruitment and worked with the public information officer to develop an attractive flyer.
Public Safety will be updating its EMS procedure to a two-bag system to align with Brunswick County EMS procedures and increase the efficiency of patient care at mainland transport. The additional equipment expense will be covered by the Public Service Auxiliary through donations received at the recent pub crawl.
Public Safety was also the recipient of fitness equipment from Bald Head Island Club. Chief Gibson thanked the Club for its generosity. The donated equipment will be put to good use.
Public Safety and Village Administration/IT will be launching a new software system called First Due in January. There are 11 modules, and one includes an optional program for islanders called Community Connect. This program is available for property owners to enter details about their property to inform first responders when there is an emergency call to the residence. Village staff will be presenting this program at the upcoming Project Longevity/Community Connect Community Meeting on January 26, 2023. More details are included in the events/reminders section of this newsletter.
Mr. Jae Kim, the Assistant Village Manager gave updates on the Island Package Center & Post Office (IPC/PO), shoreline protection, the efforts of the Village’s federal and state governmental affairs consultants, and the asset and inventory assessment grant. View the details in his memo HERE.
There was mention of a request to open the Island Package Center & Post Office on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It was decided that the Village would keep up with the barge schedule and continue to keep the practice of closing the IPC/PO that day since the barge does not run that Friday. It is open on Saturday, however, for folks to pick up USPS mail which arrives via ferry, and any packages that would have arrived late on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. McCall, the Village Manager gave updates on Representative Charlie Miller’s recent visit to the island and the upcoming Cape Fear Badwater Race in the spring. View the details and a few items not mentioned in the interest of time (ladder truck update, permitting for 2025 CSDR, government affairs updates, and BHI Conservancy property update), in his memo HERE.
Mayor Quinn and Mayor Pro Tem Gardner made comments on the discussion with Representative Miller on a County-wide effort on affordable housing, which affects the Village and almost every business on the island when it comes to staffing needs. Mayor Quinn indicated that he has had meetings with mayors from Oak Island, Caswell Beach, St. James, and Southport to discuss the issue.
Mayor Quinn announced that in follow-up to the BHA’s candidate forum, he will re-initiate another meeting with the island entities. There was a common theme showing concern about communication between the different island entities (Clubs, Village, BHA). This was initiated about six months ago and there was an inaugural meeting and discussion of a regular meeting, but one has not occurred. He said he thought that now is an appropriate time to initiate another meeting. Mr. McCall suggested that the Village should have representatives from each entity at the annual retreat. He also asked the Council to submit ideas for topics as he works on the retreat agenda. The retreat is scheduled to take place on February 6 & 7, 2023.
Mayor Pro Tem Gardner made comments about the infrastructure improvements that have been made in recent years (Duke Energy, Spectrum, water line from Brunswick County, the cell tower). Currently, customers with Spectrum and Verizon receive service from Verizon that is inadequate. He suggested that the Village ask Verizon to come to the Village to explain what they are going to do to improve service on the island. The Village needs to know why they haven’t worked with Crown Castle to raise their equipment on the new tower. Recent solutions provided by Verizon which included visible smaller towers at various locations on the island were rejected because they were not compatible with the island’s aesthetic.
A full account of these meetings can be found in the minutes which are posted HERE. Typically, minutes are posted with the agenda of next month’s meeting (e.g. If you want to read the October meeting minutes, they can be found under the November regular meeting agenda).
Public Safety Director
The Village’s new Public Safety Director, Joshua Gibson, was selected after an extensive search and interview process facilitated by Developmental Associates, Inc. a North Carolina-based firm specializing in talent identification for executive municipal leaders.
Gibson began his emergency services career in 2008 as a firefighter/emergency medical technician for West End Fire & Rescue in West End, North Carolina, where he served four years and reached the rank of lieutenant. In 2012, he completed the Basic Law Enforcement Training program and began working for Carthage Police Department where he served as a Patrol Officer until 2014. In 2014, he and his wife relocated to the Wilmington area, and he began working with the Bald Head Island Department of Public Safety as a public safety officer. During his service with the Bald Head Island Department of Public Safety, he has steadily risen in rank from public safety officer, to corporal, lieutenant, and captain. During those years he also served as a reserve officer with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office (2016-2019) and Wrightsville Beach Police Department (2020-2023). Gibson has been serving as the Interim Public Safety Director since June 1, 2023.
In his free time, Gibson enjoys spending time with his wife, daughters, and family as well as playing golf. His favorite destination to take a break is in the mountains.
“I am honored to accept the role of public safety director,” said Gibson. “I want to express my sincere appreciation to those who have entrusted me with this responsibility. Public safety is paramount on the island, and I am committed to ensuring the well-being of our community through effective strategies, collaboration, and a proactive approach to addressing emerging and existing public safety challenges.”
Gibson envisions that with the public safety professionals that are on staff, and the support of the community, an environment of trust, security, resilience, and partnership will be created. Gibson added, “As Public Safety Director, I recognize the importance of a comprehensive approach to public safety that includes community engagement, partnerships, open communication, training, and implementing innovative solutions. Together, we can create a safe and enjoyable island environment for all.”
Employee of the Year
This year’s Village Employee of the Year award goes to Elizabeth Gray, Administrative Assistant in the Department of Public Safety. Many islanders have had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth when picking up annual golf cart stickers, dropping off/retrieving lost items, securing bonfire permits, etc. Elizabeth is the “face” and “voice” of the Department of Public Safety and when you have any non-emergent needs that go through the Department, she is the first person you go to. She also serves internal customers, public safety officers, and administration by ordering supplies, keeping an eye on the budget, and managing the schedule for the multi-purpose room for meetings and training. She keeps the office running. Here are a few comments from Elizabeth’s peers:
- “Elizabeth keeps Public Safety running smoothly.”
- “She is always willing to help with any computer or office issues we have. She always has a great attitude.”
- “Elizabeth is the heart and soul of our department.”
- “She works seamlessly with the public providing the utmost customer service in all aspects of her job.”
- “She always has a great attitude and performs great quality of work.”
- “She sets a good example for the Public Safety Department.”
- “She remains professional in all aspects of her job and communicates well with all shifts for Public Safety. Without her, the heart of this department would be gone.”
GO Bond Town Hall Follow-Up
If you missed the Village’s GO Bond Town Hall on December 11, or you want to review the information that was shared, you may view it online HERE. There are several resources on the 2024 Bond Referendum webpage HERE. Village staff are still working on getting all the questions and answers compiled into one document. The questions are being separated by category (finance/tax, shoreline, bond referendum) and once they are posted to the webpage, we will send a message to our Village’s Voice subscribers. The Village is still accepting questions. Those can be sent to GOBOND@villagebhi.org. Below are some important dates associated with the bond referendum.
Important Dates: for the 2024 Bond Referendum:
January 15, 2024 – Absentee ballots for the bond referendum will be available.
February 9, 2024 – Last day to register to vote in the referendum.*
February 15, 2024 – Early voting period starts.
February 27, 2024 – Absentee ballot request deadline (5:00 p.m.).*
March 2, 2024 – Early voting period ends.
March 5, 2024 – The referendum will take place. Absentee ballot return deadline 7:30 p.m.*
By March 15, 2024 – Canvass of returns by Board of Elections.
* Voter registration and absentee voting deadlines are different for military and overseas citizen voters.
Update on Golf Cart Registration Renewals
Our Public Safety administrative staff is busy processing all golf cart registration renewals that have been received since registration opened on December 1. Registrations are due by January 1, 2024. Enforcement will not begin right away, so do not panic if you have not renewed yet. We do, however, encourage folks not to put it off too long!
All registrations must be done online. To complete your online registration, you will need your insurance policy and a credit card. Entering “same as last year” is unacceptable. 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 and we will not be giving out stickers the week of December 25. If you are not going to be on the island until well after the new year, we suggest that you have them mailed to your mainland address.
You must register each cart individually. As a reminder, trailers that are pulled by golf carts must also be registered with the Village, this includes boat trailers. Please fill out all the blanks, entering “same as last year” or “on file” is not acceptable.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRS Rating Maintained
The Village has received notice that it has again maintained its Class 7 Community Rating System (CRS) classification from the National Flood Insurance program. This means all Federal flood insurance policyholders on Bald Head Island are eligible for a 5-15 percent discount on their NFIP premiums. Since this is still a somewhat new designation for BHI, you may want to follow up with your insurance agent to make sure that the discount is applied at renewal.
The CRS is a voluntary program for recognizing and encouraging community floodplain management activities exceeding NFIP standards. In addition to reducing flood insurance premiums, participation in the program aims to reduce flood damage to property, strengthens and supports the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and encourages a comprehensive approach to floodplain management. Each year, the Village must verify that it is continuing to perform the activities that are being credited by the CRS by submitting an annual recertification. Visit our webpage HERE for more information about flood protection on BHI.
Old Paper Ticket Expiration
Please take note of this recent announcement from BHI Transportation, Inc.:
Bald Head Island Transportation will STOP accepting two-part (“old”) paper tickets after March 31, 2024. “Old” Bulk 40 tickets (only) may be exchanged for a coupon code through March 31, 2024.
Starting April 1, 2024, only QR-coded “new” tickets and transferred or newly issued passes will be valid for ferry boarding.
REMINDERS & EVENTS
IPC/PO Holiday Schedule
The Island Package Center and Post Office will be closed for two days over the Christmas holiday, December 25, and December 26. The IPC/PO will be open from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 27, even though other Village offices will be closed.
Village Offices Closed
Village offices will be closed on Monday, December 25, Tuesday, December 26, and Wednesday, December 27 for the Christmas holiday. This includes the Island Package Center & Post Office and Public Safety administration, except for Wednesday, December 27, when the IPC/PO will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Village offices will be closed on Monday, January 1, 2024, for New Year’s Day. This includes the Island Package Center and Post Office and Public Safety administration.
If you need a Public Safety Officer to come to you, as always, please call 911.
Ferry Schedules for the Holidays
Bald Head Island Transportation, Inc. has released the Christmas and New Year’s ferry schedules. View them HERE.
Trash Pick-Up Schedule for Christmas Week
GFL, the Village’s solid waste contractor, has modified its pick-up schedule for Christmas week. If your trash is usually picked up on Monday, your trash will be picked up on Tuesday, December 26. If your trash is usually picked up on Tuesday, your trash will be picked up on Thursday, December 28. Don’t forget to change your YES/NO sign!
Village Chapel Services
The Village Chapel worship services on Sunday, December 24 are as follows:
Regular Sunday services will be held at 8:30 a.m. A Christmas Eve family service will be held at 5:00 p.m. and a Christmas Eve candlelight vigil will be held at 7:00 p.m. Services will be led by Rev. Gaston Warner, from United Methodist Church in Raleigh and outdoor seating will be available.
The public is invited to take a short survey to assist in planning the future of Brunswick County’s libraries. Click HERE to complete the survey. Please submit your feedback by Sunday, December 31, 2023.
NYE Ball Drop at Jailhouse Provisions
The BHI community is invited to celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Jailhouse with a ball drop on Paris time! This free family-friendly event will take place on Sunday, December 31, 2023, from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. The ball will drop at 6:00 p.m. Free noisemakers and refreshments for everyone! Jailhouse Provisions is located at 251 Edward Teach Ext.
Creek Access Permit Renewals Due 1/15
If you had a Creek Access Permit last year, please check your email for your 2024 renewal as applications will be offered online only this year. The due date for 2024 Creek Access Permit renewals is January 15, 2024. Permit fees remain at $150 per permit. If you need to update or verify your email address on file, please reach out to Darcy Sperry, Village Clerk at email@example.com.
The online permit needs to be filled out in its entirety before submitting. Once your application is received and processed, you will receive an email with your assigned permit information and a link to pay online. After payment has been made, staff will affix the sticker to the vessel for you. Permits are issued per vessel as opposed to per space.
Next Regular Council Meeting
The next regular Village Council Meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 19, 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.
Project Longevity/Community Care Meeting
Save the date of January 26, 2024, for a Project Longevity/Community Care meeting that will take place at 3:00 p.m. at the Department of Public Safety. Attendees are also invited to dine on their own at Jailhouse Provisions following the meeting. Stay tuned for additional information.
Bald Head Association events can be found HERE.
Old Baldy Foundation events can be found HERE.
BHI Conservancy events can be found HERE.
Village Chapel events can be found HERE.
The Village calendar can be found HERE.