June 16, 2015
Guest Column: County officials must unite
on dredging and nourishment issues
By FOUNTAIN ODOM
a familiar story; a family comes to Dare County on vacation. The
wife and her friends want to go deep sea fishing but can’t because
inlets are shoaled so badly that no boats can get out. When the
husband takes the kids to the beach, he finds it narrow and cluttered
with debris from houses that have collapsed. The restaurant they
choose for dinner serves Chilean Sea Bass and Philippine shrimp.
They go home vowing never to return.
Sound far-fetched? It’s not. It’s where we are headed if
our county commissioners don’t stop trying to divide us and start
pulling our county together to solve the challenges we face.
Tourism leaders and town officials support dredging for all our inlets
and interior waterways. Those who use the inlets and
waterways know they need tourists to use their services and consume
their products. Here is an idea for the new majority on our
county board – stop trying to pit us against one another and, instead,
find solutions that serve our common good.
money from the beach nourishment fund will raise taxes in towns that
are maintaining their beaches. It is unnecessary and
shortsighted. A better solution has already been proposed.
Raise the sales tax by a quarter of a percent – 25 cents per $100 – and
dedicate the money to dredging all our inlets and interior waterways.
Cook has blocked this bill because he says he won’t raise taxes, but he
knows that by not acting, he is forcing higher taxes on Dare County
homeowners instead of allowing our visitors to help defer the
cost. His preening and posturing are not serving his constituents
well. The county commissioners need to call him to Manteo to
answer for his inaction! The voters of Dare County need to
remember just how little he is helping and how much disruption his
refusal to serve our interest is causing.
dedicated funding source solves half the problem, but there is still a
shortage of dredges to maintain the inlets and restore our
beaches. Other coastal counties are facing the same
problems. Our county commissioners need to stop splitting us
apart and start looking for partnerships to insure the infrastructure
is in place to pump sand whenever and wherever it is needed.
stop bickering and start working to solve our county’s problems.
If we work together, we can rest assured that our visiting family will
return for many more memorable vacations in the future.
(Fountain Odom is chairman of the Dare County Democratic Party. This article is reprinted from the party's Facebook Page.)