June 30, 2015
Chairman updates citizens on Dare issues
Woodard, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, issued a
letter to citizens last week to update them on developments in some
important developments facing the county.
Woodward has made a "Chairman's Update" at the first of each of the two
monthly Commission meetings one of his hallmarks. Since there is only
one board meeting during July, Woodard said he decided to issue a
letter to citizens.
"During this busy time of year, with so much going on," he wrote. "I
thought it would be helpful for you to know what is being done by your
Board of Commissioners to address these issues."
Here s the text of Woodard's letter:
DARE COUNTY BUDGET
The Dare County Board of Commissioners approved the budget on
June 17, maintaining the same level of County services without a tax
increase. Included in the County budget is a line item for inlet
maintenance to ensure navigable waterways which are essential for
sustaining our economy. Also included is $400,000 in additional
school funding to pay most of the anticipated pay raises for new
teachers, as may be mandated by the State Legislature when the North
Carolina budget is adopted.
Achieving a budget without raising taxes was only possible
because of a thorough and methodical process that directly involved
every Dare County department. In many cases, operational
efficiencies were identified and every capital project request was
closely scrutinized. The Board will continue to seek ways to manage our
budget to provide the resources that are necessary for Dare County's
residents and visitors.
1/4-CENT SALES TAX
The Board has had numerous discussions about ways to secure funding for
proactive inlet dredging so that our waterways can be open on a
consistent, reliable and predictable basis. The overall economy
of Dare County depends on it. The Board of Commissioners favors a
1/4-cent sales tax to fund inlet maintenance and has repeatedly
expressed this to legislative leaders in Raleigh. Although we
believe that this is the best practical solution, it has not been
enacted in Raleigh.
The state Senate's proposed budget authorizes the County to use up to
$3 million dollars for inlet maintenance out of the 2 percent beach
nourishment portion of the Dare County occupancy tax. This would
not disrupt any of the previous, current or future beach nourishment
projects in our communities. The occupancy tax dollars would be matched
by funding from the state's Shallow Draft Inlet Fund.
The Senate's proposed budget also provides additional money for the
State's Shallow Draft Inlet Dredging Fund, with $4 million of the fund
reserved for local dredging needs. It also appropriates $900,000 to the
Department of Administration for their effort to secure a long term
solution at Oregon Inlet.
STATE BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS
Fortunately, the House is closely scrutinizing and questioning a Senate
plan that would radically change the way that sales tax revenue is
distributed to counties. This measure would
negatively impact every Dare County resident, business, community
organization, property owner and visitor by causing Dare County to lose
in excess of $9 million per year by fiscal year 2020.
Right now the N.C. House and Senate are working on a compromise that
could take weeks to develop. In the meanwhile, a continuing
resolution will need to be adopted to keep the state government
operating until their budget is approved.
At this time it is unknown what tax redistribution may be
included in the state’s final budget. However, the Dare County
Board of Commissioners will be in frequent contact with the Legislature
and let you know what develops.
Earlier this month, Gov. Pat McCrory made a special trip to Dare County
to announce the settlement of the lawsuit regarding the Bonner Bridge
so that work on the replacement bridge can finally begin. This was
historic for Dare County. Replacement of the Bonner Bridge will
continue to provide long-term reliable, stable access to Hatteras
Island, which is vital to Dare County and the State of North
We appreciate Gov. McCrory's leadership. A decision on the bridge
replacement has been a long time coming and represents the culmination
of a decades-long effort by NCDOT, the Dare County Board of
Commissioners, and many in our community who worked relentlessly to
make this dream come true.
"In closing," Woodard wrote. "I want to encourage you to continue to
reach out to your Board of Commissioners to share your thoughts and
concerns. We want to hear from you and can easily be reached at [email protected]. I wish each of you a safe and productive summer season."