joint press conference was held on Monday, July 3, by Senator Bill Cook
and Representative Beverly Boswell to announce the passage of House
Bill 415, which addresses the proposed formation of multi-use pathways
in Hatteras village.
The bill provides for an
election in the Hatteras Village Community Center District to decide
whether part of the property tax revenue generated in the district may
be used for the construction and maintenance of multi-use pathways
around the village.
The Hatteras Village Community
Center District is a special tax district in Hatteras Village that was
established in 1981. The district is subject to a special ad valorem
tax on all taxable real property for the purpose of maintaining and
operating the Hatteras Community Center and other district owned
Until now, this money could only be
used towards these properties alone, and not for other projects like
the proposed multi-use pathways.
The bill opens
the door to allow the district to spend tax funds to design and build
these pathways - or sidewalks - in the village.
addition, the bill does not change the current maximum tax rate that
may be imposed for this district. “Taxes are not going to be raised,”
said Ricki Shepherd, a trustee for the Hatteras Village Community
Center District. “Now that major repairs to [our] buildings are done,
we have monies that we can start budgeting towards this [project.]”
The Dare County Board of Commissioners passed a Resolution on March 6, 2017, supporting this legislation.
legislation will continue to revitalize and enhance Hatteras Island,”
said Sen. Cook at the press conference. “…Walkways, pathways, and
bikeways can add a lot to a community, and especially to a tourist
Both Sen. Cook and Rep. Boswell stated
that safety concerns were a big motivator for moving the bill forward,
with Sen. Cook noting that more than 2,000 pedestrians in the state of
North Carolina are involved in police-reported motor vehicle crashes.
“Hopefully, this will help us [address] this concern,” he said.
Boswell, the primary sponsor on the bill, said that she was originally
approached by Dare County Board of Commissioners member Danny Couch to
push the bill through. “Nothing is ever simple… I learned never to say
‘This is a simple bill,’” she said, “[but we] sold this as a public
safety bill, which it is.”
The bill, which was
originally filed on March 21, passed unanimously and was ratified on
June 26. The bill in its entirety can be viewed here: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2017&BillID=H415.
that the bill has passed, the special election that is authorized under
the bill will held at the same time as a county general election, which
will more than likely be the primary election of 2018.
a majority of voters in the upcoming election vote in favor of
expanding the uses of the property tax, then the local session law that
established the special district in the first place will be amended to
expand the powers of the district and its governing body to allow the
use of the property tax revenue for this purpose.
Hatteras multi-use pathways will be the next step in a series of
pathways that have been implemented throughout the island through
initiatives by the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway Advisory
Committee. The Buxton pathway from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to the
school was the first installment, followed by the multi-use pathways in
the tri-villages and in Avon.
“Putting pathways in
all Hatteras Island villages was one of the first things we tried to
do,” said Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy, Committee Chair and a leader for
the byway project since the very beginning. “…We are really excited to
have the Hatteras village portion of this plan come this far.”
press conference was also attended by representatives from the Hatteras
Village Community Center District Trustees, the Outer Banks National
Scenic Byway Advisory Committee, and Dare County Board of Commissioners
Steve House, Jim Tobin, and Danny Couch - who originally pushed for the
“It’s the kind of legislation that helps
both economic development and enhances public safety,” said Sen. Cook,
“so it’s a win-win for everybody.”