House passes bill allowing Dare sales tax hike
Carolina House of Representatives today passed a bill that will allow
Dare County to raise the local sales tax by 1/4-cent without a voter
referendum to pay for inlet dredging. The vote was 114-3. Read
moreUPDATE: Bill to increase sales tax is filed -- and already amended
requested by the Dare County Board of Commissioners, a bill has been
introduced in the General Assembly to give the board the power to
increase the sales tax in the county by 1/4-cent to pay for dredging
Oregon and Hatteras inlets. The bill, House Bill 388, was introduced
yesterday by Rep. Paul Tine, who represents Dare County. Today, an
amendment was filed. Read
Dare asks lawmakers to authorize quarter-cent sales tax
response to worsening shoaling in Oregon and Hatteras inlets, the Dare
County commissioners passed a resolution on Friday, March 27, asking
the General Assembly to authorize a quarter-cent local sales tax to
help pay for dredging.
See "Shooting the Breeze," the Editor's Blog.
|UPDATE: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sends dredges to open Oregon Inlet |
shoaling and weather conditions permit, The U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, Wilmington District will begin emergency dredging operations
at Oregon Inlet Wednesday to remove the shoaling that has been
obstructing the federal channel passage for commercial fishing
With passage blocked, Coast Guard closes Oregon Inlet
Inlet is closed to vessels drawing more than 2 feet, essentially
shutting down the charter fishing fleet with four days left in the
bluefin tuna season and as Easter week approaches.
Officer Kathryn Bruner with the Coast Guard in Wilmington said Saturday
that the closing was prompted by the latest U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers survey, which showed that search-and-rescue vessels can no
longer get out of the inlet.
Emergencies will be handled by helicopters out of the Coast Guard’s air station in Elizabeth City, she said.
buffer zone of 100 yards on either side of the Bonner Bridge will be
enforced, she said, with fines for violators of $32,500. There was no
estimate on how long the closing will last.
Read the story in The Outer Banks Voice.
|Legislative Update: It was raining bills all week|
months to go before the General Assembly is expected to adjourn,
Thursday, March 26, was the last day that public bills and resolutions
could be filed in the Senate and thus it rained bills all week – 312 in
the Senate, of which 199 were filed on the deadline day. In fewer than
two months, members of that chamber have submitted a total of 711
pieces of proposed legislation
In the House, representatives
have until April 8 before the deadline for public bills and resolutions
pops up in that chamber. The deadline for finance and appropriation
bills is April 15. The House offerings of proposed legislation on
Thursday was a paltry 22 with a total of 60 for the week. Read
|Dare County plans large-item pickup for April|
Dare County Sanitation Department will be conducting a large item
household pickup for residential customers only. No commercial
business debris will be picked up. Please do not interfere with
county employees picking up large items. Materials must be at
curbside no later than 6 a.m. on the date of collection. There
will not be a second day pickup. Read
|UPDATED: State Bar issues complaint against Judge Tillet; Tillett answers|
two years after accepting a reprimand by the North Carolina Judicial
Standards Commission for entanglements in Kill Devil Hills’ town
affairs and threats against the district attorney’s office, Superior
Court Judge Jerry Tillett is facing a complaint from the North Carolina
State Bar over questions of alleged unprofessional conduct related to
the same imbroglio.
the 11-page complaint, filed on March 6 and posted on the Bar website
on March 16, the Bar cites 17 points where Tillett “engaged in conduct
that was prejudicial to the administration of justice.” Alleged
offenses include expressing his anger to town officials over Kill
Devils police detaining his son; accepting one-sided complaints about
town officials and police; and threatening to remove Kill Devil Hills
officials from office.
from disputing many of the allegations in the Bar complaint, Tillett’s
attorney Norman Shearin, with Raleigh firm Vandeventer Black, contends
that the Bar’s grievance is unfair because Tillett had already accepted
discipline from the Judicial Standards Commission for the same conduct.
Read the story in The Outer Banks Sentinel.
|UPDATED: Dare County is the big loser in bill that would shift sales tax revenue |
officers for the county and town governments in Dare County have been
scrambling to try to determine just how hard local budgets will be hit
if Senate Bill 369, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, an
Onslow County Republican, and filed on Monday, becomes law.
new plan would increase – in some cases double – the amount that some
poorer, rural counties would receive, while reducing revenues flowing
to more prosperous areas.
Brown said at a news conference on
Monday that the rural counties are being shortchanged by a system that
gives sales taxes to urban centers with shopping malls and big-box
Of all the counties that would see decreased revenues,
Dare County would take the largest hit – a 59.2 percent reduction in
sales tax revenues. The plan would have an significant impact on the
budgets of the county and the incorporated towns. Read
|Extra ferries will be added for Easter and spring-break visitors|
preparation for holiday travel over the upcoming Easter and spring
breaks, the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry
Division will be enhancing the schedule on its Hatteras-Ocracoke route
between March 31 and April 13. Read
|Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum to host Underwater Heritage Symposium|
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum will be hosting the 2015 Underwater
Heritage Symposium that will showcase significant members of the diving
community. The symposium will take place on Friday and Saturday, April
10 and 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
the two-day symposium, The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum will
formally honor several divers who have had an impact on their
profession through their passion for diving, documenting shipwrecks,
lecturing and authoring books on their experiences, and mentoring new
divers in the field. Read
|Outer Banks residents say 'no' to offshore drilling|
members of LegaSea, an Outer Banks grassroots anti-drilling group, it
was like a flashback to more than 25 years ago when Mobil Oil Corp.
wanted to sink an exploratory well off Cape Hatteras – except this
time, they were joined by opponents of all ages and political stripes.
was just bowled over by all the people that were there,” said Mickey
Baker, a founding member of LegaSea who attended an open house held
Monday by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM. “I was very,
very encouraged. We saw another generation coming up.” Read
|A whole lot of shaking going on|
was sitting at my desk in my office on Monday afternoon around 4:30
when the door out to the porch startling rattling and shaking. It
was a sunny, mild day with no wind to speak of. The house was
quiet and the noise got my attention. I watched and listened for
maybe 10 or 15 seconds and the rattling ended.
no wind. No storm clouds on the horizon. No one was running up my
steps. I didn't hear any trucks rumbling around the
neighborhood. No aircraft noise from above. Suddenly, it was just
Then it happened again -- twice this afternoon. So what's going on? Read
|BOC chairman sends another letter on Dare County gas prices|
Woodard, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, has sent a
second letter to state Attorney General Roy Cooper asking for him to
investigate gas prices in Dare County.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman
for the state Department of Justice said this week that the
department's Consumer Affairs Division continues to investigate the
Gas pricing on Hatteras Island is topic of radio interview...WITH AUDIO
Perry, owner of Frisco Shopping Center and Frisco Rod & Gun, where
he sells, among other things, gasoline, was the guest on this week's
edition of "To the Point" on Radio Hatteras.
the interview, Perry, who has been selling gas at the store since 1975,
gives some straightforward answers to questions about how he determines
the price of gas at his pumps and how much profit he makes on it.
|First Stewart Couch scholarship will be awarded in June|
Stewart Couch passed away, unexpectedly in February 2012, a heartbroken
community searched for a way to memorialize this local leader. Within
days, the Outer Banks Association of Realtors (OBAR) and the Outer
Banks Community Foundation established a scholarship fund in his name
to benefit Hatteras students. From across the country, dozens of people
contributed to the fund.
Little did they know, Stewart himself had the exact same idea.
a bequest from Stewart Couch's estate will be combined with funds from the two
groups that have raised money to create the Community Foundation's
largest one-year scholarship to date -- $8,900, which will be
award to a Hatteras Island graduating senior in June. Read
|Ocracoke wrestles with occupancy tax, marketing, boosting tourism|
receiving an outpouring of mostly negative comments about a proposed
tourism authority for Ocracoke, Hyde County Manager Bill Rich last week
unveiled a revised plan for enhancing tourism, especially in the
of a tourism development authority that would levy an additional 2
percent on top of the 3 percent occupancy tax already in place for all
short-term lodging stays, Rich wants to work within the 3 percent
already collected. Read
|M/V Silver Lake to undergo repairs after running aground at Ocracoke|
North Carolina Department of Transportation's ferry M/V Silver Lake
returned to Ocracoke today under tow after losing steering power and
running soft-aground Saturday night.
incident happened about one mile south of Ocracoke as the Silver Lake
was making its last run of the day to Cedar Island. The captain of the
Silver Lake contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, which sent a boat from its
Hatteras Station to bring the ferry's 14 passengers back to Ocracoke.
|Commissioners, Board of Education reach agreement on funding|
special meeting between Dare County’s Board of Education and Board of
Commissioners on Wednesday saw more comity than clashing of panels, as
members united on a new formula to fund schools as well as worry over
potentially crippling cuts in tax revenue from Raleigh.
was the suspicion exhibited during a commissioners retreat in February,
when the board members were threatening to cut the schools’ budget.
proud to say that we have stepped up to the plate and done the right
thing,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard said Wednesday.
|New legislation takes aim at inequities in coastal insurance|
Most coastal damage is from storm surge and flooding, which are not covered by homeowners insurance.
public authority would be formed to issue bonds to help pay claims
after a major storm and more precise modeling would be mandated to set
property insurance rates under legislation unveiled today in Raleigh.
bill, which was sponsored by 1st District state Sen. Bill Cook and
other senators, is aimed at helping to hold the line on premium costs,
especially in coastal counties.
A companion bill is being introduced in the state house.
Kelly, legislative liaison for the Outer Banks Homebuilders Association
and the Outer Banks Board of Realtors, has been working for six years
to force a change in the way insurance rates affect counties east of
Read the story by Russ Lay in the Outer Banks Voice.
|The story behind repairing Friday night's icy power outage|
having survived an unusually harsh winter of snow, ice, high winds, and
stretches of below-freezing temperatures with barely a flicker,
Hatteras and Ocracoke's power system finally met its match last Friday
night, March 6.
another day of temperatures hovering right at the freezing mark and icy
drizzle falling all afternoon and into the evening, the lights went out
on the islands at 6:37 p.m., and stayed out in some villages for almost
6 1/2 hours. Read
|Tri-villages have first meeting to gauge interest in zoning|
Rodanthe's first zoning workshop, an unstructured, casual gathering held on a rainy night, became Thursday’s go-to event.
70 residents and property owners attended the open house at the
Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Building to give their view on whether
the three villages should have stricter zoning rules. Attendees
were asked to fill out a form with questions on existing issues and
uses, and potential future uses. Read
|After marathon, divisive meeting, board commits funds to inlet dredging|
What started as weighing in on the pros and cons of using occupancy
taxes to fund dredging of severely shoaled Oregon Inlet at Monday’s
marathon Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting quickly devolved to
a fishing community versus business community contest that pitted the
value of Oregon Inlet against beach nourishment.
public officials, and representatives of both camps came out in force
to give their opinion on draft legislation that would allow the board
to divert occupancy tax revenue, including funds earmarked for beach
nourishment, to pay for dredging the inlet, creating an uneasy divide
in the packed audience. Read
|Winter Wonderland on the islands is washing away...WITH SLIDE SHOWS|
second coastal storm of the week left about 2 inches of snow on
Hatteras and Ocracoke before it turned to freezing rain late this
afternoon and began washing away the white stuff.
the third coastal storm this week -- the first brought only cold rain
and wind on Monday -- is expected to roll up the coast tomorrow night,
bringing more frozen precipitation. And the islands are getting ready
for a one-two punch of winter weather, somewhat unusual for this time
of year. Read
|Frigid Siberian air grips the islands...WITH SLIDE SHOW|
pumps have been pumping non-stop on Hatteras and Ocracoke for the past
few days as frigid air has poured into the southern U.S. According to
the weather forecasters, this is not just your normal Arctic cold --
it's cold all the way from Siberia.
cold weather has set record low temperatures on the islands and a
record high for winter power usage as we all try to stay warm. Read
|Passenger ferry test runs scheduled for May 4 and 5|
part of its ongoing feasibility study on passenger ferry service, the
North Carolina Department of Transportation has signed an agreement
with Bay State Cruise Company to charter the M/V Provincetown III for
test runs of a potential passenger ferry route between Hatteras and
Ocracoke village on May 4-5. Read
|UPDATE: Appeals Court grants request for mediation|
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today granted a request by
all of the parties involved in the legal wrangling over replacing the
Herbert C. Bonner Bridge for the assistance of a mediator in their
effort to negotiate a settlement in the case. Read