Date: June 4, 2020
The Board of Aldermen and town staff have recently received several questions on Town Hall, the Town Park and police department. The answers to these questions can be found below. To attend tonight's Regular Meeting and/or submit a public comment to the Board, follow these instructions.
Why have we not yet fixed the Town Hall?
The Town Hall was heavily damaged in Hurricane Florence, and has essentially been gutted in preparation for repair. The extent of the damage prompted the Board of Aldermen and staff to consider a number of alternatives, including the possibility of moving Town Hall off of the island to prevent a similar disruption of town services in the future. This did not prove to be a viable option. Working with the insurance carrier it was discovered that coverage would allow us only to restore that facility to its original configuration, and not permit any modifications to mitigate future damage. That said, the architects are finalizing the construction plans, and the project will go out for bid this summer with the hope of starting construction in the fall and being operational by year end. The bid will include “alternate items”, such as a metal roof, high wind rated windows, ballistic enhancements to the Police area, and modifications to the entry which we have applied to the Golden Leaf Foundation for a mitigation grant.
Is there still a mortgage payment on that?
Are we renting the temporary Town Hall?
Yes. The current rent is $2500 per month, and we expect reimbursement at some level from our insurance.
Why haven’t we fixed the Police Station?
The police department worked out of the Town Hall building, and will return there when the renovation is completed. Patrol officers have access to facilities at the south end fire station, and the Police Dept. itself is located in the temporary Town Hall. Long term we recognize that additional space is required, and the Board is considering several alternatives, one of which being to develop a Public Safety facility at the south fire station site.
If the buildings had insurance why have we not used that money to fix these issues? Where is this money?
The bulk of the funds are with the insurance carrier and will be paid as a reimbursement when the project is completed. An initial partial payment was made, and those funds are in our fund balance and earmarked for the project.
Has the park been fixed?
Construction has been underway for several weeks, and photos updating progress have been periodically posted on the town’s Facebook page and the Town Website. While the contract calls for completion by July 24th, we anticipate the park being substantially completed and open by the July 4th weekend – if the weather cooperates.
Why must we pay for signage to tell people not to stand on the dunes and plant sea grass?
The simple answer is that you don’t have to do either. We sincerely appreciate the effort that many of our residents put into preservation of the dunes and berms along the beach. Within the confines of our budget the town tries to encourage planting sea oats by sharing in the cost and buying the plants in bulk. Similarly, we try to keep the cost of any signage an oceanfront homeowner chooses to add as low as possible. With limited staff and a tight budget, the help we receive from homeowners on these issues is critical.