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HB commissioners OK repeal, replacement of fee schedule

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By Lindsay Kriz

HOLDEN BEACH— Holden Beach commissioners at a special Aug. 30 meeting voted to repeal and replace a resolution dealing with the town’s fee schedule.

The General Assembly passed House Bill 436 last July, which amended general statutes by adding “Article 8, System Development Fees.” The amendment was enacted as an act to “Provide for Uniform Authority to Implement System Development Fees for Public Water and Sewer Systems in North Carolina and the Clarify the Applicable Statute of Limitations.” The bill also requires compliance with designated calculation methodology as of July 1.

In response, the town retained McGill Associates P.A. of Shallotte to complete a system development fee analysis. Based on the town’s existing system capacity and planned capital improvements to expand capacity, the development fee, in accordance with the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) for water and sewer was calculated at $20,577. The ERU is defined as the water and sewer capacities that are required to serve a three-bedroom single-family home.

McGill Associates calculated this water and wastewater cost capacity on a per-gallon per-day basis for Holden Beach. The analysis was completed using a combined method to account for the town’s combination of existing capacity and planned future capacity expansion through capital expenditure.

Commissioner John Fletcher made a motion that the board repeal Resolution 18-05, Resolution Amending Holden Beach Fee Schedule.

He also made a motion to replace Resolution 18-05 with the following rate structure for both water and sewer: for the water capacity fee, the fee will be $300 for a three-bedroom home and $100 for every extra bedroom. For sewer it will be $8,100 for a three-bedroom with $2,700 for each additional bedroom.

Fletcher then amended his motion to add the credit for those who have paid already the sewer share will be up to a maximum five-bedroom house. Beyond a five-bedroom house there will be the assessed $2,700 per bedroom sewer development fee.

Commissioner Peter Freer agreed to the amendment and seconded the motion, which passed 3-2. Fletcher, Freer and commissioner Joe Butler voted in favor of the repeal and replacement, with commissioners Pat Kwiatkowski and Mike Sullivan dissenting. Kwiatkowski said she was uncomfortable voting without Town Attorney Noel Fox present at the meeting, and said commissioners could instead recess the meeting until Sept. 11 meeting, which Fox will attend.

Sullivan agreed, and said the board should be voting on something like this during a regularly scheduled meeting.  “I can’t see the harm in waiting,” he said.

Commissioners unanimously voted 5-0 that the board direct the town to reimburse any fee assessments that were paid after July 1 and exceed those set by the new rate structure set by the board Aug. 30.

 

Town manager report

 

Town Manager David Hewett reported about a meeting in New Bern on Aug. 29 to discuss the long-term memorandum of agreement between the state and the Army Corps of Engineers and the status of shallow draft navigation channel dredging. He said some of the information he learned may be subject to change.

The Murden hopper dredge was expected to come to Lockwood Folly Inlet, but that will not happening this year. Hewett said the dredge will instead be reprioritized to other projects elsewhere this year.

He also said a plan for a project to dredge inlet crossing will not come to Holden Beach either, and sand from that project will be placed on Oak Island.

Hewett said the contract to dredge Lockwood Folly Inlet is part of a larger corps contract to take care of all shallow draft inlets. He doesn’t know when dredging along the coast will actually start, but said a major portion of the region for sand does not include Holden Beach. This is a result of a new interpretation of existing federal rules regarding local sponsorship of federal projects that require easements be obtained from local property owners in order to put sand on the beach.

Butler said he and Sullivan also attended the New Bern meeting, and said Sullivan did a good job of challenging the corps on why they didn’t contact the town about this, including the status of the easements. He said the corps admitted it didn’t call the town and could’ve handled things better.

He said the meeting was a wakeup call for better communication between the corps and the town “and I don’t like wakeup calls. I’m not a morning person,” he said.

Sullivan said he wants to have Fran Way, senior coastal engineer for Applied Technology Management, perform an analysis about putting sand on the west end of Oak Island by the corps instead of putting the sand on the east end of Holden Beach. He said he wants the analysis done to show that it’s cheaper to drop the sand on the east end of the town than on the west end of Oak Island.

Mayor Alan Holden echoed Butler’s sentiment that communication between the corps and town must improve for the town’s sake.

“We’ve got to revamp our program or find ourselves really left out,” he said.

Lindsay Kriz is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or lkriz@brunswickbeacon.com.