EMERALD ISLE — Town commissioners Tuesday night will honor retiring Emerald Isle chief of Police Tony Reese and hold a public hearing on the proposed budget for fiscal 2021-22.

The monthly session of the board will begin at 6 p.m. in the panel’s meeting room beside the police department on Highway 58 and virtually on GoToWebinar. To attend online, visit

This will be the last board meeting for Chief Reese in an official capacity, as his retirement takes affect at the end of the month. He came to Emerald Isle as a part-time officer in 1999. Chief Reese also served as patrol officer, worked in internal affairs, was chief detective, grant management officer and assistant chief under former Chief Jeff Waters.

He was appointed interim chief when Chief Waters retired, then was appointed chief in January 2017.

Assistant Chief Mike Panzarella will be named interim chief Thursday, July 1.

The commission will adopt a proclamation in honor of the outgoing chief and adopt a resolution to issue him his service weapon and badge.

Town manager Matt Zapp’s proposed budget, which will go into effect July 1 once approved, totals $11.89 million and maintains the property tax rate at 15.5 cents per $100 of assessed value for the seventh straight fiscal year. That includes 14.5 cents for general services and 1 cent earmarked for beach nourishment.

The recommended oceanfront property owner beach nourishment tax rate, an additional charge, is 4 cents, the same as fiscal 2020-21. Revenue generated from the beach nourishment taxes will be used for future nourishment projects.

The manager also proposes an increase in the annual solid waste fee from the current $255 to $265 annually, reportedly necessary to cover direct costs associated with providing the service, according to the manager.

Among the biggest changes from the current year’s budget is in the police department. Mr. Zapp proposes hiring two new police officers to facilitate year-round beach patrols. The police department fulltime salary line item is up from $73,868 to $1.06 million to reflect the change.

 The proposed police department budget is about $2.25 million, up from $2.04 million in the current fiscal year. Including salaries, benefits, training, uniforms and equipment, the full cost of adding the two officers is $128,000, according to Chief Reese.

The police department has the largest budget of any Emerald Isle department, followed by the fire department at a proposed $2.06 million.

The property tax, based on a total valuation of $3.1 billion, is expected to raise $4.85 million. State-shared sales tax revenue is expected to come to $2.34 million.

There are no reserve funds used to balance the budget, which is $524,970 higher than the general fund budget adopted last June for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

After the hearing, the board can adopt the budget.


Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

(1) comment


They're losing a good Chief but luckily have a good one to fill in once he retires. Congratulations on your well deserved retirement, Chief Reese. I have no doubt Mike Panzarella will keep the department running smoothly.

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