PINE KNOLL SHORES — Water rates are set to remain the same in Pine Knoll Shores next fiscal year, but officials may need to consider an increase later.
The town board of commissioners met Wednesday in the town hall boardroom and online via Webinar. During the meeting, town manager Brian Kramer and finance officer and assistant town manager Julie Anderson presented the board with the draft water enterprise fund and beach budget for fiscal 2021-22. Mr. Kramer said that next fiscal year, which begins Thursday, July 1, is looking like a “normal operating year,” with no increase to the existing, tiered water rates budgeted. However, he went on to point out the water rates have remained the same since 2010 and the water fund’s reserves are diminishing.
“We still await word from (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) if the (capital project) expenditures will be authorized for reimbursement,” Mr. Kramer said.
Two significant capital projects are scheduled for next fiscal year. Mr. Kramer said they plan to install three drainage road bores across Highway 58: one at the Willow Road intersection, one at Roosevelt Beach and a third at the location of the former hardware store at 112 Salter Path Road.
Town officials also plan to extend the water main along Highway 58 from Willow Road to the Pine Knoll Shores/Atlantic Beach town limits.
The new road bores will be 8 inches wide, replacing older, 6-inch bores. The new section of water main will be 10 inches wide, replacing existing 8-inch piping.
“This is why we need to take a hard look at rate increases,” Mr. Kramer said, referring to the cost of the two projects, most of which is being paid for through the water fund’s reserves.
As for the beach fund, Mr. Kramer said fiscal 2021-22 is also looking to be a normal year for this fund as well. He said the $331,000 capital expenditures includes an estimate on replacement sand fencing and repairs to the town’s eastern beach access at Hotel Atlantic Beach.
In other news at Wednesday’s meeting, the board unanimously passed a resolution opposing state House Bill 401 and Senate Bill 349. The House bill and its Senate counterpart would require municipalities to allow certain forms of multi-family housing in single-family zoning districts, as well as require them to allow at least one accessory dwelling unit on single-family lots.
Mr. Kramer said these bills “would remove single-family zoning regulation as we know it” from municipalities’ authority.
“It would put regulation onus on homeowners’ associations,” he said.
Another bill, House Bill 496, has also caught town official’s attention. This bill proposes requiring municipalities to get General Assembly approval to adopt ordinances or regulations for tree removal on private property. While the board took no formal action at Wednesday’s meeting in response to H.B. 496, commissioners still voiced opposition to the bill and said they’ll need to watch its progress. No action was taken due to Pine Knoll Shores already having General Assembly approval of its tree removal ordinance since 1985.
The following also occurred at Wednesday’s meeting:
· The board unanimously approved a $296,000 budget amendment. Ms. Anderson said the money is the last FEMA reimbursement for damages from Hurricane Florence in 2018.
· The board unanimously approved a proclamation recognizing Friday as Arbor Day in Pine Knoll Shores.
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.