Checkpoint

Police Officer Justin Turney, yellow vest, signals for a car to stop and present credentials at a checkpoint set up April 9 on Turner Street. Beaufort officials are preparing to seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for expenditures related to the town’s novel coronavirus response. (Elise Clouser photo)

BEAUFORT — Though town staff said it was too early to know the extent of the financial impact of the novel coronavirus and economic downturn, Beaufort officials are preparing to seek reimbursement from the federal government for expenses related to the pandemic.

Town staff and commissioners discussed updates and budgetary impacts during a virtual work session Monday.

“I don’t have anything specific. It’s still a bit early to give you any kind of estimates on sales tax,” Town Finance Director Christi Wood told the board. She told the board that revenue is going to drop but wasn’t ready to speculate by how much.

As of Tuesday, the town was at a level one preparedness – meaning social distancing, limited business operations and hygiene guidelines are in place – though Mayor Rett Newton said the situation is being monitored and further restrictions may be imposed should virus threat escalate.

“If we start to see a significant increase in positive cases or an influx of people that are not taking this threat seriously, we will not hesitate to increase our Beaufort measures to protect our community,” he said during remarks at the end of Monday’s session.

At the height of Beaufort’s restrictions to date, the town operated an entry checkpoint, limiting access to fulltime residents, those conducting essential business and second homeowners previously sheltering in place in town. The checkpoint drew mixed reception from the general public.

Town staff said during the work session they are assessing the effect of the virus and restrictions on revenues and expenditures in the current fiscal budget and will request the board appropriate $100,000 from the general fund to cover COVID-19 expenditures to date.  

“That may be a little bit high but I feel like it’s going to be pretty close, based on the numbers that we’ve run and what we’ve experienced to date,” Ms. Wood told the board. “I’ve also asked for an appropriation of $100,000 contingency just for any (unexpected) unforeseen expenditures that may occur prior to (Tuesday) June 30.”

The requests are part of a budget amendment the board will consider at its Monday, May 11 meeting, alongside a list of what the expenditures entail.

Ms. Wood said the town had ordered about $40,000 in supplies – like barricades for the checkpoint and the rental of electronic signage – and there have also been labor expenditures, primarily for the fire and police departments.

“Those are the large items,” she said.

The town will seek Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement on all the expenses. A request to name Town Manager John Day and Ms. Wood as applicant agents for the FEMA process will be before the board May 11.

After discussion, the board Monday approved an amendment to a personnel policy to allow staff flexibility to determine work schedules, locations, hours and compensation during states of emergency. A similar policy had been in place and used during hurricanes, Mr. Day told the board, but it specified the suspension of services as a trigger, which has not occurred during the pandemic crisis. The board said it wanted to revisit the policy later for more discussion.

Additionally, Mr. Day proposed a new calendar for the fiscal 2020-21 budget process, noting due to virus-related work, staff was behind schedule.

If approved, the public hearing on the town’s 2020-21 budget will be Monday, June 22.

Contact Jackie Starkey at 252-726-7081, ext. 225; email jackie@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @jackieccnt.

(13) comments

CARTERETISCORRUPT

Newton and the commissioners damaged the local economy with their ill suited restrictions; and now want the federal government to bail them out. NO! The ones who did the damage need to pay themselves to address the mess they alone created.

Biggdogg

Why should the taxpayers outside of Beaufort pay for the local govt. decisions. You made the decision you pay for it. You kept me out because I was not a resident of carteret county even though I only live 15 minutes away. Let your locals pay for it through a tax on them. After all that’s who you were trying to protect right. ...

DeadBolt

Yea, i heard, humph, that Trump is not going to be 'rewarding' bad actors in this play so loved by all, called 'The Democrat Dream' , or as alot of folks know 'As The Democrat Turn's' <----------- Good one 'lefties'! [scared]

Osprey

Raise taxes to pay for your decisions and policies Beaufort. Seems to be the Beaufort solution for everything these days.

Core Sounder

Gotta find a way to pay for that 1 million plus dollar fire truck that carries a hundred ft extension ladder. Could have bought 4 or 5 top of the line peter built tractor trailer trucks for what that fire truck cost. Anyways the leaders of Beaufort made this problem a lot worse that it should have been and do not think the rest of us should reward these so called leaders for their bad decisions.

SandFiddler

This gives us something to think about as we await the Thunderbird flyover. [rolleyes][wink]

John

Ok folks here is what we all need to do is contact FEMA and report the actions and let them know it was Beaufort that did this to them selves. And that they need NO money for there ludicrous actions Contact FEMA Report fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of civil liberties or civil rights abuses, or mismanagement to the Department of Homeland Security. Report fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of civil liberties or civil rights abuses, or mismanagement involving Department of Homeland Security programs or operations to:

Department of Homeland Security

Washington, DC 20528

Attn: Office of Inspector General, Hotline

Fax: (202) 254-4292 To report False Damage Claims, please call (800) 323-8603.

fedup1388

As I stated in my early posts. The town of Beaufort would be one of the first with their hands out for aid!!! Yet the rest of the county did not place road blocks, or did it ever intend to. I say let the full time home owners FOOT the bill. They pushed for the issue of closing their town city limits. The non residents that own BOATS, LAND, HOMES, etc.. Need to sue the pants off them. Next time they won't be so quick to close their streets. NOW THEY WANT ALL THAT NON RESIDENT CASH.. who knew

NeroFiddles4PhotoOps

The mayor made it clear in his 19 April Op-Ed that the 11 municipalities within Carteret County are provided county level data, without specific insight into the actual number of cases located within their respective municipalities. Therefore, the mayor has no data specific to either the infection rate within Beaufort or the success of his actions to unilaterally control it. Hypothetically, he could have scattered monkey bone dust on the steps of town hall and achieved the same measurable results specific to the effects within Beaufort; without measurable data specific to what you are attempting to control, you don’t know. Subsequently, this twice amended town proclamation has been nothing more than a self-serving Kabuki dance performed at the physical, emotional and economic expense of the town. If there is municipality specific per capita data to show the positive effects achieved through executive fiat within Beaufort relative to the other 10 communities that justifies the actions taken, please provide it. The level of implied precision in the recently released threat level implementation plan in the absence of Beaufort specific data is farcical; we could apparently launch to level 2 or 3 on a whim in response to a few quarantined cases on the opposite end of the county or an observed visitor social distancing faux pas over the weekend. Dr. Birx stated clearly during last week’s Presidential briefing that she can observe and trend relevant data at the zip code level; puzzling why the municipalities within our county lack the same capability operating under the same HIPAA Protected Health Information regulations to prevent unilateral disproportionate or irrational response.

ncjake2000

Here's a thought. Perhaps when the Thunderbirds perform their flyover they could initiate a money drop from FEMA! Should fit in nicely with Beaufort officials misaligned theory that it's raining cash! Uh-oh, they probably have some sort of fee attached for flyovers also. Better tell'em to bring more cash.

DeadBolt

'What Happened To Climate Change'? by DeadBolt.. Seriously, i mean , you all know the PLANET IS OVER IN 10 YEARS ANYWAY? (right)

CARTERETISCORRUPT

Let us not forget the acts of this mayor in the next election. Second, instead of other taxpayers bailing out the town, I suggest the sale of the mayors property to reimburse for his bad decisions and the negative impact on the citizens. That will deter any future tyrant from such acts. Impeding our liberties MUST come at a price. Otherwise, it will happen like a epidemic, in the future.

SidKind

That is absolutely incredible! The mayor crushes the businesses and wants somebody else to pay for it. Better yet, if they get any cash from the rest of America they will pocket the money and the real losers are the businesses. You guys have got to kick this idiot out of office!

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