Open Letter to Hyde County Board of Commissioners

I do not feel that the community of Ocracoke is ready to expand tourism.

The ferry issue certainly is not going to be solved anytime soon, if ever.  If anything, it will continue to drive away one of our most lucrative ways to put more tax dollars into your coffers.  Many of our restaurants and all of our gift shops depend heavily on the day traffic coming over on the ferries.  A very long wait will continue to cause people to turn around and go back north, spending their money somewhere along the way. 

If any of the tourists have the stamina to wait long enough, what do they find when they get here?

  • Very inadequate restroom facilities – a project that has never been resolved, but it has been talked about for over 20 years.
  • If we have had the misfortune to have had rain, then the tourists are driving or walking through standing water all over the island.  The county took charge of trying to fix one area of standing water at least a year ago and that one area is not fixed yet.
  • The paving job done by NCDot this past year has not necessarily helped the drainage issue in many places.
  • The handling of evacuations in the case of a storm - allowing tourists to remain here this last time was a disaster.  It taxed the water system and the electric power, put many of them in harm’s way and made cleaning up afterwards a more difficult task, while they wandered around.  This decision was not a good one and slowed up the recovery efforts of members of the community.
  • I am not sure any of us will live long enough to see expanded parking at the lighthouse, but that is NPS property.  Has the county recently pressed the NPS to see if they have a time table for improving this situation?

I am sure you are well aware that Ocracoke is the county’s golden goose.  Without our high property taxes, Hyde County would most likely be listed as the poorest County in the state.  Based upon the $400,000.00 in Occupancy Tax brought in, you take 10% for managing it.  How is that spent?  Instead of taking more of the Occupancy tax, why not activate the 1 quarter of one cent sales tax.  That would certainly be fairer to everyone in the county.  Then perhaps you could pay the School Board back the money that they have lost in previous years’ operating budgets.  This would certainly benefit the future generations in Hyde County.

But, the bottom line is – let’s get our problems taken care of first, no matter where the money comes from.  With shorter waits at the ferry line and no standing water, what a difference it would make in attracting tourists who want to come back. Then, if we still wanted to strengthen the tourist industry, a plan could be developed. 

Janey Jacoby

April 2015 


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