Civic Affairs Meeting Wednesday Night

Press Release
The view from the dock at NCCAT.
The view from the dock at NCCAT.

Ocracoke's non-profits will give 2020 updates; agenda includes other important information.

Please attend the OCBA Civic Meeting on Wednesday February 12th at 6pm at the Community Center.

The meeting agenda will include:

  • A nonprofit session where all of the island's nonprofit groups have been invited to give a brief presentation and update on their organization. These presentations will be 3-5 mins each, followed by a group Q&A.
  • A presentation and updates from OIIRT (Ocracoke Island Interfaith Recovery Team)
  • A presentation on the newly-formed Ocracoke Housing Coalition
  • A presentation and updates from County Commissioner, Tom Pahl

This should be a dynamic and informative meeting and one not to be missed.

Here are the notes from the January 15th Civic Affairs meeting, written by Sara Teaster, OCBA Events Coordinator:

January 15, 2020
OCBA Civic Affairs Meeting

Updates from the following:

NC Ferry Division- Jed Dixon

NPS- Dave Hallac

Hyde County- Kris Noble, Tom Pahl with guest speaker Chris Hilbert from Holland Consulting Group to discuss the FEMA HMGP Grant

Dump Q&A- Dave Johnson
Community Square Update- Scott Bradley

NC Ferry Division- Jed Dixon

The Sound Side Ferries: The Ferry Division extended thanks for the patience with recent difficulties with the sound ferry routes. The boats were run hard after the storm in efforts to help with recovery. The regular fall maintenance was put on hold, so as not to disrupt supply deliveries immediately following Dorian. They are now overdue, and receiving the maintenance required to ensure a smooth spring and summer season. There was also damage to two boats on the same day. Two boats will be returning to service in about two weeks, bringing the total routes back up to the 3 boat schedule for both Swan Quarter and Cedar Island.

7am to Swan Quarter/ Ferry Division Housing: They have heard the request to bring back the 7am ferry to Swan Quarter and are working toward a solution. The issue is housing. Dorm repair is beginning, but will take time. The ferry division is looking for housing for 16 people for a 1 year term. If you can offer housing for rent to the ferry division, please reach out.

Hatteras Ferry: Due to s ramp replacement at South Port, some of the full time NC Ferry Division staff will be taking over some of the Hatteras routes. Part time staff may be laid off to save money will this crew is available.

Passenger Ferry: This looks like it is close to being a done deal. The contract has not been signed yet, but expectation is that this will move forward and the passenger ferry will be running this season. Last Year’s numbers (prior to storm) were some of the best in 10 years, and the passenger ferry made the difference.

Trams: The trams were destroyed in Dorian. Many different options have been explored to get these back to accompany the passenger ferry. This process looks promising, with potential grant assistance from Golden Leaf. Note from Hyde County on this issue- Trams were thought to be insured, but were not. The county may consider legal actions to recovery this money. The trams were purchased originally with a grant, the operations were funded through Hyde County, with the state of North Carolina owning the trams, but leased to Hyde County for use. If a grant can be secured to fund the initial capital investment to purchase new ones, unsure about how that money may or may not cover operating costs. This is all still in the works, but feeling are positive that a solution can be found.

Ticket Booth Construction: Reconstruction has stated on the ticket booths and they should be finished in a few weeks.

Money: Lots of money was put into post Dorian Recovery. It may take several years for reimbursements for this additional outlay of expense. The ferry division will be managing money very closely in the coming years as a result. The ferry division is working with state and federal representatives to ensure the needs are begin communicated during budget process.

Question: Is there a weight system in place? - There are scales for debris removal, and the standard of 16K lbs/ axel is in place

Question: Is there a way the Ferry Division can be more proactive with messaging. Hearing the explanation of why the ferries are not running makes sense, but if the ferry division could do a better job of communicating issues in advance that would perhaps cut down on complaints- The ferry division will do a better job of communicating. For those who use twitter, the ferry division uses this as the most up to date mean of communication for changes in schedules

NPS Update- Dave Hallac

North End: DOT completed a 100 foot sheet pile, which still needs to be pounded to grade and epoxy added. Sandbagging should be completed in April. The north end is seeing a high rate of erosion, the rate of the erosion in ever increasing. The beach area on the North End has become so eroded from the ferry docks to Ramp 59 is only accessible during low tide. Environmental assessments are being performed for the feasibility and impacts of adding 5 groins to stabilize the ground and divert channels. Sedimentation modeling is being run now, and awaiting analysis.

Permits to Tideland: Permits have been issued to Tideland to replace power poles and replacements of overhead lines where needed.

Lifeguard/ Campground Debris Staging Locations: Island Debris pick up will end on February 15th. These debris staging areas should be empty and cleaned up by mid April. Approval was received to remove some of the debris via Hatteras, which will speed the process of removal. Campground kiosk is beyond repair. NPS only has the time and money to repair one before summer and efforts will focus on repair of the village visitors’ center. Campers can preregister, or come to the village center for payment. Additionally NPS personnel will be attending the campground on foot to answer questions, etc.

Restrooms: The 3 passenger ferry restrooms are being replaced. Once fixed the port-a-potties will go away.

Boat Docking in Silver Lake: Overnight stay passes for boats are being issued- water will be ready by summer, but electricity will not be.

Interpretive Staff: NPS is working with the ferry division to get early ferry for this staff so they may come over for 2 educational programs per day, and give a presentation on the ferry home. This is still in the works, and will provide a solution and programming until housing can be secured.

Question- Double Keepers Quarter House Condition- This building has received repeated damage over the last few years. The earliest funding available to repair this building would come in 2025. NPS has received funding for a public planning process and they want the community’s feedback. What would be the best option for this site? A Pavilion? Wayfinding and historical signage? Repair of the keeper’s house? This process will last about 12-18 months.

Question- Is the Double keepers house an historic landmark. Yes, the entire Ocracoke Island Life station is registered as historic, though the current keeper’s house is not original.

Question- What is the condition, repair plans for the Hammock Hills Trail? This trail was damaged in the storm. NPS is working on evaluating and understanding the damage. They need a bit more time for assessment before they can respond with estimates and plans.

Question- Can you provide a bit more information on the groins mentioned? The process is sandbags with transition to sheet pile. Groins will be months to years away. The Ebb tide is the strongest currents in Hatteras Inlet which is causing the most damage east of the stacking lanes.

Chris Hilbert, Holland Consulting Group

HMGP FEMA House Raising Grant

Talks started shortly after the storm with county leaders about this program. Funding for this program is available as soon as a Presidential Disaster Declaration is made. If you applied at the JRC for a Common Housing Application for assistance, you will be included in this pool for potential assistance in raising your home. If you have questions about this, please contact your case worker. How does the money get allocated? - The state will perform a cost benefit analysis to determine the value of raising a home verses other options such as demolition. If the benefit of raising a home is not considered cost effective, it will not receive funds. The county may eventually be asked to prioritize homes for this program. There is not guarantee that “x” number of homes will be included; they will work through the list of homes until the funds are no longer available. It may take a long time to be awarded these funds.

(Note: Please see Hyde County press release for more information about this program, and if you have additional questions, please contact your case worker.)

Hyde County Update- Tom Pahl and Kris Noble

FINAL ROADSIDE TRASH PICKUP IS FEBRUARY 15th- Please do any work that needs to be done now, and move debris as previously directed, before the 15th. If you create a new pile, please contact Teresa Adams to alert her to the pickup need BEFORE the 15th, not on the 15th. After the 15th, if you are working on a construction project, you will need to address debris as you did prior to Dorian. Be a good neighbor, and help clean up the village- rake loose debris into piles, alert Teresa Adams if you make a new pile, and take a moment to pick up some extra debris to help get our island clean.

Temporary Housing/ Trailers- 35 trailers have now been transported to Swan Quarter and are waiting on work on placement sites and recipient placing through their case workers. Ideal situation is to place a trailer on the property where someone is working on their home. The trailers should begin to be moved over soon. All of the funding is in place to assist with set up of these trailers. There is potential for more funding in the future to purchase more trailers. Note from Paige Bennett- if you need housing, please contact your case worker to see where you are. If you don’t know who your case worker is, ask anycaseworker to help you find

The LTRG- or The Long Term Recovery Group, has a housing subcommittee working on the trailers.

LTRG- Formed organically after the storm by those who were able to step up to help lead emergency efforts, and then developed into an official group. Many coastal communities already had these in place in the event of a natural disaster, or other kind of local emergency. The Ocracoke LTRG received support from Dare County on how to form this type of group. These groups work best, when they are a locally formed, locally managed organization. The LTRG has a board of about 20 people, and will be working on their status as a nonprofit. Their work levels may change, as recovery continues, but the structures put in place post Dorian, will remain ready to assist should there ever be a need. The LTRG recently hosted an outreach meeting in Spanish for our Latino community, in an effort to ensure everyone knows updates on assistance.

Statement/ Question- Perhaps there could be a communication that detailed the process of who everyone is (recovery groups) and identify all of the acronyms. Officials converse so easily in all of these acronyms, but the general population is still getting confused. When useful information was coming out about recovery groups, many of us were still so shell shocked from the storm that we tuned out some important information. How can the county help with this type of informative who’s who?

Question- How many homes will be rebuilt by the Methodist groups? UMCOR is currently working on 4 houses and will do more. They require additional paperwork, and if you are missing paperwork, you must fill this out to be eligible for their assistance. The Masonic lodge will be housing UMCOR workers for the time being.

Question- How many people are still displaced? Uncertain of number right now. Only 1 certificate of occupancy has been issued so far, but many more homes are very close to completion.

Dump Report- Dave Johnson

(Introduction interrupted by applause for the fabulous job he is doing and a thanks from the community. Tom Pahl said this is a great example of the right person, doing what needs to be done)

Daily Dump Tip-Dave is working on gathering information and resources, like a Daily Dump Tip, to keep residents informed on all things trash- how to recycle, what to recycle, etc.

Recycling- Working on getting recycling back soon- date still not available, but will be soon.

Traffic Flow- The traffic flow will soon be reversed for the dump. This will allow Dave, or other attendants to have line of site of incoming cars and will allow for pull around and stops, depending on needs.

Signage- New signage for bins coming soon.

Plans for the future- Dave hopes to work with county to develop stronger waste management plans to improve how we manage and recycle our waste.

Site Budget- The Site improvement budget is only $8K which Dave will try to work with county to ensure that is spent in the best way.

C&D Debris- (Construction and Demolition Debris) FEMA trash pickup service ends on the 15th, and instructions on what to do after will be coming.

Note about our trash service- David Trash Service came and did a pick up. An RFP was being put together right before the storm, but that was out on hold, and current contract was extended for 90 days to allow time for a new RFP to be developed. This new RFP (Request t for Proposals) will be out soon as we look for our new trash service provider.

Community Square Update- Scott Bradley

The New Docks- The hope is to continue to have the community square be a center of activity. The new docks held strong in the storm, and were the first point of contact to those boats bringing relief supplies over immediately after the storm. This dock work cost about $385K and was paid for in part by the Occupancy Tax Board and through a grant from Golden Leaf.

Williams House- is empty and did receive some damage

Community Store- empty/ needs repair work. This may be a great time for community input on what this building could become for the future.

Question- What else is the foundation working on and who is currently on the board, after losing some members. This might be a great time to add on some new members to the Community Foundation’s board.

Additional Note:

In a discussion about money, some important thoughts and facts were communicated. Both water and electric service continued, even though revenues were significantly decreased post storm. Both are now operating with strained budgets. Hyde County will also be operating on a strained budget, having major outlays for recovery efforts, and loss of tax revenues. Some of this money will be reimbursed, but it takes time. It was pointed out that Tidelands just received a reimbursement from Hurricane Matthew around the 1st of January. It is a slow process for all involved.

The next Civic Affairs Meeting will be on February 12th


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