In the Town of Manteo, the Board of Commissioners will hold a meeting at 5:00 p.m. on June 17th, and the agenda includes budget-related items, a public hearing on boat lifts, written department head reports, and a presentation on community gardens. Click on the following links for the FY 2020-2021 budget presentation, budget message, and the final budget ordinance to be considered by the Board. Please consider joining the Public Hearing or Public Comment segments by calling +1-253-215-8782, +1-301-715-8592, or +1-346-248-7799 and then entering the Meeting ID of 622-572-789.
Speaking of the budget, the Town is continuing its Revenue Diversification strategy to reduce the burden on taxpayers for the completion of key projects, including the use of grants, zero-interest loans, and related measures. Over the last two weeks, the Town Planner has submitted grant applications for the Town Common project, including a State Environmental Enhancement Grant for $80,200 and a Parks & Recreation Trust Fund Grant for $366,422. Earlier this spring, the Town signed a grant agreement with the Dare County Tourism Board for $221,885 for this project that balances new park areas with parking, while simultaneously improving stormwater and the environment.
On a related note, the recent completion of the Shallowbag Bay Boardwalk project was a major milestone for our waterfront amenities. Completion of the work has made us eligible for reimbursement of $95,367 in project expenses in accordance with our CAMA Grant agreement with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The State DEQ is also the awarding agency for our $1,106,660 funding package for the Shallowbag Bay Sewer Pump Station project that serves wide areas of town both east and west of Highway 64. The proposed funding package to be reviewed in July by the NC Treasurer’s Local Government Commission includes the maximum $500,000 in loan forgiveness coupled with a 0% interest loan for $606,660 amortized over 20 years.
The Town will continue to assess community needs, including critical infrastructure projects, and our work on a long-term Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) will help guide priorities and capital investments. Town staff met virtually this past week with the Environmental Finance Center housed in the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill, and we are embarking on a program funded by a Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant that will provide the Town with consulting and technical assistance related to water & sewer rates and affordability along with information needed for a comprehensive Capital Improvements Plan.
The Town held the inaugural conference call for the Manteo Business Association on June 8th, and attendees represented multiple sectors such as retail, food & beverage, lodging, professional services, attractions, government entities, and more. The discussion covered topics ranging from group membership to geographic coverage, and Town staff outlined key activities underway to support local businesses and the jobs they create. The group consensus was to continue the dialogue among all of the stakeholders, with a preference for an in-person meeting in July should the Governor allow such meetings as we approach Phase 3 of his re-opening plan late this month.
With COVID-19 cases trending upward in the State of North Carolina, Governor Cooper and NCDHHS are sending key messages of prevention, including an emphasis on the W-W-W approach (wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, wash your hands often). This messaging is also being shared by Dare County through its COVID-19 web page and social media channels, and the municipalities are expected to share these public service announcements as a supplement to the shared signage that has been placed in prominent locations. As we hear more from the State regarding next steps in the re-opening process, we will make sure to share this information with the local community right here in Manteo.