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Hodges Street Seawall Separating
Town Board Meeting December 2021
December 23, 2021

ne new commissioner, Frank Roe, was sworn in at December’s meeting. He was joined by returning commissioners David White, Charlie Overcash, Allen Price, and Sandy Winfrey. Mayor Sally Belangia was also in attendance as was Officer Wichrowski and 13 members of the audience.

Former Commissioner Martin Barrow addresses board during public comments

town hall sign Former commissioner Martin Barrow addressed the Board of Commissioners during public comments, thanking the town staff, the mayor, and all other commissioners except Commissioner David White and Charlie Overcash. Barrow (who lost his seat when he moved out of town limits) said that Allen Price should be considered to Mayor Pro-Tempore as he is consistently the top vote getter in the elections.

Commissioners were then sworn in, beginning with newly elected Commissioner Frank Roe.

Frank Roe is sworn in by Judge Paul Delamar Jr. His wife Jennifer Roe holds the Bible.

The reelected Commissioners and Mayor Sally Belangia were sworn in next, taking their seats on the dais.

Mayor Pro-Tempore and board selection
The Mayor Pro-Tempore assumes the duties of the Mayor if she is absent. Commissioner Charlie Overcash nominated David White as Mayor Pro-Tempore, saying he’d held the position for years and had done a good job. Commissioner Sandy Winfrey seconded. Mayor Sally Belangia asked for those in favor of the nomination.

Commissioner Roe asked about other nominations and suggested Allen Price for Mayor Pro-Tempore. Mayor Belangia took a roll-call count for the nominations. Commissioners Overcash, Winfrey, and White voted for David White. Commissioner Roe voted for Allen Price. Commissioner Price abstained.

Commissioner David White retained the position of Mayor Pro-Tempore.

Newly sworn in Commissioners sit on the dais.

Commissioners then picked their board assignments and other town hall duties:
• Harbor Waterfronts Committee: Commissioners White and Winfrey
• Parks and Recreations Committee: Commissioners Overcash and Price
• Planning Board: Commissioners Roe and Overcash
• Tourism Board: Commissioner Roe and Mayor Belangia
• Tree Board: Commissioner Price
• Eastern Carolina Council: Commissioner Price

• Check Signing: Commissioners White, Overcash, Mayor Belangia, and Commissioner Roe (in that order)
• Human Resources: Commissioners White and Winfrey
• Regional Planning Board: (This group meets in New Bern quarterly and is liaison to NCDOT and other state agencies) Mayor Belangia
• Bank Statement opening: Commissioners Price

Hodges Street Seawall Separating
Town Manager Miller addressed Commissioners about the damage to Hodges Street and the cost of repairing it and the seawall. “We’re looking at a million dollars plus. Because it’s not just the street. It’s the seawall, it’s the sidewalk. It’s everything connected to that. So the last estimate two years ago was $785,000 and that did not include the seawall.”

Miller said the town is looking to the USDA for funds. “They have emergency watershed protection funds available for flood damage projects.” USDA was the primary grant funder for the Whittaker Point Restoration Project.

“The seawall is separating from the sidewalk and the street,” Miller told the board, “which is causing the infiltration of water under the street, why you’re seeing those eruptions and potholes.” She said it is not going to get better and the repairs need to happen on a relatively short timeline. “When we did the street assessment last year, it wasn’t even in the top twenty [streets needing repair].” It is now one of the town’s top concerns.

The seawall at the harbor on Hodges Street is separating. On the left, attempts to fill and caulk the separation have failed. On the right, the wall bulges out into the harbor.

Town Manager Miller has said that the town will likely use the same engineering firm employed for the Whittaker Point Restoration Project.

New Parks & Rec Member and Adoption of New Record Retention Requirements
Janice Coakley was appointed as a new member to the Parks and Recreation Board on the recommendation of Parks and Rec chair Bonnie Crosser.

There is a new record retention schedule (as determined by the NC Department of Cultural Resources). Commissioner Roe asked if any of the new additions placed a burden on the town. He also asked how long the recordings of board meetings were kept.

Town Manager Miller said most of the additions were related to electronic documents and social media, the latter of which is archived by a company called ArchiveSocial. Miller also explained that recordings were kept until meeting minutes were approved. After approval, recordings are destroyed. All Commissioners approved adoption of the new meeting minutes.

Drainage Plans
The drainage plans at the November meeting came in higher than expected. At that meeting, Manager Miller said that drainage work could be done to residential culverts under driveways for a residential cost of $75 – $100 per property.

Due to the estimate coming back to around $200 a property, Manager Miller was not comfortable moving forward. Miller said, “Public Works purchased some equipment to be able to take out some of the more lightly impacted culverts so we can cut down the number that the contractor would need to deal with and we’re going to try and do that first.”

Miller said they are working to get those estimates lower for residents.

Police Report
Officer Wichrowski reported that there wasn’t much going on in town at this time of the year. He said the speed sign the town purchased a few months ago continues to encourage compliance and that he’s received good feedback from the public about it.

Speaking on Christmas safety, he cautioned residents to bring their packages in quickly when delivered and to take large package boxes – like those containing televisions – to recycling on Tuesdays instead of sitting them out in front of homes on the curbside.

Manager’s Report
Friends of Whittaker Creek is now being headed Dan Allen. They are 12 – 15k short of their match goal in order to re-dredge Whittaker Creek channel. Contact Dan Allen to make a contribution.
• There may be a request for a Mardi Gras parade in February/March from the Pamlico Musical Society.
• Several municipalities are dealing with water restrictions due to low water tables. We are not there yet, says Miller, but it could be on the horizon.
• Commissioners agreed to move forward with seeking bids for road work at Ragan and Neuse Roads. Miller said they could always reject bids if they came in too high.

Commissioner Comments
Commissioner Overcash welcomed Frank Roe for the “experience and knowledge he brings to the board.”

Commissioner Roe thanked everyone for reaching out to him.

Dates to Know
The next Town Board Meeting will be Tuesday, January 4 @ 8a.

Related Information
December Meeting Agenda
November Meeting Minutes
Commissioner & Mayor Oaths of Office
Parks & Rec Board Appointment
• New Retention Schedule
Police Report
Manager’s Report

Posted Thursday December 23, 2021 by Allison DeWeese

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