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Town Board Meeting April 2019
Waterline work begins, CycleNC returns, Board responds to NCDOT
April 4, 2019

pril’s Town Board Meeting covered the ongoing repairs and restorations since Hurricane Florence, potential plans for the successfully annexed 604 Shorey Drive, the return of CycleNC, a response to NCDOT about the closure and repair of two bridges along Highway 55, and more.

town hall signLast month, Chuck Hobgood, former director of CycleNC and president of NC Amateur Sports went before the Board to discuss hosting CycleNC in Oriental in 2020. At that meeting, Town Manager Diane Miller listed positive and negative results of the 2017 event.

The Board said they would give CycleNC an answer at the April meeting.

The Tourism Board, lead by Marsha Paplham, stepped up to help organize volunteers. They will also fund a dumpster for CycleNC. Paplham said this month’s Tourism Board Business Breakfast, on May 16, will focus solely on CycleNC.

She said the town will budget overtime for staff in order to make sure trash is properly handled and promptly removed.

Miller says there are smaller issues still in need of solving. Lots that were available in 2017 to park multiple RVs have changed hands and new, graveled spaces need to be found for these heavy vehicles. The town is also trying to relocate the registration tents away from Highway 55, and is considering the Tiki Bar or other venues.

With these adjustments, Town Commissioners approved CycleNC for 2020.

Public Hearings on 604 Shorey Drive
Two public hearings for Shorey Drive were continued from the March meeting when it was found the deeds were inconsistent with themselves; description of the land measurements varied by 5 acres. Hearings were continued with the expectation that land surveys would be completed and inconsistencies fixed.

Annexation Two parcels are being annexed. The first is 604 Shorey Drive, a roughly 30 acre lot (between 30 and 31 acres). The second is an easement next to the lot that will serve as access to Tarpon Rd, wide enough only for that purpose. There were no public comments about the annexation. The Board approved the annexation and an amendment to the GMO map to show the parcel as part of Oriental.

Zoning An R-3 zone has been requested for the 604 Shorey Drive parcels. R-3 is a Residential 3 zone for medium density residential land use. The Planning Board approved the zoning at their meeting in February. There were no public comments during the Public Hearing. The Board approved the zoning.

Town Manager Miller said the preliminary plans from the developer could not be viewed until after the parcel was annexed, however they intend to build small duplexes on the lots, a type of housing not currently available in that area.

Water Burnout
The annual Water Burnout is happening April 17 – May 24. Once a year, for one month, the Town switches the chemicals used to clean the Town’s water distribution system. This change in chemicals flushes out any buildup in the lines. Town Manager Miller says town currently uses chloramines and will switch to chlorine for the month.

The water may look discolored or have a strong smell. If residents find they have problems with their water, Miller asks them to call Town Hall. They may send workers to open a valve or hydrant to flush the system. She advised residents to turn on all the faucets in their home, as they might do if they’ve been away for a while, to help get rid of the smell.

Miller also warned that elderly pets, people on dialysis or with compromised immune systems, or those who have/raise fish should be cautious as they often have a sensitivity to the change in chemicals.

Durango, Havelock, and Bridge Replacement Resolutions
Dodge Durango Will Go to the Highest Bidder The vehicle that formerly served as the town’s police vehicle is being sold by sealed bid. The Town will take bids on the vehicle until April 8. It is a 2004 vehicle with over 250,000 miles. Town Manager Miller says it has a Kelly Blue Book value of $500 – $1,000 dollars. In order to bid on the vehicle, bring a sealed envelope with your bid and 5% of the bid amount to Town Hall by April 8.

City of Havelock, Release of Untreated Sewage into State Waters Commissioner Dianne Simmons worked on this resolution with the Harbor Waterfronts Committee. She was not present at the meeting and the resolution was tabled until the next meeting when she would be present.

At the February Town Board meeting, Bill Hines (with Sound Rivers) spoke to the Board of Commissioners about the City of Havelock dumping raw sewage into the Neuse River. Hines said 430 thousand gallons of raw sewage has made it into the Neuse River since 2015, and it has all come from the same manhole.

Sound Rivers, Hines said, is working with NCDEQ (NC Department of Environmental Quality), who has been tracking the issue since 2002. They counted 42 spills since ’02.

Hines said one spill alone released 192 thousand gallons of raw sewage into the Neuse. The City of Havelock received a fine of $657 for that incident.

Hines asked the Board to pass a resolution against the dumping as it affects the camps, Oriental’s water, fishing industry, and tourism industry.

This resolution “thanks the City of Havelock for its efforts to gain control of the situation and encourages the City of Havelock to increase those efforts and further correct the underlying deficiencies that precipitate those discharges, and share the plan to do so publicly.”

Commissioner Alan Price said the City of Havelock’s meeting minutes showed they were working to deal with the problem. Commissioner White suggested sending the resolution to an entity other than the City of Havelock as it is an enforcement issue.

DOT Bridge Replacement The North Carolina Department of Transportation proposes to replace two bridges along Highway 55: one at Alligator Creek and another at Stonewall. The plan is to repair them at the same time, but only build a one-lane temporary bridge at Alligator Creek. Officials for Pamlico County and Oriental attended a meeting with NCDOT in March to discuss traffic, safety, and economic concerns including a 30 mile detour around the bridges impacting tourism, farming and emergency response times. The bridges are also along the evacuation route.

This resolution follows resolutions passed by the County of Pamlico and the Down East Rural Planning Organization (consisting of Carteret, Craven, Jones, Onslow, and Pamlico counties) requesting NCDOT “make all feasible accommodations to provide the users of this corridor and to the residents and businesses along this corridor, a safe and timely through-travel option.”

The Board passed the resolution, and will send their response to the Secretary of NCDOT.

Repairs and Restorations
Whittaker Point Restoration The engineering survey at Whittaker Point is underway. Town Manager Miller received an analysis of the core samples on Tuesday.

South Ave Repairs The contract to replace the waterline at South Ave has been awarded to James Cayton, Inc and will begin Friday, weather permitting. Residents along South Ave have been notified that their water will be cut off for “a short down-time” while the pipes are repaired and switched.

Two fire hydrants along South Ave will be replaced and a third will be installed at the River Neuse Suites.

This week, Miller said she is meeting with the engineer to repair South Ave.

The Pier at Lou Mac Park The contract to repair the pier at Lou Mac Park has been awarded to Bobby Cahoon Marine Construction. They will also the add a small floating dock at the end of the pier, to be funded from the Harbor Waterfronts Committee budget.

Currently, Cahoon Marine Construciton is repairing the dock at the Wildlife Ramp. The floating portion of the dock damaged the pilings and they will be replaced. Repairs on the pier will begin after the dock at the Wildlife ramp is completed.

Manager’s Report
2015-2016 Audit The 2015-16 fiscal year budget for the Town of Oriental has been accepted by the State Treasurer. A problem with the financial software caused the budget for that year, and subsequent years, to be incorrect. Town Hall administration has been working to fix the problem and has implemented new software. Town Manager Miller has said that once the 2015-16 year is corrected, the following fiscal year budgets for 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 will quickly follow suit.

Town Hall Generator The generator quit during Hurricane Florence. Greg Bohmert had been repairing the generator for years, including machining new parts, while the Town put money into a fund for its eventual replacement.

Because it quit while in use during the hurricane, FEMA and insurance will cover the cost of its replacement. Miller said the money set aside by the town can be redistributed to other projects. Bohmert removed the old generator at no cost to the town.

FEMA Reimbursements Town Manager Miller said all FEMA related repair projects have been submitted for reimbursement, and the town should see some money soon. In prior Town Board meetings, Town Manager Miller said reimbursements would not come all at once, but over time.

Trash Pickup Contract and Recycling The Town will extend their contract with their current company for another 3 years. Currently, Miller says, there is no other hauler in the area willing to pick up waste from the town.

Miller also said in the next few years, the town will have to consider the cost of picking up recycling. “There is a significant downgrade to what can be recycled,” she said. “We are weighing recycling at the new cost or everything goes into the trash. And it’s starting to go from $2 a ton to $50 a ton – we’re not talking about a little increase, we’re talking about a lot.”

Flood Insurance and the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan The Town is still sitting at a 9 rating, and is trying to get back to an 8 rating – the best that can be had in our area, according to Town Manager Miller. Last year, the firm hired to determine Oriental’s rank used guidelines from 2007, instead of 2017, and increased Oriental’s rank from 8 to 9 (where 10 is the worst).

Miller received a letter with a breakdown of the Town’s ranking (it can be found below in related links) and is still working to document the Town’s efforts to mitigate flooding and keep residents informed. A ranking of 9 means a 5% discount on flood insurance for residents instead of a 10% discount, which was given with a rank of 8.

Yard Sale, Shred Day, Bulk Pickup The Town Wide Yard Sale is May 4, as is Shred Day. Shred Day will be held at the Bayboro Courthouse from 9a-noon. Bulk Pickup, for items left over from the Yard Sale, will be May 11. Town Manager Miller said there is a list of items that cannot be picked up. She will compile the list and release it before May 11.

Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association Oriental has joined the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, a non-profit group that secures funding for the maintenance (and dredging) of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

Police Report
Officer Wichrowski gave Tuesday’s police report explaining that he and Officer Blayney are doing “targeted enforcement” in different areas of Oriental for speeding.

Wichrowski also said they are making daily visits to the Oriental Marina and Inn, documenting the boats present at the town docks and engaging with visitors about registering their boats and the 48 hour stay at the town docks.

Dates to Know
  • The next Town Board Meeting will be Tuesday, May 7 at 7p.
  • Two Budget Meetings are scheduled for April: April 10, 8a-10a (focusing on revenue projections), and April 24, 8a-10a. Both are at Town Hall in the Large Board Room.
  • Town Hall will close on Thursday, April 18 @3p, and be closed April 19 all day.
Related Information

Posted Thursday April 4, 2019 by Allison DeWeese

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