Thursday, May 10, 2007

Legislative Briefings - April 26, 2007

Dare County

Apr. 16 – Dare County Finance Director David Clawson continued his presentation on Dare County’s budget at the Commissioners meeting, looking this time at the capital improvement plan.
Clawson informed the Board that fiscal year 2007 land transfer tax collections are now projected to be 36.5% lower than that of the 2006 fiscal year which already had a decrease of 29.14% in land transfer taxes. That level of collections in combination with the currently approved 2007 CIP, would result in negative fund balances of ($1,337,660) in FY 2009, ($1,582,608) in FY 2010 and ($1,703,533) in FY 2011.
The following capital budget adjustments were approved by the Board to offset the decrease in land transfer tax collections:
Reduce the current year transfer to the School Capital Reserve fund from $1,250,000 to $500,000.
Reduce the existing appropriations for fiscal years 2005 and 2006 for EMS Station No. 1 from $560,000 to $250,000.
Eliminate the fiscal 2007 appropriation of $100,000 for the General Land Bank and the future amount in the CIP.
Eliminate the remaining, uncommitted balances of the Parks and Recreation Land Bank.
Eliminate the remaining appropriation for planning studies of $47,160.
Eliminate the remaining unused appropriations for completed capital projects for a total of $111,144.

Land transfer taxes are being debated in Raleigh since statewide and local transfer tax bills have been introduced. The NC Realtors Association has been working on the campaign, “Stop the Home Tax” and have been raising awareness about other infrastructure financing solutions besides land transfer tax. The web site http://www.itsabadidea.com/ has more information about the campaign. One major concern with land transfer taxes is that they are an inconsistent, unstable revenue source as is evident above with Dare’s budget adjustments. We will be hearing more on the decrease in land transfer taxes as the towns work on their 07-08 budgets.

Nags Head

Apr. 17 - The Town of Nags Head held a referendum on their beach nourishment project this week. Voters in the special oceanfront district said yes to pay over half the cost of a Nags Head beach nourishment project with a vote of 56 to 53. However, the referendum failed because it not only had to pass the special district but the town district as well. Voters on the west side of the beach road said no to an average increase in their local property taxes of about $285 per year with a vote of 478 to 324.
The Board of Commissioners will hold their second meeting of the month on Wednesday, April 25th. The following public hearings will be held:
Consideration of a proposed zoning ordinance text amendment to list new use of Auction House as permitted use in the C-2, General Commercial Zoning District and amend all other pertinent sections of zoning ordinance.
Consideration of a zoning ordinance text amendment to Town Code Section 48-165, Parking Reduction Requirements.
Consideration of a zoning ordinance text amendment to Town Code Section 48-91, Habitable Floors.
Consideration of a zoning ordinance text amendment to Town Code Section 48-81, Exclusions from Height Limitations.

Kitty Hawk Development Forum

The Kitty Hawk Planning & Inspections Department has scheduled a public forum on development issues at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 in the Smith Meeting Room at Kitty Hawk Town Hall. The forum is intended to inform builders, surveyors and other professionals in the development field about key development issues in Kitty Hawk. Attendees will also be given the opportunity to offer comments and ask questions of the Town staff. Town CAMA Officer Stephen Smith will discuss any recent updates to CAMA regulations. Building Inspector Dennis Speight will present information on key building code issues. Environmental Planner Holly White will help clarify recently adopted flood damage prevention standards. Planning Director Joe Heard will outline recent text amendments to the Town’s development code.
Light refreshments will be provided at the forum. Anyone planning to attend is encouraged to contact the department at 261-3552.

Roanoke Island – LID Workshop

A low impact development workshop will be held at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island on Thursday, May 3rd. Low Impact Development (LID) is a land development approach that uses various planning and design practices and technologies to protect natural resources and minimize the cost associated with infrastructure. LID does not inhibit growth but instead encourages a comprehensive environmentally-friendly planning and implementation process. LID's goal is to mimic the site's predevelopment hydrology by using design techniques that infiltrate, filter, store, evaporate, and detain runoff close to its source. LID can be applied to new development, urban retrofits, redevelopment, and revitalization projects. This workshop will provide an overview of the elements of LID design and implementation. It will include an overview of each practice as well as a case study of how LID has been implemented. A field tour is included as a part of the workshop to visit the sites of several LID practices in the area.
For more information and to register go to: www.bae.ncsu.edu/workshops/LID/index.html.
The agenda for the workshop is as follows:
8:30 a.m. -Registration and Welcome
Introduction to Stormwater
Water Harvesting
Raingardens
Integrating Vegetation into LID
Permeable Pavement
LID Application
LID Case Study
LID Tour Overview
12:15 p.m. - Lunch on your own1:30 p.m. - Meet at First Tour StopTour Stops:
Roanoke Aquarium Rain Garden
Roanoke Aquarium Water Harvesting System
Permeable Pavement

School Calendar Bill Passes the House

House Bill 359 – Restore Flexibility to the School Calendar has passed the House and is being reviewed by the Senate Education Committee. This bill would change legislation passed just two years ago which stated that the opening date for schools may not be before August 25th and the closing date for students not after June 10th. The August 25th start date has had a very positive effect on the Outer Banks and other tourist destination communities since the first three weeks of August are a prime time for family vacations. It also has benefited students working summer jobs. Some local school boards would like for school to start as early as August 6th to coincide with nearby community college and university calendars. Save Our Summers, a group working to defeat the bill, has more information on their web site http://www.saveoursummers.com/.
Voice your opinion by contacting Senator Basnight’s office at (919) 733-6854 or marcb@ncleg.net.

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