ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: County officials discuss Masons Inlet and beach nourishment funding

by Kelly Corbett
Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Hanover County officials will recommend the contract for the Mason Inlet Waterbird Habitat Management Plan to return to its original funding method of being paid for 100 percent by property owners who benefit from the inlet during the commissioners regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 29.

Currently, 50 percent of the funding for the project comes from the county’s room occupancy tax fund, totaling $12,500.

During an agenda briefing on Thursday, Nov. 29, county manager Chris Coudriet said the recommendation is to move the property owners’ portion of the funding from 50 percent back up to 100 percent.

The $25,000 budget amendment would typically be a consent agenda item, he said.

“It would be $12,500 being additionally assessed to the property owners … as opposed to the general fund paying that,” Coudriet said.

He said he asked assistant county manager Tim Burgess to notify interim Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tony Wilson of the change.

County engineer Jim Iannucci said the bid for the routine maintenance work on the inlet by Norfolk Dredging Company came in at $2.2 million.

The contract will be brought before the commissioners at the Dec. 17 meeting.

“This maintenance will be done this coming winter,” Iannucci said.

The work has to start by January and be completed by March.

Shore protection coordinator Layton Bedsole also gave an update on the Carolina and Kure beach nourishment project.

“The [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers} found the supplemental money last year,” Bedsole said. “We did not have to spend our dollars.  This year the Corps does not have that supplemental funding and the Division of Water Resources is asking these local stakeholders, ‘Are you willing to participate?’”

He said he has touched base with all of the beach towns and that they have all set aside their dollars from last year to fund the dredging.

There will be two dredging events, one in January and one in May, Bedsole said.

“To do the inlet, two events is $450,000,” he said.

North Carolina is funding half of the project and the rest will be paid for with local money. The Town of Wrightsville Beach portion is $5,000.

“It’s an ongoing crisis,” Catlin said. “… We will spend it this year. We may have a partnership with the state one more time.”

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