Sat07262014

Last update08:08:30 PM

Font Size

Profile

Menu Style

Cpanel
 
Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials View of a Councilman: Actions Taken By Council Members in 2012 Deliver Value to Carolina Beach Residents

View of a Councilman: Actions Taken By Council Members in 2012 Deliver Value to Carolina Beach Residents

By ROBERT LEWIS
Carolina Beach Town Councilman

1. Council members took personal initiative to renegotiate interest rates on BB&T loan covering $4.3 Million in property for the former proposed NC Pier Project resulting in savings of over $150,000 annually.
2. Council members thinking outside-the-box and negotiated a new contract for the management of hotels on the $4.3 Million property so the town receives nearly $300,000 in annual operating revenue from the hotels on the property to offset the annual costs of the debt, insurance and taxes on the property instead of getting $57,000 annually as previously negotiated.
3. Council members decide to cancel existing contract for legal services and go out to bid a second time and award a new contract for legal services with projected savings of over $100,000 annually.
4. The new Parking and Freeman Park Management Contract negotiated after a bid process required by council in late 2011 is resulting in a savings for the town this year of over $60,000.
5. Council members voted to reduce some budget items and increase a couple revenue projections to approve a tax rate for this budget year lower than revenue neutral recommendations saving property owners a few dollars on property taxes this year.
6. Council worked with representatives of NCDOT to ensure the implementation of traffic pattern changes and the return to 4-lanes on Lake Park Blvd would be completed and not affect our summer tourist season traffic in 2012. I hope everyone agrees it was a good idea to go back to 4-lanes as we eliminated the traffic congestion.
7.    Council continues to push the completion of paving project in the former Wilmington Beach area of our town.
8.    Council members voted in favor of a smoke free beach environment and await action by the state of North Carolina to help provide our local community this authority
9. Council members refused to hear conditional use permit that would infringe on the single family neighborhood on Spartanburg for commercial town usage as we preserve the integrity of our single family home zoning.
10. Council members continue to develop a presence and relationship with Federal, State and County officials in a continued effort to gain support for assistance with funding of beach nourishment and inlet dredging.
11. Council members approve Carolina Beach $30,000 contribution as part of Inlet Dredging agreement with New Hanover County, City of Wilmington, Town of Wrightsville Beach and Town of Kure Beach.
12. Council approves the renovation of the Tennis Courts at Mike Chappell Park and reviews the completed basketball court project all paid for with New Hanover County Park Bond Issue money.
13. Council sets up special beach nourishment account and is dedicating $40 of every Freeman Park Annual Pass to begin building that fund for future beach nourishment projects.
14. Council members voted to move forward with large roller recycling bins to reduce the trash dumped in our area
landfills and as a measure to reduce the significant litter caused on windy days with the old style plastic box shaped bin.  If we increase our recycling we can reduce our cost for trash next year while saving our environment for future generations to enjoy.
15. Council members gained agreement from Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU) property management to extend until June 2013 the use of buffer zone land for our waste recovery area and fleet maintenance operation.  We also gained agreement for the permanent approval to store various items within an existing building and fenced lot on items which are rarely used by the town except in emergencies or on a one time annual basis.
16. Council members vote to move the operations employees into town hall with little cost to our taxpayers. This allows for these employees to take advantage of the town hall facilities as well as those of the recreation center. 
17. Council members vote to establish a temporary operations area in the Federal Point Shopping center so that all potential options can be reviewed before moving forward with any additional land purchases and expensive construction of offices and Fleet Maintenance facilities.
18. Council members vote to replace all current residential and commercial water meters with new electronic versions to eliminate false readings and to more accurately process billing for water usage.  The savings generated in this project will pay for the new equipment and implementation. 
There were so many other actions taken by council this year that could be included in my review but the list was too long, needless to say your current council is focused on being fiscally responsible and ensuring that our residents get value out of every tax dollar spent.  As a whole I think our council members are a group of fiscal conservative individuals not by political party affiliation but by nature and we work hard to take into consideration the needs of all our residents and businesses.  We are also concerned about striking a balance between our residents and our business community as it relates to investments and associated costs for services and infrastructure improvements to support our growing beach town. 
As a council we have certainly been faced with some real challenges none of which were created by the current council but we have the responsibility to develop and implement the right solutions to address these challenges.
I can proudly say the three current members on council have taken up the challenges without taking the easy way out and spending a ton of your hard earned tax dollars needlessly.  It has required us as a group to invest a significant amount of our personal time to do so but I think we all believe it is imperative that we review all possible options to solving a challenge before moving forward with a decision.  It also means we have to be more strategic in our approach, but in the long run I think the solutions we are providing our community will save our taxpayers with not only immediate savings but millions of dollars in future long term debt. 
A big Thank You should go out to our Town Employees…As a whole, over what I would call a short period of transition, our town management staff has taken on new leadership roles and added responsibility without missing a beat.   Based on my observation the performance levels of all employees is at an all time high and do to the dedication and efforts of the town employees all of the daily operation functions are being completed on time and the service levels provided our residents are better than ever.  
Just my observations of 2012.