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Posted on: June 13, 2022

Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Budget Adopted

Town of Nags Head Public Services Complex Site Plan

At their June 1, 2022 meeting, Nags Head’s Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a $41,834,417 balanced budget for the July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023 fiscal year, with no property tax or water rate increases. 

“As part of our strategic plan, our Board has had a greater focus on maintenance of our assets and infrastructure,” said Town Manager Andy Garman. “We are completing projects each year to implement master plans we have developed for our streets, drainage infrastructure, drinking water systems, beaches and beach accesses, as well as buildings and grounds. We’re also working on a large project to redevelop our aging Public Services Complex, which is the Town’s base of operations for Facilities Maintenance, Water Operations and Distribution, Sanitation, Fleet Maintenance, and our public bulk trash drop off site. This project is estimated to be $15.3 million and will require us to take a strategic approach towards capital planning in future years to pay for this as well as other infrastructure needs. We hope to break ground after January 1, 2023 and expect it to be completed over the course of 18 months.” 

Garman further explained, “To do these things, we’ve created a capital investment fund that considers annual capital needs well into the future, allowing us to set aside adequate funding to meet our projected expenses. We have moved a portion of our unassigned fund balance into the capital investment fund, creating a cash reserve that will allow us to cover those years with higher expenses so we can pay cash for capital items, such as equipment, rolling stock, and most infrastructure projects. Only larger projects may still require financing, but with cash on hand to pay for most of our other capital expenditures, we’ll save taxpayer money on interest. In addition, we’ll be seeking a bond rating so we can extend financing terms on large projects like the new Public Services complex. The rating will also open the Town to more competitive interest rate markets.”

“Like many communities, Nags Head has faced challenges with employee retention,” said Garman. “With the rising cost of housing in Dare County and surrounding communities, we are finding fewer applicants for our positions. Our Board has prioritized making sure we are an employer of choice in the region and the budget reflects this by strengthening our pay plan’s competitiveness as well as our benefits.”

This year the Town completed a comprehensive review of its Septic Health Initiative by updating its 2005 Decentralized Wastewater Management Plan. The update recommended several changes to the popular Todd D. Krafft Septic Health Initiative, which incentivizes homeowners to maintain their septic systems to protect water quality in Nags Head. In this budget, the Town increased the water account credit that property owners can receive for having their septic system pumped from $45 to $150. Low interest loans are also offered to property owners who need system repairs. The program can now authorize up to $12,000 per project. 

Other Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budget highlights include:

  • Renovations to the Conch and Hollowell Street public beach accesses.
  • Renovations to the skateboard and dog park.
  • Professional design work for modifications at Whalebone Park. Grant opportunities will be sought for upgrades in fiscal year 2023-2024.
  • Aggressive vehicle and equipment replacements including two dump trucks, four police vehicles, a commercial sanitation refuse truck, and a stormwater backhoe.
  • Establishment of an enhanced cart rollback service for properties with driveways on South Old Oregon Inlet Road and South Virginia Dare Trail. This fee-based service is charged to the property owners receiving the service. 
  • Increased lifeguard coverage due to a larger post-summer beach population. 
  • Funds of $488,182 are budgeted towards design, drainage, and resurfacing projects in the following areas:
  • East and West Soundside Road
  • East Barnes Street between South Croatan Highway and the Barnes Street public beach access
  • East Bladen Street between South Wrightsville Avenue and the Bladen Street public beach access
  • South Memorial Avenue between the East Bladen Street intersection and the southern terminus of the street.
  • East Barnes Street drainage pipe replacement
  • A 7% cost of living adjustment for all full-time Town employees and an increase in the Town’s 401K contribution for all non-sworn law enforcement officers from 3% to 4%. 
  • Conversion of the part time events planner position to full time to enable more events, including at Dowdy Park. A new stormwater technician position is also included.
  • In Fiscal Year 2022, the Town received grant funds to replace the bathhouse at the Epstein public beach access; construction will begin in the fall of 2022. Also in Fiscal Year 2022, the Town received a grant to update its Emergency Operations Plan, which will take place in Fiscal Year 2023.
  • Update to the Town’s 2018 Water Master Plan 
  • Continued systematic replacement of asbestos cement pipes pursuit of funding opportunities to implement smart water meters throughout the town.

“The budget for this upcoming fiscal year is aggressive in meeting our operating needs as well as preserving and expanding our capacity to maintain and improve our infrastructure,” said Garman. “As stewards of public resources, our role is to concentrate our budgeting efforts on maintaining and improving services, Town-owned property, and infrastructure while attempting to keep rates and fees reasonable. This budget reflects our commitment to preserving and enhancing our community while positioning us to be financially sound in the future.”

The Fiscal Year 2022-2023 recommended budget was presented to Nags Head’s Board of Commissioners on May 5 and a public hearing was held on June 1. Following the public hearing, the Board unanimously approved the budget. 

The adopted budget will soon be available on the Town’s web site at nagsheadnc.gov/budget.

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