EMERALD ISLE — A beach re-nourishment project on the town’s eastern strand appears likely this winter, the Carteret County News-Times reported.
The project could be paid for with money from the $5 million appropriated in the state budget for the new Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund. The fund was created by the legislature in 2017 to help local governments pay for major beach re-nourishment projects.
The fund works like the one that receives money from boat fuel taxes and boat title registrations and helps pay for dredging projects, but the re-nourishment fund lacks a dedicated source of revenue. But this year, $5 million was transferred from the Industrial Development Fund Utility Account to the mitigation fund.
Greg “Rudi” Rudolph, head of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office, told the News-Times he hopes the legislature “will continue working on a dedicated source of revenue.”
If that doesn’t happen right away, he said, “maybe we’ll get another $5 million in there next year.”
Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, told the paper Friday the one-time appropriation was to get the program started and that other sources would be considered.
McElraft said beaches are important to the coastal economy and work was on to secure a dedicated revenue source for the re-nourishment fund.
“What I want to do is find some parks money for this fund, if possible. Our beaches on the coast are our parks,” she said.
Rush said he expects the money would be released for the eastern Emerald Isle beach re-nourishment project and companion projects in Indian Beach or Pine Knoll Shores set for this winter.
While not specifically earmarked for the project, officials agreed that the budget language appears to target the Bogue Banks beach project as the only one that meets stated criteria that includes a required interlocal management plan.
The entire Bogue Banks project would cost about $28 million and calls for the placement of more than 1.5 million cubic yards of sand.
Estimated cost for the eastern Emerald Isle project is about $9.2 million, with plans calling for a 50-50 share of the expense split between state and local funding.
Under that scenario, the county would provide about $3.45 million from its beach re-nourishment fund supported by occupancy tax proceeds, with the town providing the remaining $1.15 million, funded by a special tax on oceanfront property levied to pay for beach projects.
The county’s total outlay for Bogue Banks would be $8.8 million, with the towns covering about $2.8 million, including the $1.15 million from Emerald Isle, $1.02 million from Pine Knoll Shores and $673,000 from Indian Beach-Salter Path.