The Oak Island Town Council is expected Tuesday to consider a map designating special tax districts to fund its beach nourishment master plan.
The meeting is at 6 p.m. in town hall.
The town has set up an online tool to calculate an estimate of what each owner’s property would be assessed.
The town noted in the proposed agenda that the council will only be considering the map to establish the service districts, not the rates that would be applied to those districts. Rates are to be considered during a special meeting at 1 p.m. April 22.
The process to levy assessments involves public notices and hearings and there will be additional opportunities for public input as the process moves forward, according to the town.
The master plan is a long-term approach to beach preservation and nourishment. The town said that a goal is to get recognition by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an “engineered beach,” which could potentially provide ongoing funding for storm recovery and help ensure more consistent federal recovery funding.
The assessment option was chosen to provide the estimated $40 million needed to fund future nourishment efforts anticipated within the master plan. The council opted for the service districts in what officials described as an effort to be equitable with rates proportional to the amount of direct benefit received, such as a property’s proximity to the oceanfront, according to the town.
An estimated 250,000 cubic yards of sand is eroded yearly. At a cost of $19 per cubic yard, officials estimate that it will cost an additional $4.75 million for every year the project is delayed.
Since 2009, including the current nourishment project, Oak Island has received about 2.4 million cubic yards of sand at a cost to the town of of $10.5 million. Federal, state and county costs totaled more than $21.9 million.
The 2020-21 nourishment project, paid for by FEMA’s Hurricane Matthew recovery fund, provides a dune designed to withstand the intensity of storm seen once in a 25-year period, from SE 63rd Street to Middleton Avenue. The 2021-22 project uses federal Hurricane Florence recovery funds to provide a similar dune from the town’s eastern limit to SE 63rd Street and from Middleton Avenue to the Point.
The initial project of the master plan is to be built after the two FEMA projects. It will restore any dune damage incurred in the interim and provide a beach berm across the entire oceanfront. The berm is “sacrificial” and meant to protect and maintain the dune. The beach berm will probably need to be replaced every six years. This provides the town with an “engineered beach,” which officials expect to make it fully reimbursable by FEMA for losses from federally declared disasters.
Officials have considered financing alternatives including asking for state and federal help, proposed legislation authorizing a prepared meals tax to be used for beach nourishment and paid parking. The town said it continues to seek additional taxing authority to defray the costs, but immediate legislative action is unlikely.
To view the meeting April 6, visit www.OakIslandNC.com/MEETINGS.