Dunes in North Topsail Beach were washed over and the sand was transported landward during Hurricane Florence in 2018, covering the road and driveways. Photo: U.S. Geological Survey

Local Taxes Could Fund Storm Repairs, Inlets

RALEIGH – For coastal North Carolina, where many communities are still reeling from the effects of last year’s storms, the top local requests for help from the General Assembly so far fall in two interrelated categories: sand and money.

With the cost estimates for beach repairs, inlet dredging and infrastructure upgrades far outstripping state and federal resources, local governments are looking at ways to raise more money on their own.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said there’s a growing worry about the economic impact of damaged beaches and out-of-commission vacation properties going into this year’s tourist season.

“There are some coastal issues, some beach issues we’ve got to take a look at, especially as it relates to tourism, because some of those beaches got beat up pretty bad,” Brown said Thursday in an interview with Coastal Review Online. He said it’s a concern for all coastal counties because of the tax revenue that could be lost.

Brown said the last hurricane-relief bill, which passed in December, included $18.5 million in state funds for beach and coastal infrastructure repairs, and this year there will be a need for additional money to keep rebuilding efforts going.

“There’s a lot of work being done down there, but there’s a lot of work to be done,” he said.

Read full article . . .