Southern Shores

NC - Southern Shores Considers Beach Project

As Southern Shores continues to grapple with whether to move forward with a town-wide beach nourishment effort in 2022, the town council has agreed to begin investigating how it might fund such a project, which could carry a price tag of between $14 to $16 million.

Reprinted from Outer Banks Voice

While Southern Shores piggybacked on the north end of Kitty Hawk’s nourishment project in 2017 in order to pump sand onto about 1,500 feet of eroded beach to the east of Pelican Watch, such a town-wide project would be a first for the municipality.

During a work session Tuesday, the council directed town staff to coordinate with the Charlotte-based financial consultants DEC Associates to begin exploring options for creating municipal service districts, or MSDs, that would ultimately help the municipality foot the bill for widening town beaches.

Properties in the MSDs, likely those on and near the oceanfront, would be assessed a separate levy to help pay for the cost of the project. Town funds would not have to be raised until the 2021-22 fiscal year.

“If we are contemplating (beach nourishment) options or no options, that funding source is as important as anything else … what we are going to ask people in the audience here to potentially pay,” said Councilman Matthew Neal during the work session on beach nourishment options. “I am a newly elected individual and raising taxes is not my key thing.”

Newly elected Councilwoman Elizabeth Morey echoed Neal’s comment. “In order for us to make an informed decision, we need to have the people who pay the property taxes know what amount of payment they are looking at.”

The town, if it moves forward with sand-pumping efforts, is banking on Dare County to kick in at least $7.6 million from its Beach Nourishment Fund. That would leave Southern Shores needing to come up with $1,073,928 annually over the five years of the special obligation bonds. That translates to 7.82 cents of the property tax equivalent, DEC’s Andrew Carter told the council.

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