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Carolina Beach Council Approves Funding For Inlet Dredging

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council approved $13,758.85 to facilitate dredging of the Carolina Beach Inlet this summer during their March 11th, meeting.
Town Manager Michael Cramer explained, "The Corps of Engineers had planned on doing maintenance dredging all the way through the end of this fiscal year. However, what they were doing was using up previously unutilized funds and they went through their course of action and did certain maintenance dredging throughout many of the NC inlets and they have basically run out of funds."
He explained, "That means Carolina Beach Inlet won't have the maintenance dredging finalized for the end of this fiscal year... They have enough funds to cover half of the cost which is $103,000 and some change. The County has suggested we follow the same protocol we have in place for other dredging activities for dispersing or splitting up the funds. The current schedule would be New Hanover County - out of the sand funds - would pay 75.7% of the additional $103,000. City of Wilmington would pay 6.6%. Wrightsville Beach 2.2%. Kure Beach 2.2% and Carolina Beach 13.3%. What that equates to for the Town of Carolina Beach is a share equivalent to $13,758.85. That gets us through this current cycle which goes all the way through June for one last pass for maintenance dredging."
He explained, "Next fiscal year, the Ports, Waterway and Beach Commission has requested that all beach communities put a place holder in their budget for the maintenance dredging activities for next fiscal year. That maintenance dredging activity we will have in our budget preparations and I'll bring that to you when we talk about expenditures in March."
Councilman Gary Doetsch said the intent was to push it back to later in the year since not many people were using the inlet and perhaps help maintain it longer throughout the busier part of the year.
Cramer explained, "The intent was to try and schedule it so it would be a more attractive position to carry us longer and what we feared would take place did, they ran out of funds. Thus that's why they've come back and said ok if you want the $103,000 we have, the communities need to pony up and put in their share. The communities that were there at the Ports and Waterways Authority all voted unanimously to request these from their councils."
Council member Sarah Friede said, "Is there any chance of reallocating those proportions because we have more than twice as much as Wilmington" and, "This puts it back on
us and feels like the other municipalities saying this is your inlet, this is your problem to take care of."
Doetsch said a study is being conducted that will take a full year to gather data and show the economic impact of the inlet and benefits to all municipalities within New Hanover County to better understand a cost sharing plan for funding dredging of the inlet.
Without regular dredging the shallow draft inlet would become unsafe for navigation and impact the local commercial and recreation boat and fishing economy in the County.