Category: Board of Aldermen

October 9th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Despite earlier obstacles, a storm-stricken New Bern Housing Authority appears headed toward buying acreage off of Carolina Avenue to build apartments that would replace flood-prone tenements at Trent Court.

City Manager Mark Stephens and his staff are preparing paperwork to sell 8 acres between the Pembroke community and Trent Road, and U.S. 70 and Carolina Avenue. A decision is expected at the next Board of Aldermen meeting later this month.

Kathy Adolph

During the public comments portion of the meeting, New Bern resident Kathy Adolph, a retired teacher and school principal, urged the city to give the Housing Authority the parcel, saying that Trent Court is substandard and prone to frequent flooding.

The Housing Authority, which is independent of the city, wants to build an 80-unit apartment complex off Carolina Avenue that would house some Trent Court residents. That would empty out 80 units in Trent Court that would be razed and replaced.

The Housing Authority had offered $200,000 for the 8-acre parcel. Aldermen voted 6-1 in July to have the parcel appraised.

The Carolina Avenue property sought for purchase by the New Bern Housing Authority is shown boxed in yellow. The Pembroke Community is above and to the right of the lake shown in this aerial view.

The motion was made by Ward 6 Alderman Jeffrey Odham and seconded by Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Aster. What’s interesting was that it was a break from tradition. Motions are usually made by the alderman in whose ward a project is located.

But Ward 2 Alderwoman Jameesha Harris, whose ward includes the Pembroke community, has opposed the plan.

A lot has happened while the appraisal wound its way through city bureaucracy, namely Hurricane Florence.

Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Blaney gave a bleak report about Trent Court during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

Blaney said Trent Court lost 108 out of 218 apartments due to the storm. He said five or six of the most severely damaged buildings should not be reopened. The storm also destroyed the New Bern Housing Authority administration building on South Front Street.

Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Chairman Joseph Anderson, left, and Executive Director Martin Blaney update the New Bern Board of Aldermen about Trent Court flooding. Photo by Randy Foster / New Bern Post

New Bern Towers, located near Trent Court and also owned by the Housing Authority, weathered the hurricane fairly well and will not be replaced.

In order to qualify for competitive funding to help pay for the apartment complex, the Housing Authority has to beat a January deadline to have a fully fleshed-out plan in place.

The ultimate plan is to remove most or all of the old Trent Court tenements and replace them with a combination of green space and mixed-income housing that is less susceptible to flood damage. That housing would be managed by a third party, much like Craven Terrace has been operating for a couple of years.

Most residents of the flood-damaged Trent Court apartment buildings have found temporary housing or have moved to Housing Authority facilities in nearby counties, Blaney said. A couple of Trent Court families are staying at the emergency shelter at West New Bern Recreation Center, while a handful have moved back into Trent Court, despite warnings that doing so puts their health at risk.

Meanwhile, in an effort to address housing shortages in flood-stricken communities like New Bern, FEMA has announced plans to roll out temporary housing for those most in need.

 

 

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, FEMA, Housing, Mayor, New Bern Housing Authority

October 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Tune in to Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, when officials with the New Bern Housing Authority will give an update about the status of Trent Court.

Trent Court was hit hard by Hurricane Florence. Alderwoman Jameesha Harris and several other volunteers braved rising floodwaters to evacuate residents who had sheltered in their homes during the storm.

Several feet of water flooded the rows of apartments closest to Lawson Creek, and recovery has been a question, especially considering what has been said in the past about Trent Court’s future.

The Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) plan calls for Trent Court to be razed and replaced with mixed-income housing and green space.

The New Bern Housing Authority has been shopping for acreage to build a new apartment building that would be used to house displaced Trent Court residents during the transition, and Housing Authority officials said the displaced residents would have the opportunity to move back once newly constructed units become available in the future development formerly known as Trent Court.

However, the Housing Authority has been having difficulty finding suitable land for an offsite apartment complex. One location off Carolina Avenue (which is between Trent Road and the Pembroke community) is attractive — located close to shopping and services and is owned by the city — but Alderwoman Harris has raised objections from Pembroke residents who don’t want Trent Court residents to move into their back yard.

Meanwhile, many Trent Court residents don’t want to leave Trent Court.

Next up, however, is Hurricane Florence. Housing Authority officials have said for several years that no more money would be spent to renovate flood-damaged buildings at Trent Court. If that’s the same story now, the race is on to find affected Trent Court residents places to live so that the storm-damaged apartments can be torn down.

Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Blaney did not answer a request to be interviewed by the Post. Granted, he has had a lot on his plate.

Steve Strickland, a member of the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, said, “The exact outcome is still to be determined. We’re working every possible option right now, alongside our efforts to get the current places as habitable as possible as soon as possible for those with no other short-term options.”

When asked if the storm was an opportunity to kickstart the CNI plan by housing South Front Street / Walt Bellamy Drive residents elsewhere so that the buildings most damaged can be razed and replaced, Strickland replied, “Possibly.”

 

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, FEMA, Housing, Hurricane, Mayor, New Bern Housing Authority

October 5th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The original plan for Craven Thirty included a large, robust area for commercial and light industrial development.

Remember back in  2012, all the buzz about Craven Thirty? All that sweet, sweet new retail space, a multiplex theater, and new neighborhoods? You probably also remember how last year Craven Thirty morphed into West Craven, with less focus on business and more focus on residential.

Now, more than a year later, West Craven has emerged into the public eye again. Its developer, Weyerhaeuser NR Company, is asking for the city to enter into a development agreement. It is on the Board of Aldermen’s agenda for next Tuesday, when the board is expected to set a date for a public hearing.

And this latest version of West Craven looks a lot like the original Craven Thirty, but with even more commercial space.

Zoning codes are: C-3 commercial, R-6 residential, I-2 light industrial, A-5F agriculture district.

The city entered into a development agreement with Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Development Company in September 2010 for what was to become Craven Thirty. The city annexed the 550-acres Craven Thirty property in December 2012.

A ribbon cutting was conducted by then-Gov. Bev Perdue, and construction was announced to begin in spring 2013. Some streets were put in, along with other infrastructure, but nothing else was built during he intervening six years. Blame the economy.

The revised and renamed project would include just under 250 acres for residential development, just under 250 acres of commercial development, just over 47 acres for light industrial, and just over 27 acres of agriculture forestry district with low-density residential uses.

The plan calls for a total of 1,500 residential units phased in over 15 years, 500,000 square feet of non-residential space, a 150-room hotel sometime during the first five years, and 10 acres for a private school, also during the first five years.

The agreement establishes the development phasing sequences for the project, establishes a Master Development Plan and development review process that can accommodate the timing, phasing and flexibility of the project, coordinates the construction and design of infrastructure that will serve the project and the community at large, confirms the dedication and/or provision of public amenities by the developer, and provides assurances to the developer that it may proceed with the project in accordance with the approved original zoning and the terms of this agreement without encountering future changes in ordinances, regulations, technical standards or policies that would affect its ability to develop the relevant parcels under the approved zoning and the terms hereof.

The project will include small neighborhoods, a walkable village area, and connections to open space that will “support and reinforce the City of New Bern as an attractive place to live, work and recreate.” The size and scale of the project requires a long-term commitment of both public and private resources and requires careful integration between the programming of public capital facilities, the phasing of development and the development review and approval process.

The West Craven site is well suited for access from all parts of New Bern, or it will be. It is located at the intersection of U.S. 70 and the N.C. 43 connector. There are plans to extend the N.C. 43 connector from where it now ends just west of U.S. 70, all the way through to U.S. 17.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Business, Community, Mayor, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Planning and Zoning

September 27th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Cleanup, rebuilding, and housing are now the city’s focus in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, officials said during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

It was the first routine meeting of the board since before Hurricane Florence.

Jordan Hughes, city engineer, was filling in for City Manager Mark Stephens during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

Stephens and Alderman Jeffrey Odham were out of town on business, including a meeting with U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-Winterville.

Alderman Johnnie Ray Kinsey was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

Hughes described the city’s initial response to Hurricane Florence as outstanding.

The city started preparing for a disaster such as Florence back in the spring, when it began contracting with different companies and agencies to provide the myriad services necessary in a disaster.

Once Florence reached New Bern, it was essentially all hands on deck with city staff, Hughes said.

“We found a lot of creative roles for people to fill way outside their normal duties,” he said.

Firefighters responded to emergencies that included one full-on structure fire in Olde Towne, where a two-story house was destroyed due to a portable generator malfunction.

During the storm, there were 800 swift water rescues, city officials reported.

“Going through Irene in 2011 and getting through that with the city, … we’ve made monumental improvements in our emergency planning, how we bulk up our resources before the storm, everybody understanding what their role is during the storm, and you really can see that come together,” Hughes said. “I think we put it through a pretty good test over the last couple of weeks, and I’ll tell you it’s a darn good plan at this point.”

Now the city’s full focus is on recovery and rebuilding of the community, he said.

Every department and offices are fully open except those facilities temporarily closed.

Closed facilities include Parks and Rec admin center, which was flooded and moved to, ironically, the Aquatics Center. West New Bern Recreation Center gym and game room being used as an evacuation shelter. City boat launches, Stanley White Rec Center, Union Point Park, Lawson Creek Park, Glenburnie Park, Dog Park and Bear Plaza are all closed.

A few customers are still without power due to damage to specific services. They can call 252-636-4070 for help and information, Hughes said.

Other items related to Hurricane Florence

Storm debris

Trash pickup resuming normal schedule. Debris collection is underway.

The recycling plant in Jacksonville is out of power. Recycling service in New Bern is suspended as a result. The county’s Convenience Centers are open, for anyone who has recycling they need to dispose of. Absent that, anything that goes to the curb will be picked up, Matt Montanye, public works director, said.

“We spent most of last week preparing the removal sites to receive debris,” he said. The city started removing debris on Friday. As of Tuesday morning, city workers had moved 126 loads, or 3,700 cubic yards, of vegetative debris, 101 tons of construction debris, and were working on fallen and falling trees.

Removing construction debris will be the biggest problem, he said. Ten city trucks are picking up debris. Supplementing that  are truck crews from Wilson, Garner, Rocky Mount, and Greenville. They are all working on commercial debris, from Batts Hill to North Glenburnie Road.

Meanwhile, 31 teams picking up vegetative debris spread throughout the city.

“The city has 188 miles of streets. Please be patient. We will get to you,” he said.

In all, close to 100 people are picking up debris.

The city asks citizens to separate construction debris and furniture in one pile, and appliances and vegetative debris in their own separate piles.

Citizens need to put their debris piles near the street, but not on the street.

“If it is out there, we are going to pick it up,” he said.

Curfew

Curfew was working really well, said Mayor Dana Outlaw, who ordered the curfew. One evening while trying to make his way downtown on city business, he was denied entrance to the downtown area because of the curfew.

Schools

There have been no announcements regarding whether public schools will resume on Monday. Workers were moving evacuation centers from several elementary schools to other locations so that school can resume. School has been out since noon Tuesday, Sept. 11. Expect something to be announced on Friday about whether school will resume on Monday. Onslow County Schools will not be open next week.

Programs are suspended

Parks and Recreation Director Foster Hughes said there was 2-feet of water in Stanley White Recreation Center. The gymnasium floor is ruined, and it will take several months before the facility can be back in shape.

Elsewhere, all city boat launches are destroyed.

“It’s going to take some time for us to get those things together,” he said.

Meanwhile, West New Bern Recreation Center is closed for recreation purposes. It is being used as a consolidated evacuation center, taking in evacuees who had been staying at Brinson Elementary School and Ben D. Quinn Elementary School.

Paying for it all

Getting reimbursed from the federal government can be a tedious, time-consuming process. Said Alderman Bobby Aster, the city has not finished with reimbursements from FEMA for Hurricanes Irene and Matthew.

The city may hire a consultant to shepherd the city’s way through the complexities of reimbursement. The good news is, the consultant fees are reimbursable.

Aster, who was New Bern’s fire chief before he retired, said damage from Hurricane Florence is quadruple that of Irene, which struck New Bern in August 2011.

Alderman Sabrina Bengel pointed out that the reason the city maintains a healthy fund balance is for situations just like Hurricane Florence. The city may get reimbursed for most of its storm-related expenses, but meanwhile, it has to pay those costs up-front.

The King’s English

Alderman Bobby Aster, who has a great deal of experience dealing with disasters, is well-versed in FEMA jargon. During Tuesday’s meeting, he asked Jerry Haney, Area 3 division supervisor for FEMA Region 4, about numerous things using a variety of acronyms. “When will the PA on site, for the PA people,” Aster asked, for example.

After a few more exchanges like that, Alderwoman Jameesha Harris asked if they could use more common terms.

“You guys are like best friends having a conversation and we’re just sitting here …” she said.

How long is this going to take?

FEMA’s Jerry Haney said he hopes to be home by Thanksgiving.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County, Hurricane, Mayor, New Bern

September 24th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

CITY OF NEW BERN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING SEPTEMBER 25, 2018-6:00 P.M.

CITY HALL COURTROOM 300 POLLOCK STREET 

Full agenda with background information here

  1. Meeting opened by Mayor Dana E. Outlaw. Prayer Coordinated by Alderwoman Harris. Pledge of
  2. Roll

Consent Agenda

  1. Consider Adopting a Proclamation Acknowledging Constitution Week.

    On behalf of the Richard Dobbs Spaight Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Nancy Melling has requested a proclamation recognizing September 17- 23, 2018 as Constitution Week.

  2. Approve

********************

  1. Presentation on Preliminary Plans for Use of Grant Funds Received for Martin Marietta Park.

    (Ward 5) As announced at the last meeting, the City has been award the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant in the amount of $ 475,000 for use at Martin Marietta Park. Foster Hughes, Director of Parks and Recreation, will make a presentation to describe how the funds will be used for the installation of infrastructure and specific amenities.

  2. Discussion of Part-Time Animal Control Officer.

    A status update was provided to the Board at its August 28th meeting with respect to the hiring of a part-time Animal Control Officer. Chief Summers will provide a further update as to the status.

  3. Consider Adopting a Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a NC Department of Transportation Grant Agreement on behalf of the New Bern Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    On behalf of the New Bern Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City has been identified as the direct recipient of Section 5303 Federal Transit Administration Urban Planning Funds. These funds are managed by NCDOT’s Public Transportation Division. In order to receive the funds, the Board of Aldermen must adopt a resolution authorizing the City Manager to sign a grant agreement with NCDOT. The total allocation for FY2018- 19 is $ 25,000, which reflects Federal and State share of $22, 500 and a local share of $2, 500. The local share will be provided by the jurisdictions participating in the New Bern Area MPO as follows: New Bern $ 1, 387.00; River Bend $ 148.50; Trent Woods $ 203.50; Bridgeton $ 21. 00; and Craven County $ 740.00. Pursuant to a MOU, the local shares are based on percentages of the 2010 Urbanized Area population data and will not change until after the next decennial census. A memo from Kim Maxey, MPO Administrator, is attached.

  4. Consider Adopting a Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Sign a Grant Contract with NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

    (Ward 3) The City previously applied for the 2017 Recreational Trails Program Grant through the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and was notified on November 30, 2016, that it had been approved in the amount of$ 56,000. Staff recently received the grant contract, which requires a cash match of$ 14,000. This makes the total contract amount $70,000. The grant funds will be used

  5. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a Revised Schedule of Maximum Speed Limits as Defined in Section 70-132 through 70-135 of the New Bern Code of Ordinances.

    (Ward 5) After months of negotiations with the NC Department of Transportation DOT”), DOT has has agreed to reduce the speed limit along NC Hwy. 55 in the Pleasant Hill community from 55 mph to 45 mph from a point being 0.60 miles east of SR1005 (Old NC Hwy. 70) to the intersection of NC Hwy. 43. It is proposed that the Schedule of Maximum Speed Limits be revised to incorporate this change. A memo from Matt Montanye, Director of Public Works, is attached along with a map that depicts the changes.

  6. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving the Installation of Additional Street Lights Near Duffy Street

    (Ward 5) Residents have requested additional street lighting in the area of Duffy Street. Upon evaluating this request, it was determined the area does not meet the City’s lighting standards. The Electric Department has estimated costs associated with the installation of additional lighting to be $ 1, 464.08. A monthly cost of 8.44 will be incurred by Public Works for the utility bills. Please refer to the attached memo from Charles Bauschard, Director of Public Utilities, for any additional information.

  7. Consider Adopting a Budget Ordinance Amendment Acknowledging the 2018 Entitlement Cities

    In 2013, the Board adopted a resolution authorizing staff to pursue CDBG Entitlement City status with the US Department of HUD, which would allow the City to receive funds through an annual allocation instead of competing with other small cities and counties for funding. The City received designation as an Entitlement City in 2014 and receives ongoing annual funding through the program. The most recent funding allocated to the City is in the amount of $ 223,934. This budget ordinance amendment will recognize these funds. A memo from J. R. Sabatelli, Director of Finance, is attached.

  8. Appointment( s).

    Kristen Culler, the former Assistant City Manager, resigned from her appointment to Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow. The Board is asked to make a new appointment to replace Mrs. Culler. Culler left the city to take a position at FRC East.

  9. Attorney’s
  10. City Manager’s
  11. New
  12. Closed Session

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES REQUIRING SPECIAL ASSISTANCE SHOULD CALL 639-7501 NO LATER THAN 3 P.M. THE DATE OF THE MEETING

Posted in Board of Aldermen

September 13th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

From the city of New Bern’s storm blog:

Thursday, September 13, 7:40am

Fire-Rescue will begin riding through low-lying neighborhoods using aerial announcements to encourage remaining residents to evacuate in advance of rising water.  New Bern Police will go door-to-door in Duffyfield & other low-lying areas encouraging same.  The first rain bands from hurricane Florence will begin this morning.  Power crews from Missouri and Texas arrived Wednesday and are staged with city power crews to respond to outages.

Shelters are open as a last resort.  They are located at:

  • Ben Quinn Elementary School, 4275 MLK Boulevard.  Ben Quinn is pet-friendly, but only for dogs and cats (no exotic pets).
  • Brinson Elementary School, 319 Neuse Forest Avenue, New Bern
  • Havelock High School, 101 Webb Boulevard, Havelock
  • Farm Life Elementary School, 2000 Farm Life Avenue, Vanceboro

*Please bring your own survival supplies such as pillows, blankets, medications, clothing and food.  These shelters are available on a first come, first serve basis until they get full.

A curfew remains in effect for the city of New Bern.  Residents and motorists should remain sequestered in their hurricane survival location from 9pm to 7am everyday until further notice.

Inside the EOC, management staff are reviewing flood base maps.  New Bern could see 9-13 feet storm surge with hurricane Florence despite the southern turn in forecast track.   Watch our morning hurricane briefing here.

If you are a city customer and you lose power, report it by using our website portal at www.NewBernNC.gov.  From the homepage, click on “How Do I,” then “Report a Problem,” then “Report a Problem” (again), which will direct customers to a page where they can report power outages, water/sewer emergencies, and non-emergency issues.  Or, call us at (252)636-4070.  You do not need to speak to an operator. Leave a detailed message with your address, type of emergency, and contact info and an operator will call you back to ensure restoration.

Follow the City of New Bern on Twitter @CityofNewBern, Facebook  City of New Bern, NC Government, or on Instagram @cityofnewbern for storm information as well as on our website www.NewBernNC.gov. 

Wednesday, September 12, 1:20 pm
RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED UNDER PROCLAMATION OF STATE OF EMERGENCY

WHEREAS, I, Dana E. Outlaw, Mayor of the City of New Bern, North Carolina, issued a proclamation declaring a State of Emergency at 1:30 p.m. on September 10_, 2018 in anticipation of the imminent threat of Hurricane Florence; and
WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of public safety and protection to set a curfew, regulate alcoholic beverages, regulate the use of firearms and explosives, and restrict access to certain areas.

NOW, THERFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED, by the Mayor of the City of New Bern under the authority of Chapter 22, Article II, Sections 22-28 and 22-29 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of New Bern, as follows:

A) Curfew
1. No person not exempted by this Proclamation shall be or travel upon any public street, alley or roadway or upon public property within the corporate limits of the City of New Bern between the hours 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of any day unless in search of medical assistance, food or other commodity of service necessary to sustain the well-being of himself and his family or some member thereof.
2. The following classes of people are exempt from these curfew restrictions in circumstances indicated:
a) Any police or public safety officer or other government employee engaged in official business;
b) Any member, volunteer, or employee of an organization providing disaster-relief services;
c) Any person in transit from a place where they were temporarily engaged and could not have planned their departure to avoid the curfew;
d) Any medical service provider engaged in delivering medical services; and
e) Members of the news media engaged in duties essential to providing public information.
All of the above must carry property identification.

B) Possession, Transportation, and Transfer of Dangerous Weapons or Substances
1. No person shall possess off one’s own premises, or buy, sell, give away or otherwise transfer or dispose of any explosives, firearms, ammunition or dangerous weapons of any kind,
2. Sell gasoline or any other similar petroleum products or any other inflammable substances except as expressly authorized by the provisions of the curfew imposed.
3. The following classes of people are exempt from these curfew restrictions in circumstances indicated:
a) Police, Fire-Rescue-EMS officers may possess any weapon necessary to carry out their duties when on active duty; and
b) Any person may possess gasoline when the gasoline is in the tank of a car in his possession; or if engaged in the business of selling gasoline.

C) Possession, Consumption, and Transfer of Intoxicating Liquor
1. No person shall sell beer, wine, or other intoxicating beverages of any kind or possess or consume the same off one’s own premises.
2. The restrictions and prohibitions relating to the possession, consumption and transfer of intoxicating liquor established by this proclamation shall be effective during the hours of curfew established by this proclamation.

D) Access to Certain Areas
1. The Chief of Police and his subordinates may restrict or deny access to any area, location, or street where such a restriction is necessary in order to help overcome this emergency or to prevent the emergency from worsening. These restrictions on access shall be indicated by means of barricades, posted notices, or orders to anyone in the area.
2. No person shall obtain access or attempt to obtain access to any area, location, or street to which the Chief of Police and his subordinates have restricted access according to the above directive.  Anyone violating any restriction imposed by this Proclamation or under its authority violates a City Ordinance and is guilty of a Class 2 Misdemeanor in accordance with N.C.G.S. §14-288.20A.

I direct that copies of this Proclamation be disseminated to the mass communications media for publication and broadcast and that a copy of this Proclamation of State of Emergency be posted in City Hall and other public buildings as appropriate.nnBe it further proclaimed that the restrictions set forth above shall apply to the entire city limits of the City of New Bern, North Carolina and shall be effective at 1:00_ p.m. on September 12 , 2018 and shall remain in effect until rescinded in writing.

This the 12th day of September, 2018.

Wednesday, September 12, 12:30 pm

The City’s Emergency Operations Center on Highway 55 has been fully mobilized.  Our first storm briefing began at noon.  City staff spent last night boarding up historic City Hall in preparation for the storm.  Several downtown businesses & residences have also boarded up.  Emergency crews are staged across the City in preparation for the storm.

Mutual aid crews from out-of-state are headed to New Bern. Power companies from Texas and Florida will add to New Bern’s public power teams who will head out to restore power once outages occur.  This will effectively double our workforce to respond to outages.  Public Works and Stormwater crews are cleaning ditches & storm drains & maintaining full power at the City’s stormwater pumps.

Although the forecast track for Florence has shifted some, we encourage residents to continue preparing for this hurricane.  We are expecting extreme rain and flooding, storm surge, and power outages.  Craven County has identified an inland shelter for evacuees at the Sanford Army National Guard Facility at 2214 Nash Street in Sanford, NC.   Pets are not permitted at this shelter.  County buses are transporting residents to the shelter.  Call Craven County for an updated schedule (252)636-6608.

If you are a city customer and you lose power, report it by using our website portal at www.NewBernNC.gov.  From the homepage, click on “How Do I,” then “Report a Problem,” then “Report a Problem” (again), which will direct customers to a page where they can report power outages, water/sewer emergencies, and non-emergency issues.  Or, call us at (252)636-4070.  You do not need to speak to an operator. Leave a detailed message with your address, type of emergency, and contact info and an operator will call you back to ensure restoration.

Follow the City of New Bern on Twitter @CityofNewBern, Facebook  City of New Bern, NC Government, or on Instagram @cityofnewbern for storm information as well as on our website www.NewBernNC.gov. 


Tuesday, September 11, 4:15 pm
City Offices Closing, Trash/Recycling, Evacuations

Craven County has announced a mandatory evacuation effective Tuesday, September 11, 2018.  With that said, City of New Bern offices will close at 5 p.m. today (Tuesday) for non-essential personnel and offices will remain closed until conditions permit opening.  Our Emergency Operations Center will be fully activated at 12 p.m. Wednesday, September 12.

Trash, bulk waste and recycling services have been suspended as of 2 p.m. today until conditions permit resuming service.  When collection resumes, the contractor, Waste Industries, will start with that days’ service. Waste Industries is aware there will be an increase of material curbside and requests patience during this time as it may take additional trips to service New Bern’s routes.

Emergency responders are prepared to provide emergency response as needed.  The City is encouraging all residents to self-evacuate due to hurricane Florence and its potential impact of extreme high winds, life-threatening storm surge, rainfall and flooding.  Residents are asked to heed the direction of law enforcement.

Public shelters will be set up for evacuees outside of the County.  Additional information regarding inland shelter availability will be provided as Craven County receives information from the State of North Carolina.  The City will also pass along that info.  However, it might be more comfortable for those who evacuate to stay at a hotel or a family member or friend’s home outside of the hurricane’s predicted path and area of impact. Residents are urged to make arrangements now since hotels fill up quickly.

Residents are encouraged to prepare for the severe weather by having an adequate supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods and medicines. Additionally, take care of your pets.  Secure items outside your home as they could become projectiles in the storm.  Secure your property by boarding up windows and leaving garage doors in the locked position.

If you are a city customer and you lose power, report it by using our website portal at www.NewBernNC.gov.  From the homepage, click on “How Do I,” then “Report a Problem,” then “Report a Problem” (again), which will direct customers to a page where they can report power outages, water/sewer emergencies, and non-emergency issues.  Or, call us at (252)636-4070.  You do not need to speak to an operator. Leave a detailed message with your address, type of emergency, and contact info and an operator will call you back to ensure restoration.

Follow the City of New Bern on Twitter @CityofNewBern, Facebook  City of New Bern, NC Government, or on Instagram @cityofnewbern for storm information as well as on our website www.NewBernNC.gov.

Tuesday, September 11, 2:24 pm
Mandatory Evacuation for Craven County

Craven County has issued a mandatory evacuation order effective at 2pm Tuesday, September 11th.  This evacuation order INCLUDES residents of the City of New Bern.  This means there will be NO EMERGENCY SHELTERS opening in New Bern/Craven County.  The State of North Carolina will determine where to open emergency shelters for evacuees and communicate that information to Craven County.

Tuesday, September 11, 12:45 pm

Tonight’s Board of Aldermen meeting has been cancelled.  Our Emergency Operations Center on Highway 55 West will mobilize Wednesday afternoon.

Evacuations are encouraged ahead of hurricane Florence.  We are expecting flooding, winds and storm surge like New Bern has not seen before.  If you live in areas such as downtown, Duffyfield, Woodrow, North Hills, Attmore Drive, Hazel Avenue, and other areas that typically flood during tropical events or summer downpours, you should evacuate ahead of the storm.  Emergency shelters open tomorrow, Wednesday, September 12 at 2pm and they are located at:

  • Ben Quinn Elementary School, 4275 MLK Boulevard.  Ben Quinn is pet-friendly, but only for dogs and cats (no exotic pets).
  • Brinson Elementary School, 319 Neuse Forest Avenue, New Bern
  • Havelock High School, 101 Webb Boulevard, Havelock
  • Farm Life Elementary School, 2000 Farm Life Avenue, Vanceboro

*Please bring your own survival supplies such as pillows, blankets, medications, clothing and food.  These shelters are available on a first come, first serve basis until they get full.

*If a mandatory evacuation is issued, residents and visitors should quickly and efficiently vacate New Bern and heed the direction of law enforcement.

Trash, recycling and bulk waste pickup will end today (Tuesday) at 2pm.  Crews will attempt to pick up all of Tuesday’s route before shutting down.  These Waste Industries employees largely commute from Pamlico, Carteret and other nearby counties that are under mandatory evacuation.  They are currently packing up their families and heading inland.  We will keep you informed when teams are available for trash, recycling, and bulk waste pickup.  Schedules are not likely to resume until after the storm passes through.

Mutual aid crews are headed to New Bern, effectively doubling our workforce for responding to power outages.  If you are a city customer and you lose power, report it by using our website portal at www.NewBernNC.gov.  From the homepage, click on “How Do I,” then “Report a Problem,” then “Report a Problem” (again), which will direct customers to a page where they can report power outages, water/sewer emergencies, and non-emergency issues.  Or, call us at (252)636-4070.  You do not need to speak to an operator. Leave a detailed message with your address, type of emergency, and contact info and an operator will call you back to ensure restoration.   We will turn off power to public marinas and docks at noon Wednesday.

Three water rescue teams are staged and ready to respond during the storm.  Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point has also offered a team to help during the hurricane. Additional high clearance vehicles have been requested.   Public Works and Stormwater crews are taking down problem trees and limbs, cleaning ditches, culverts and catch basins ahead of the storm.  Our stormwater pumps at the Jack Smith Creek Stormwater Wetlands on Simmons Street have been running non-stop since Monday in an effort to increase capacity once hurricane floodwaters accumulate.  FEMA is already en route to New Bern to respond to hurricane Florence.

Three Public Works crews and their necessary equipment will be staged alongside our fire-rescue department and emergency responders, ready to clear debris so that emergency crews can get through.  Today, they are staging barricades in areas that typically flood.  Residents and motorists should avoid these areas once floodwaters rise.

More updates to come.

Monday, September 10, 2:50pm
PROCLAMATION OF STATE OF EMERGENCY

WHEREAS, the Board of Aldermen of the City of New Bern, North Carolina, has duly adopted ordinances to determine and proclaim the existence of a State of Emergency and to impose certain prohibitions and restrictions appropriate to meet the emergency; and
WHEREAS, a State of Emergency exists within the City of New Bern, North Carolina, due to Hurricane Florence. Weather conditions associated with said hurricane are such as to constitute an imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life or property.

NOW, THERFORE, pursuant to the authority contained in Chapter 166A of the North Carolina General Statutes and Chapter 22 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of New Bern, I, Dana E. Outlaw, Mayor of the City of New Bern, do hereby proclaim and declare that a State of Emergency exists within the City of New Bern.  I further proclaim that Mark A. Stephens, City Manager, or his designee, is authorized to implement the Emergency Operations Plan, and to take such further action as may be necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the populace of the City of New Bern, North Carolina.

I further proclaim that the City of New Bern purchasing requirements in preparation and response to Hurricane Florence are hereby waived.  I direct that copies of this Proclamation be disseminated to the mass communications media for publication and broadcast and that a copy of this Proclamation of State of Emergency be posted in City Hall and other public buildings as appropriate.

Be it further proclaimed that the restrictions set forth above shall apply to the entire city limits of the City of New Bern, North Carolina and shall be effective at 1:30 p. m. on September 10, 2018 and shall remain in effect until rescinded in writing.  This the 10th day of September, 2018.

Signed by Dana E. Outlaw, Mayor

Monday, September 10, 12:00pm
CITY PREPARES FOR HURRICANE FLORENCE

Although the forecast track for hurricane Florence remains uncertain, the City of New Bern is taking steps now to prepare and is encouraging residents to do the same.  National Hurricane Center meteorologists say the storm could pose a significant threat to our coast by week’s end, but forecast models vary widely as to where the hurricane will make landfall.

“We are using this valuable time to get staff, equipment and storm supplies in place and ready to go,” said City Manager Mark Stephens.  City management staff met this morning to discuss possible scenarios and storm impacts from hurricane Florence as well as current preparations.

The City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Highway 55 is currently set up and will mobilize Wednesday afternoon ahead of the storm.  Management staff are scheduling supplemental and on-call staff for week’s end and throughout the weekend.  Staff are checking supplies at the city warehouse on Kale Road, making sure needs can be met for mitigating power outages, water and sewer emergencies, and debris removal.  The Department of Public Utilities has mutual aid agreements in place should the City require additional help to restore power quickly and efficiently.  Staff will begin topping off fuel in emergency response vehicles and equipment over the next couple of days.

“We are expecting significant and damaging effects from this hurricane,” said Mr. Stephens.  “Even if hurricane Florence makes landfall somewhere else, New Bern could see record or near-record storm surge, flooding, and destructive winds and rain. We anticipate significant loss of property.”  Although no evacuation order is currently in place, residents who typically experience flooding during tropical events or brief summer downpours should consider riding out the storm further inland.  These flood prone areas include, but are not limited to, Duffyfield, Woodrow, North 2nd Avenue, North Hills Drive, Cooper’s Landing, parts of Oaks Road, Hazel Avenue and Attmore Drive.

The City’s stormwater pumps located at Jack Smith Creek and East Rose Street will begin operating soon in an effort to increase floodwater capacity ahead of hurricane Florence.  During storms, these pumps come on automatically as water levels rise.  Stormwater staff are also making rounds cleaning debris from storm drains, catch basins, and ditches.

“We are encouraging residents to prepare now in the event of this storm,” said City of New Bern Fire-Rescue Chief Bobby Boyd. “Make sure disaster kits are stocked and ready, have food and water supplies for each member of the family to last several days, have first aid supplies and medications handy as well as batteries, flashlights and a weather radio.”  Additionally, take time now to secure outdoor items that could become projectiles during the storm.

If you are a city customer and you lose power, report it by using our website portal at www.NewBernNC.gov.  From the homepage, click on “How Do I,” then “Report a Problem,” then “Report a Problem” (again), which will direct customers to a page where they can report power outages, water/sewer emergencies, and non-emergency issues.  Or, call us at (252)636-4070.  You do not need to speak to an operator. Leave a detailed message with your address, type of emergency, and contact info and an operator will call you back to ensure restoration.

Residents are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the City’s emergency alert system, CodeRED.  It’s free and alerts subscribers to emergencies within the community through text messaging, emails, or phone calls.  You can sign up on the city website or download the CodeRED app to your smartphone.

The City will post additional storm updates and information, as necessary, to its social media platforms.  Follow us on Twitter @CityofNewBern. Find us on Facebook at City of New Bern, NC Government, or on Instagram @cityofnewbern.

Posted in Board of Aldermen, Hurricane, New Bern

September 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

UPDATE: Meeting cancelled due to approaching hurricane.

 

Editor’s note: Changes to how City Hall posts its agenda with background information has made it difficult to translate it into a single webpage. Below is the basic agenda, with New Bern Post editor notes in bold. To see the entire packet, go here.

CITY OF NEW BERN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING

SEPTEMBER 11, 2018- 6:00 P.M.

CITY HALL COURTROOM 300 POLLOCK STREET

  1. Meeting opened by Mayor Dana E. Outlaw. Prayer Coordinated by Alderwoman Harris. Presenting and Retirement of Colors by New Bern Fire and Police Departments. Pledge of Allegiance.
  1. Roll Call.
  1. Request and Petition of Citizens.

Consent Agenda

  1. Consider Adopting a Proclamation Acknowledging Constitution Week.
  1. Approve Minutes.

********************

  • Presentation by Friends of Kafer Park.

Note: Kafer Park has been used for professional and semi-professional sports in the past but has gone disused since a Negro League team disbanded in 1965. A group proposes the baseball field be brought back to life, including a stadium. Check out the PowerPoint presentation for these plans. – Ed

  • Presentation on Preliminary Plans for Use of Grant Funds Received for Martin Marietta Park.

Note: Check out the PowerPoint presentation for plans for this huge undertaking. – Ed

  • Presentation on National Night Out.
  • Discussion of Part-Time Animal Control Officer.

Note: Last we heard, the city was having trouble filling this position. There was talk about making it full-time to make it easier to fill. – Ed

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a NC Department of Transportation Grant Agreement on behalf of the New Bern Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Sign a Grant Contract with NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Note: City has received a grant to extend the Riverwalk from near New Bern Towers through to First Street. – Ed

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving the Installation of Additional Street Lights Near Duffy Street.
  • Consider Adopting a Budget Ordinance Amendment Acknowledging the 2018 Entitlement Cities Grant.
  • Appointment(s).
  • Attorney’s Report.
  • City Manager’s Report.
  • New Business.
  • Closed Session.
  • Adjourn.

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES REQUIRING SPECIAL ASSISTANCE SHOULD CALL 639-7501 NO LATER THAN 3 P.M. THE DATE OF THE MEETING

Posted in Board of Aldermen, New Bern, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Zoning, Public works

August 30th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The city will fund six school resource officers, some costs of which will be covered by a state grant, although aldermen and the mayor grumbled that the county ought to be putting up some of the money to fund the positions.

The resource officers are posted at New Bern High School, H.J. McDonald Middle School, and Grover C. Fields Middle School. New this year will be resource officers posted at Oaks Road Elementary School and J.T. Barbour Elementary School.

No one argues against posting school resource officers at the schools. The sticking point is that three of the schools — New Bern High and the two middle schools — have students who don’t live inside city limits. Some aldermen think the county should chip in to cover its share of the enrollment.

The resource officers cost about $81,000 per year for salary, benefits, and equipment. They are available for regular police duties during two summer months when school is out of session, said New Bern Police Chief Toussaint Summers.

State grant money covers $39,000 per resource officer for the high school and middle schools, with the city paying the balance.

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw said the county, the school district, and cities in Craven County need to get together to find an equitable way to cover the cost of school resource officers.

Meanwhile, he said, he’ll “old my nose and vote for this.”

“In today’s society, you can’t not have a resource officers in these schools,” Outlaw said.

Alderman Sabrina Bengel said she feels bullied into a decision. “I don’t like the political nature of this,” she said.

Alderwoman Jameesha Harris said “This is a tax burden I would like to have in order to have my children be safe.”

Chief Summers said the benefits of the city providing resource officers to the schools outweighs the costs. The officers spend the school year getting to know teenagers in the community, and during the summertime, a “very busy time” for the Police Department, the officers are available for patrol duty and to hold youth summer camps.

In addition, should an incident occur on campus, resource officers there could facilitate the arrival of other law enforcement as they arrive.

At present, the New Bern Police Department has 86 personnel, plus two trainees and one vacancy. He said on average NBPD has a 10 percent turnover rate.

To the question of whether to fund resource officers for New Bern High School and the two middle schools, aldermen voted 6-1, with Alderman Barbara Best voting against it. To the question of whether to add one resource officer each to J.T. Barbour and Oaks Road elementary schools, the vote was 5-2, with Best and Bengal voting against it.

In a memo to aldermen, Chief Summers provided information supporting the addition of resource officers to the two elementary schools. Three other elementary schools inside city limits would not have resource officers.

Craven County has budgeted $99,000 for these two positions, leaving the city of New Bern with $10,000 in costs.

“(The two) elementary schools have been identified as having students with limited positive interaction with police officers. Assigning School Resource Officers would facilitate a safe learning environment, encourage positive relationships with law enforcement and reduce the number of violent acts within our schools. If approved, the newly inducted School Resource Officers would promote anti-bullying initiatives, lead drug and crime prevention programs, provide a safe and secure campus for both the students and the teaching staff during regular school hours and at after-school activities.”

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County Board of Commissioners, Craven County Schools, Mayor

August 27th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

State map shows the Opportunity Zone as designated for New Bern.

A tax credit opportunity zone designated for New Bern due to a purported high level of poverty is mostly made up of a decidedly well-to-do historic neighborhood, the city’s thriving downtown, and two major city parks. The zone also includes the New Bern Grand Marina, home port of some of New Bern’s nicest yachts.

The zone also includes Trent Court and a rundown section of town between downtown and the Riverside Historic Neighborhood.

“I believe we initially learned of the Opportunity Zones program from Alderman Jameesha Harris,” Colleen Roberts, New Bern public information officer, told the Post in an email.  “She was briefed about the program during a conference she attended shortly after taking office.  She brought up the topic under New Business at the end of a board meeting as something we should explore further.

“My understanding is all of New Bern’s eligible census tracks were submitted as potential Opportunity Zones, but the final determination of each county’s Opportunity Zone was decided on by the State.”

Alderman Harris provided other details.

Back in March I brought up the Opportunity Zone designation for New Bern as a tool for the low income and distressed areas,” Alderwoman Jameesha Harris said on her official Facebook page. “I was told it wasn’t a good idea or a good tool. Then I stood my ground and demanded the Board of Alderman send a letter to the Governor to make sure the parts of New Bern and Craven County that were considered low income and distressed be added to the list for Opportunity Zone. I just received a copy of the map and I am completely shocked and disgusted because it doesn’t represent areas in distress!

“This is why I fight! This is why I stand up! Once again the individuals that need the help are not getting it.”

Later, Harris commented, “The Governor actually played a very important role in the decision making with this. I am currently working on getting more information. Also, we didn’t have to send a map we just needed to request to be considered an opportunity Zone.”

 

BACKGROUND: PROGRAM OVERVIEW

From the state website: A new program with the potential to attract investment capital into low-income areas of North Carolina was created by recently passed federal tax legislation, known as The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1). North Carolina Opportunity Zones will offer qualified investors certain tax benefits when they invest unrealized capital gains into these areas.

The list of North Carolina Opportunity Zones can be downloaded here

North Carolina’s 252 zones were certified by the United States Treasury on May 18, 2018.

The federal law allows each state to designate up to 25 percent of its total low-income census tracts as zone candidates. North Carolina has just over 1,000 of these tracts, so only 252 census tracts could be selected as Opportunity Zones.

Guided by data and driven by local priorities, North Carolina’s process to identify these tracts, coordinated by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, included an extensive review of census data, public input collected from the Department’s website and direct outreach, and close collaboration with local officials from across the state.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

H.R. 1 (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) was signed into law on December 22, 2017.

The Opportunity Zones Program (Sec. 13823) provides tax incentives for qualified investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into low-income communities throughout the state, and across the country. Low-income census tracks are areas where the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater and/or family income is less than 80% of the area’s median income.

Investments made by qualified entities known as Opportunity Funds into certified Opportunity Zones will receive three key federal tax incentives to encourage investment in low-income communities including:

  • Temporary tax deferral for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund
  • Step-up in basis for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund
  • Permanent exclusion from taxable income of long-term capital gains

For additional information on the treatment of capital gains invested and earned through the Opportunity Zones program, please see this summary published by the Economic Innovation Group based in Washington, D.C.

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Designation of Opportunity Funds

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is still in the process of developing criteria to determine how qualified Opportunity Funds will be certified, and the process they will follow to certify those funds. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has not released a timeline for when capital may begin to flow, but earliest estimates point to late 2018 or early 2019.

History

The Opportunity Zones program is based on the bipartisan “Investing in Opportunity Act,” which was championed by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ron Kind (D-WI), who led a regionally and politically diverse coalition of nearly 100 congressional cosponsors. The Economic Innovation Group (EIG) originally developed the Concept of Opportunity Zones in 2015.

Opportunity Zones Program and related Legislation

For more information and program updates, please contact Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at (800) 228-8443

Important Dates

  • February 13, 2018 – Public notice regarding Opportunity Zones is released
  • March 27, 2018 – Suggestion period closed
  • April 20, 2018 – Formal recommendations to US Treasury
  • May 18, 2018 – Federal certification by the US Treasury

 

Posted in Board of Aldermen, New Bern

August 27th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Aerial photo provided by the City of New Bern shows Martin Marietta Park in the foreground.

The City of New Bern will receive $475,000 to begin Phase I of Martin Marietta Park located on S. Glenburnie Road.  This funding will help kick off creation of the city’s largest ever park.

The Governor’s Office released a list of 27 parks and recreation projects across the state that will receive funding through the NC Parks & Recreation Trust Fund, including Martin Marietta Park.   

New Bern Parks & Recreation staff applied for the NC PARTF grant in May and learned last week that the City would be awarded funding.  The money will be used to install a children’s playground, boat launch, fishing pier, picnic shelter, park benches, multi-purpose trails, nature trail, and nature observation deck. 

The funds will also be used to create gravel parking lots, improve road conditions throughout the park, and purchase appropriate park signage.  General site preparation and supportive utility work are included in the grant funding. 

“This is a big step toward the development of Martin Marietta Park,” Foster Hughes, director of Parks & Recreation for the City of New Bern, said in a prepared statement.  “This park is a valuable asset to the City and this grant will help us enhance residents and visitors ability to enjoy recreational amenities across nearly 900 acres of land and lakes.”  The City anticipates construction will begin in January 2019.

Last September, Martin Marietta donated approximately 55 acres along South Glenburnie Road to the City of New Bern with the recommendation that the land be used to create a regional park.  The additional acreage completed a contiguous stretch of land totaling 888 acres owned by the City of New Bern.   

In the spring of 2018, the City invited public comment on proposed amenities residents would like to see inside the park.  Those surveys and comments were collected and analyzed by independent consultant McGill & Associates, which assisted the City in creating a master plan for the park. 

In April, the Board of Aldermen approved moving forward with the master plan which includes walking, running and cycling paths and trails, an outdoor performance area, open space for recreation and environmental stewardship, water activities and adventure activities.

Posted in Board of Aldermen, Community, New Bern, Parks and Recreation

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