Category: FEMA

May 12th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is awarding the City of New Bern a $5,629,986.75 million grant to repair damage to the Stanley White Recreation Center from Hurricane Florence.

Senator Thom Tillis’ office met with officials from the city of New Bern on the funding request and pushed FEMA to award the grant.

“New Bern suffered widespread damage from Hurricane Florence, including severe damage to the Stanley White Recreation Center,” Tillis said. “I am proud to have worked with the city of New Bern to advocate this grant so we can begin repairs to this important community staple.”

The facility was severely damaged by Hurricane Florence and has been close since September 2018.

It was an integral part of nearby neighborhoods as well as sports programs city-wise.

Because of the location’s propensity to flooding, there was some talk about the facility closing for good and a new facility being built elsewhere, something that has not sit well with communities surrounding Stanley White RC.

This grant money seems to stiffen the city’s resolve to keep Stanley White RC where it is.

Posted in FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern

April 30th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin
FEMAFloodMapsGISMap

Your property may be affected.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) new floodplain maps become effective June 19, 2020 and the City of New Bern is alerting residents to possible changes in their flood designation. Property owners are encouraged to examine the maps to determine if they are now in a low-to-moderate flood area or in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), defined as a high-risk flood zone. If the designation has changed, it is important that you contact your insurance agent to discuss locking in a lower flood insurance rate before June 19.Click here or on the map & type in your address to see if your property will be affected once the FEMA flood maps are adopted on June 19th.

The City has created a GIS map showing the approximately 700 properties within city limits that will change from “no flood insurance required” to “flood insurance may be required” once the maps are adopted.  These properties appear in red on the map found here: www.newbernnc.gov/floodmapchanges2020.   

To see if your property is affected, click on the link and type in your address in the block that says “Find address or place.” Once you press Enter, the map zooms to that parcel.  Clicking on the structure(s) will reveal additional information such as the Finished Floor Elevation (FFE) above sea level, Assessed Building Value, and Type of property. Click the arrow at the top right of the information block to see whether the property falls into a new flood zone designation. 

“Understanding your flood risk can better protect your family and your property from flooding,” said Jeff Ruggieri, Director of Development Services. “It can also help inform your decision on insurance options to protect your investment.” 

Generally, FEMA updates floodplain maps every ten to fifteen years. These maps outline a community’s flood risk and help local governments and developers make informed decisions about planning and growth. This mapping is an essential part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), because it informs NFIP regulations and flood insurance requirements for property owners. New Bern’s current flood maps date back to 2004. The State of North Carolina and FEMA released updated preliminary flood maps in 2016. After nearly four years of study, FEMA issued a letter of final map determination in December 2019.

The updated maps show significant changes from the 2004 ones. Several properties will be re-classified from no-risk to high-risk flood zones. Other properties that remain in flood zones will have higher base flood elevation requirements that will affect overall building height of new construction. Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is the elevation to which the flood is anticipated to rise. New Bern’s current BFE is 8 feet and will be changing to 8 to 13 feet, with the highest level closest to the rivers.

“If your designation has changed, there may be a benefit to buying flood insurance now,” said Ruggieri. “Property owners could see a substantial cost savings by purchasing insurance protection now and being grandfathered in to the new requirements versus waiting to get an actuarial insurance quote after the maps are adopted and made effective on June 19.”

According to FEMA, flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States, and most homeowner’s insurance policies may not cover the effects of flooding. Flood insurance is required for all properties in the existing and new flood map area that are using federally-backed financing and also by many insurance companies. Whether required or not, without flood insurance, property owners are risking uninsured losses to their home, personal property, and business.

Flood insurance is available either through a private policy or through the NFIP. The State of North Carolina has developed a website to assess your flood risk. You can visit the NC Flood Risk Information System at fris.nc.gov.

For property owners who have received a LOMA, or Letter of Map Amendment, please contact Development Services
at (252)639-7581. LOMAs officially amend the flood hazard designation for properties and are applied through, and
received from, FEMA. Property owners who need help identifying their property(ies) on the GIS map can also call
Development Services for assistance.

Click to read a draft version of the City’s Proposed Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.

FEMAFloodMaps_DraftOrdinanceChange

Posted in FEMA, New Bern

January 12th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

Best selection: Bella’s Cafe & Catering

Best quality food: Crema Brew

Most social: Crema Brew

Best non-social hangout: Starbucks

Best social hangout: Crema Brew

Best coffee house on a Sunday: Bella’s Cafe & Catering

Best over-all: Crema Brew

Longest hours: Starbucks

Bella’s Cafe & Catering

323 Middle Street
7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
252-633-7900
bellascafenb.com

Decor: Attractive and comfortable. However, my table was sticky, as were the empty tables to my left and right. Seating includes round tables, a bar table, a square table and conversation circle. Seats range from aluminum to cushioned. The south wall is a cushioned bench with pillows and individual tables.

Menu: Comprehensive and will keep you fed from breakfast through dinner. Vegetarian and children options. Prices are moderate. My large hot tea and home-baked blueberry muffin came to $6.98 including $1 tip. The muffin was competent. Wait staff says all food is homemade.

Service area: Clean and fully functional. Two choices of creamers, milk and half-and-half. Several choices of non-dairy whitener. Choice of diet sweeteners plus white sugar and raw sugar, but no honey. Free ice water including paper cups.

Vibe: Lots of conversations at tables, but no table-to-table conversation. Wide range of ages and genders, but not races; entirely white, which is a common complaint about downtown New Bern.

Service: Friendly greeting as you arrive and bid you well as you leave.

I’ve been coming to this location for a decade, through numerous owners. Of them, the current arrangement is the most professional but least personable. The food is good and there is a wide selection. The restrooms have been redone, which is somewhat of a shame. The men’s room was once decorated by a hand-painted edition of the Sun Journal sports page. Now it is nicely decorated with solid paint and neutral wall hangings. A work of art has been lost. Fun fact: there is a disused door to the left of the women’s room that leads to the basement, which was intended to be used as a Cold War-era fallout shelter.

Crema Brew

914 Broad Street, northeast intersection of Queen and Broad streets
7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays
252-288-5381
cremabrew.com

Decor: Homey and comfortable. Seating at large and small tables arranged in the front section that is lined with windows and the back section that is windowless. Facilities are immaculately clean.

Menu: Somewhat limited but adequate and deliciously homemade (you can watch them bake pies, cakes, and pastries in the back of the shop). Breakfast includes hot egg and cheese on Carolina Bagel bagels. Lunch includes egg, tuna, or chicken salad on home baked potato bread, Carolina Bagel bagels, or served alone in a cup, topped off with two cherry tomatoes. Daily soup specials. There is a selection of bagged chips and other snacks and sweets. What sets Crema Brew apart is its baked goods. Don’t tell your mother, but her pies don’t hold a candle to Crema Brew’s. Prices range from reasonable to free. Yes, if you need a cup and can’t afford it, ask and they will give you one.

Service area: Clean and functional. Includes half-and-half and non-dairy whiteners, white sugar, honey, and sugar free sweeteners. Free ice water with cups. Stirrers are dried linguini. Straws are cardboard and won’t kill the turtles.

Vibe: The other thing that sets Crema Brew apart is its friendly nature. Customers are a wide range of ages, genders, and races. Lots of inter-table and table-to-table conversations. The mom and pop and daughter who own and run Crema Brew regularly come from behind the counter and socialize with customers. It’s not long before they remember your name. It’s not long before you strike up new friendships from among other customers.

Service: Fast and friendly. Really friendly.

I’ve been going to Crema Brew since the day it opened. In fact I switched my go-to coffee house to Crema Brew and own a Crema Brew cap (gift from a friend) and hoodie sweatshirt (gift from the wife). The owners, Roxanne and Donovan Zook, and their daughter, Regina, will become part of your family if you let them. The coffee house is located within a former filling station-then-dry cleaner that sat empty for a couple of decades. They did all the work themselves that they could that didn’t require a permit.

Starbucks

3182 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (New Bern Mall outparcel)
5:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
252-775-8605
starbucks.com

Decor: Industrial. Several small cushy chairs beside small tables, with one large table in the center surrounded by chairs.

Menu: Typical Starbucks fare but not as extensive as advertised. They frequently run out. Nothing is homemade; everything is frozen and, if heat is required, microwaved. Moderate prices.

Service area: Serviceable but often messy. No free water.

Vibe: Typical Starbucks. Don’t expect a social experience unless you bring one with you. Longest hours.

The Starbucks on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is New Bern’s only standalone Starbucks … something the city was once excited to get. It’s on the smallish side as one would expect in a small town at a mall outparcel. There are three in-store Starbucks, at Target and the two Harris Teeters. The Starbucks inside the larger Harris Teeter on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard has more spacious seating than a typical Starbucks, whereas the one at the Carolina Colours location has less seating. Target fits neatly in-between.

Posted in Business, Community, Downtown New Bern, Economy, FEMA, New Bern

September 2nd, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

StaffMeeting_Sept2The City of New Bern declared a State of Emergencyeffective at 5 p.m. today.  The proclamation, signed by Mayor Pro Tempore Jeffrey Odham, is an emergency mechanism that must be in place ahead of requests for regional, state, and federal resources.  It also allows the city to take emergency measures to secure and protect residents, such as enacting curfews and limiting the sale of alcohol. No curfews or sales limitations are currently in effect. 

Although the forecast track for hurricane Dorian 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 although a landfall is uncertain at this time, the storm poses a significant threat to the southeastern United States.  By week’s end, Dorian is forecast to impact eastern North Carolina. 

The City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on N.C. 55 will mobilize at 8 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 ahead of the storm.  Management staff met today to discuss possible scenarios and storm impacts as well as current preparations, then began scheduling supplemental and on-call staff for storm duty.  On Tuesday, city staff will begin checking supplies at the 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 by midweek. 

“We will know more about the track of the storm in the next 24-48 hours, but we are using this valuable time to get staff, equipment and supplies in place and ready to go,” said City Manager Mark Stephens.  “New Bern could see storm surge, flooding, significant rain, power outages and wind damage as a result of this hurricane.”  

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.  

“Our best advice right now is to make sure your disaster kit is stocked and ready,” said Fire-Rescue Chief Robert Boyd.  “Be sure to 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.  And if you live in a flood prone area, consider riding out the storm somewhere away from Dorian’s forecast track, possibly with a friend or family member.”  Tuesday, firefighters will begin going door-to-door in low-lying areas encouraging residents to head inland.  Those areas include, but are not limited to, Woodrow, Duffyfield, North 2nd Avenue, North Hills Drive, Cooper’s Landing, Hazel Avenue and Attmore Drive.      

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 find us on Instagram at @CityofNewBern.

City of New Bern State of Emergency Proclamation (pdf)

Posted in FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern

June 2nd, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

The current activities towards Environmental Justice and a Just Florence Recovery will be presented by Naeema Muhammad and Ashley Daniels of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and the Just Florence Recovery Coalition.

Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Place: The Harrison Center, 311 Middle Street, New Bern

Environmental Justice is the effort to promote health and environmental equity, clean industry, safe work places, and fair access to all human and natural resources, especially for low income communities and peoples of color.

The Just Florence Recovery aims to help these communities get the resources now to continue getting help after the hurricane and flooding devastation, but also to build resilience in affected communities for future climate related events.

Ashley Daniels has been an activist with the NC Sierra Club in Wilmington and a founding member of the NC Sierra Club’s Equity, Inclusion and Justice Committee. She is an organizer for the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and for the Just Florence Recovery.

Naeema Muhammad has been Organizing Co-Director with NCEJN since 2013. She has served as a community organizer working with communities dealing with waste from industrial hog operations and has co-authored publications regarding community based participatory research. She currently serves on the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Secretary’s Environmental Justice & Equity Advisory Board.

Hosted by the Carolina Nature Coalition, and cosponsored by the Craven County Branch of the NC NAACP and the NC Sierra Club Croatan Group.

All presentations are free and open to the general public. Questions and discussion are always encouraged.

Further Information: carolinanaturecoalition.org or 252-626-5100

Posted in Economy, Environment, FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern

May 6th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Duke Energy awarded a $5,000 grant to Swiss Bear, Inc. and the City of New Bern to be used for flood resiliency planning. This brings the total amount of grant funding for the planning phase to $30,000.

The City received a $10,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Swiss Bear was awarded $15,000 from Wells Fargo. Additional grants are being sought.

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season brought devastating effects to New Bern and surrounding areas. Hurricane Florence, the first major hurricane of the season, made landfall in mid-September.

New Bern and eastern North Carolina bore the brunt of coastal tidal surge during the storm.  In addition to tidal surge, Florence brought an estimated 20 inches of rainfall to New Bern.  Damages to residential and commercial properties totaled $100 million.

Then, less than a month later, hurricane Michael came up the eastern seaboard.  Although downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached the Carolinas, Michael packed 30 mph winds and dumped more rain on an already devastated region of eastern North Carolina.

Swiss Bear and the City of New Bern are spearheading flood mitigation and resilience planning to include all areas of vulnerability.

“We appreciate Duke Energy recognizing the impacts of this storm and assisting the City with funding for the planning phase,” said Mark Stephens, New Bern city manager.  “As a utility provider, their crews saw the destruction up close after Florence.  Their corporate partnership will help in this process.”

Flood resiliency planning will not only focus on structures and infrastructure, but also on environmental protection and preservation.  New Bern’s location at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers makes it home to numerous wildlife habitats, which were disrupted during the storm.  The planning phase will address ecosystem vulnerability as well.

Development of the flood resiliency plan is estimated to cost about $90,000.  Swiss Bear and the City will work together to publish a Request for Proposals in the coming weeks to engage a consulting firm to develop the plan.  After the planning phase, the city will move forward with funding an implementation phase.

Posted in Business, FEMA, Hurricane

March 13th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Six months after it made landfall, Hurricane Florence’s impacts on New Bern’s economy are still being felt throughout the city, but a new development may delay full recovery for some time.

Hurricane-damaged DoubleTree Riverfront hotel is closed indefinitely over insurance coverage issues related to the hurricane. Downtown New Bern will continue to face its worst economic crisis since 2008-10, when access to downtown was crippled by a bridge replacement and road construction projects.

“Business is definitely down,” said Lynne Harakal, director of Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation, said about Hurricane Florence recovery. “The best information I can provide is revenues are down about 15-20 percent since the hurricane. In retail, that’s a very large hit. Most small retailers have a profit margin of about 10 percent at the end of the year, so if these percentages continue many of our retailers could be in jeopardy.

“Not having the DoubleTree makes this situation even more ominous. Our downtown businesses need the DoubleTree operational. Furthermore, they need the Conventional Center up and running and a thriving Farmers Market to draw customers to our shops and restaurants.”

New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, a top venue for activities ranging from Marine Corps Birthday balls to corporate shareholder meetings, occupies about 3 acres of the downtown frontage on the banks of the Trent River.

The Convention Center was badly damaged during the hurricane, but is aiming to reopen in the fall. A big piece of its marketing plan has been the presence of a full-service hotel right next door—the DoubleTree Riverfront by Hilton.

Sources said there have already been two cancelled bookings at the Convention Center because of the DoubleTree being closed.

The Convention Center and DoubleTree Riverfront occupy a space previously known as Bicentennial Park and, before that, New Bern’s busy waterfront dating to the 1700s. More

Why does the DoubleTree matter? After all, there are two other hotels downtown, and several others elsewhere in the city.

Downtown’s two operating hotels are the Courtyard by Marriott, overlooking the Neuse River, with 100 rooms, and the Bridgepointe Hotel and Marina across the Trent River with 115 rooms. Both the Courtyard and the Bridgepointe are locally owned.

DoubleTree Riverfront, with 171 rooms, is by far the city’s largest hotel. More importantly, it is New Bern’s only full-service hotel. A full-service hotel offers full service accommodations, an on-site restaurant, and personalized service, such as a concierge, room service, and clothes pressing staff.

The DoubleTree was the hotel Alpha in New Bern, occupying the premiere location along the Trent River between the Convention Center and the N.C. History Center.

The DoubleTree is owned RPG Hospitality and managed by Singh Investment Group of Augusta, Georgia. More

Once a full-fledged Hilton and, before that, a Sheraton, the $12 million property in New Bern has been operating under Hilton’s DoubleTree flag for several years.

Singh Investment Group owns one other hotel property in North Carolina (all others are in Georgia), the DoubleTree Oceanfront by Hilton in Atlantic Beach. It, too, was severely damaged by Hurricane Florence and remains closed.

Singh Investment has not answered a request to be interviewed by New Bern Post, and local officials say they have not answered their inquiries since January.

In mid-February, the hotel’s general manager attended a Tourism Development Agency meeting and said that due to litigation with the hotel’s insurance carrier over whether it covered damage from wind-driven rain, the hotel might remain closed.

The hotel owners transferred the general manager and two weeks later laid off the entire staff except the sales manager and a couple of maintenance workers. The sales manager worked to cancel remaining bookings.

This puts downtown New Bern in a bad spot. Take the New Bern Grand Marina, for example. It is under separate ownership, but it partnered with DoubleTree to provide amenities to the marina including showers and laundry.

Then, of course, its impacts on Convention Center bookings, and a large hotel staff that has been laid off.

Then there are other effects. A vast, empty parking lot beside a large hotel is not a good indicator of a thriving downtown.

In short, it puts downtown growth and prosperity at serious risk.

Moreover, the longer DoubleTree remains closed, the harder it will be to bring it back into operation. The DoubleTree may very well go from being one of Downtown New Bern’s crown jewels, to a major liability.

It’s sort of like what the Days Hotel did in Five Points. The Days Hotel went from being in business to derelict to being razed over an eight-year span.

Alderman Sabrina Bengel, when asked what the city could do about the hotel, said, “Nothing. It’s private property.”

She equates DoubleTree with the beleaguered SkySail condominiums right next door to the DoubleTrees and the long-vacant Elks Building smack dab in the middle of Downtown New Bern. They, too, are major properties in the downtown that seek solutions and remain vacant or underutilized.

She said DoubleTree’s owners said they are not interested in selling the hotel, and continue to seek a resolution from the insurance carrier.

Meanwhile, the hotel has not reached the level of nuisance abatement, and is current on its taxes, which total just over $120,000 per year.

While it is true that the hotel is private property, current on taxes, and may not have reached a point where it is a public safety hazard, it is demonstrably true that a vacant and empty hotel has an adverse economic impact on the city.

Cities have used that argument to justify employing eminent domain, the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation.

Whether the city has the stomach for that kind of nuclear option depends on how severe impacts become as the DoubleTree Riverfront remains closed.

Posted in Board of Aldermen, Boating, Business, Craven County Board of Commissioners, Downtown New Bern, Economy, Economy and Employment, FEMA, Hurricane, Infrastructure, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce

February 9th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

The Board of Aldermen meets Tuesday for two separate sessions, a regular meeting starting at 6 p.m. and a work session covering utility rates starting at 3 p.m.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, here are some of the more interesting agenda items:

10. Presentation on NC Global TransPark Authority.

Allen Thomas, Director of the North Carolina Global TransPark (“GTP”), was scheduled to make a presentation before the Board last July, but cancelled due to illness. He has rescheduled that presentation for this meeting.

11. Presentation by Craven County Board of Elections.

Melani Wray, Director of the Craven County Board of Elections, will make a presentation that covers a cost analysis of the City’s election process. She will also discuss the advantages of changing from a nonpartisan election/runoff method to a nonpartisan plurality election.

12. Presentation on Downtown Parking Update.

(Ward 1) Billy Faulkenberry and Lynn Harakal, Executive Director of Swiss Bear, will update the Board on the downtown parking enforcement.

15. Presentation on Ban-the-Box.

Whitley Carpenter, Staff Attorney with The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, will be joined by Corey Purdie and Angaza Laughinghouse to make a presentation on the Ban-the-Box movement.

Ban the Box is the name of an international campaign by civil rights groups and advocates for ex-offenders, aimed at persuading employers to remove from their hiring applications the check box that asks if applicants have a criminal record.

18. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a License/Use Agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

(Ward 5) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has requested to lease office space at the old Water Resources building located at 2825 Neuse Boulevard. The proposed agreement provides for their use of the building through June 30, 2019 at no cost. FEMA will be using the office space to serve the citizens of New Bern and surrounding areas following the devastation from Hurricane Florence. 

Here is the full agenda:

CITY OF NEW BERN, 300 Pollock Street, P.O. Box 1129 New Bern, NC 28563-1129 . (252) 636-4000

Dana E. Outlaw Mayor

Mark A. Stephens City Manager

Memo to: Mayor and Board of Aldermen From: Mark A. Stephens, City Manager Date: February 8, 2019

Re: February 12, 2019 Agenda Explanations

1. Meeting  opened  by Mayor  Dana E. Outlaw. Prayer Coordinated by Mayor Outlaw. Pledge of Allegiance.

2. Roll Call.

3. Request and Petition of Citizens.

This section of the Agenda is titled Requests and Petitions of Citizens. This is an opportunity for public comment, and we thank you for coming to the Board of Aldermen meeting tonight to share your views. We value all citizen input.

Speaker comments are limited to a maximum of 4 minutes during the public comment period. At the conclusion of 4 minutes, each speaker shall leave the podium. Comments will be directed to the full board, not to an individual board member or staff member. Although the board is interested in hearing your comments, speakers should not expect any comments, action or deliberation from the board on any issue raised during the public comment period.

In the board’s discretion, it may refer issues to the appropriate city officials or staff for further investigation. If an organized group is present to speak on a common issue, please designate one person to present the group’s comment, which shall be limited to a maximum of 4 minutes.

Consent Agenda

4. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Close Specific Streets for the Neuse River Bridge Run.

(Ward 1) The Neuse River Bridge Run is slated for March 23, 2019. Accordingly, John Serumgard, Race Director, the event, has requested the 200 block of East Front Street be closed from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the 200 block of South Front Street be closed from 5 a.m. until 1 p.m. The organizers also plan to hold a “Super Kids Run” on March 22, 2019 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Union Point Park, and the Director of Parks and Recreation has authorized the closure of the park streets during this time. A memo from Foster Hughes, Director of Parks and Recreation, is attached.

5. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Close Specific Streets for the Great Glow Run.

(Ward 1) Kathy Lewis, Officer Manager for Easter Seals UCP, has requested specific streets be closed on April 13, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. for the annual Great Glow Run. The streets to be closed are the 200-700 blocks of East Front Street, a portion of the 800 block of North Craven Street, 700-800 blocks of Howard Street, 100-600 blocks of Queen Street, and 600-800 blocks of George Street. This Easter Seals fundraiser also promotes awareness. A memo from Mr. Hughes is attached.

6. Consider Adopting a Revised Resolution to Close Specific Streets for the Black History Month Parade.

(Ward 1) After receiving a request from Victor Taylor with Vision Forward, the Board adopted a resolution on January 22, 2019 to close specific streets on February 16, 2019 for the annual Black history Month Parade. That resolution failed to include approval of the requested rain date of February 23, 2019. The resolution has been revised to include this date, and all other information remains the same with respect to the affected streets. A memo from Mr. Hughes is attached along with copies of the application, a map of the parade route, and the resolution approved in January.

7. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Portions of Spencer Avenue for the Ghent Neighborhood Mardi Gras Parade.

(Ward 1) Michael Genest, President of the Ghent Neighborhood Association, has requested the 1400-2000 blocks of Spencer Avenue be closed to vehicular traffic on March 2, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for the association’s annual Mardi Gras Parade and block party. A memo from Mr. Hughes, a copy of the application and a parade map are included in the backup documentation.

8. Approve Minutes.

Minutes from the January 15, 2019 special meeting, January 22, 2019 regular

meeting, January 26, 2019 special meeting, and January 26, 2019 annual retreat are provided for review and approval.

______

9. Presentation of Longevity Certificates.

Employment service is recognized at five-year increments. A roster is enclosed of all employees who are eligible to receive a service certificate for the period of July­ December 2018. Some of these employees will be present at the meeting, and certificates will be on hand for the Mayor to present. Sharon Koprowski, Assistant Director of Human Resources, will be available to assist with the presentation. The Board is asked to extend a handshake of appreciation to the employees.

10. Presentation on NC Global TransPark Authority.

Allen Thomas, Director of the North Carolina Global TransPark (“GTP”), was scheduled to make a presentation before the Board last July, but cancelled due to illness. He has rescheduled that presentation for this meeting.

11. Presentation by Craven County Board of Elections.

Melani Wray, Director of the Craven County Board of Elections, will make a presentation that covers a cost analysis of the City’s election process. She will also discuss the advantages of changing from a nonpartisan election/runoff method to a nonpartisan plurality election.

12. Presentation on Downtown Parking Update.

(Ward 1) Billy Faulkenberry and Lynn Harakal, Executive Director of Swiss Bear, will update the Board on the downtown parking enforcement.

13. Presentation on African American Heritage & Cultural Center of New Bern Project.

(Ward 1) Carol Becton, a representative with the African American Heritage & Cultural Center, will make a presentation on the center’s vision, as well as its plans to celebrate Juneteenth in 2019.

14. Presentation on Reliable Public Power.

Charles Bauschard, Director of Public Utilities, will make a presentation regarding the City’s application for the American Public Power Association’s designation as a Reliable Public Power Provider (“RP3”).

15. Presentation on Ban-the-Box.

Whitley Carpenter, Staff Attorney with The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, will be joined by Corey Purdie and Angaza Laughinghouse to make a presentation on the Ban-the-Box movement.

16. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a Human Resources Policy.

As a follow-up to the previous presentation, a Resolution approving a Human Resources Policy is proposed.

17. Receive Public Comment and Consider Adopting a Resolution Naming a Currently Unnamed Street as Sheryl Drive.

(Ward 4) In the area of Glenburnie Road, an unnamed street connects Elizabeth Avenue and Amhurst Boulevard. In 2013 and 2015, a proposed development named Quail Forest was reviewed and the right-of-way for this roadway dedicated, but not officially named. The proposed name, Sheryl Drive, was reviewed and approved by E911. Staff has met with adjacent property owners regarding the name proposal. It is requested the Board receive public comments on this naming and then consider adopting a resolution to establish the name.

18. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a License/Use Agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

(Ward 5) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has requested to lease office space at the old Water Resources building located at 2825 Neuse Boulevard. The proposed agreement provides for their use of the building through June 30, 2019 at no cost. FEMA will be using the office space to serve the citizens of New Bern and surrounding areas following the devastation from Hurricane Florence.

19. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Accept a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure of Tax Lien.

(Ward 1) Craven County pursued foreclosure on 209 Lawson Street for delinquent ad valorem taxes owed to the County. At the time of the foreclosure, there were also delinquent taxes owed to the City. A commissioner’s deed was recorded on August 18, 2018 conveying the property to the County, which resulted in the City’s tax liens remaining intact. In order to avoid foreclosure by the City to collect those taxes, the County proposes a deed to convey the property to the City and County jointly, with the deed specifying the amount of both the County and City’s taxes, interest, liens, fees and costs as of August 18, 2018. The resolution authorizes the recording of the proposed deed and accepts the same in lieu of foreclosure of the City’s tax lien.

20. Consider Adopting a Resolution Authorizing the Installation of Additional Street Lights.

(Ward 5) Time McKean of 2800 Millinder Lane has requested additional street lighting at the intersection of South Glenburnie Road and Millinder Lane. The Department of Public Utilities evaluated the area and determined the current lighting does not meet the City’s light standard. The installation of one street light will cost approximately $574.96, and the monthly utility charge for service will be $8.44. A memo from Charles Bauschard, Director of Public Utilities, is attached along with other supporting documentation.

21. Appointment(s).

  1. Raymond Layton’s second term on the Planning and Zoning Board has expired, and he is ineligible for reappointment. Alderman Kinsey is requested to make a new appointment to fill this vacancy. The new appointee shall serve a three­ year term.
  2. Sonny Aluzzo’s first term on the Planning and Zoning Board has expired, and he is eligible for reappointment. Alderman Aster is asked to consider reappointing Mr. Aluzzo or make a new appointment for a three-year term.
  3. Jerry Walker’s first term on the Planning and Zoning Board has expired, and he is eligible for reappointment. Alderman Bengel is asked to consider reappointing Mr. Walker or make a new appointment for a three-year term.
  4. Carol Williams’ second term on the Planning and Zoning Board has expired, and she is ineligible for reappointment. Alderwoman Harris is requested to make a new appointment to fill this vacancy. The new appointee shall serve a three­ year term.
  5. Joseph Anderson has resigned from the Historic Preservation Commission. Alderman Bengel is asked to make an appointment to fill the remainder of Mr. Anderson’s term, which expires on June 13, 2019.
  6. Rose Williams’ appointment on the New Bern Appearance Commission expired February 8, 2019. She is eligible for reappointment, or a new appointment can be made to allow others an opportunity to serve. The appointee will serve a three-year term. The ordinance provides appointees shall be residents of the City’s planning and zoning jurisdiction and shall, when possible, have had special training or experience in a design field such as architecture, landscape design, horticulture, city planning, or a closely-related field.
  7. Mattie Tatum’s appointment on the New Bern Appearance Commission will expire February 22, 2019. She is eligible for reappointment, or a new appointment can be made to allow others an opportunity to serve. The appointee will serve a three-year term. The ordinance provides appointees shall be residents of the City’s planning and zoning jurisdiction and shall, when possible, have had special training or experience in a design field such as architecture, landscape design, horticulture, city planning, or a closely-related field.

22. Attorney’s Report.

23. City Manager’s Report. 

24. New Business.

25. Closed Session.

26. Adjourn.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Downtown New Bern, Economy, Economy and Employment, Elections, FEMA, Infrastructure, Mayor, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Planning and Zoning

December 17th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Relocates disaster Loan Outreach Center in Craven County

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has extended the deadline to apply for physical disaster damages in North Carolina. Businesses and individuals with physical damages caused by Hurricane Florence on Sept. 7 – 29, 2018, should apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans before the Dec. 19, 2018 deadline.

SBA announced the relocation of a Disaster Loan Outreach Center from the Old Rite-Aid Building, 710 Degraffenreid Avenue, New Bern, NC 28582 to the New Bern Water and Sewer Department, 2825 Neuse Boulevard, New Bern, NC 28582 as indicated below:

  • Craven County
    • New Bern Water and Sewer Department
    • 2825 Neuse Boulevard
    • New Bern, NC 28582
    • Opens: Friday, Dec. 14 at 9 a.m.
    • Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Closed: Saturday and Sunday
    • Closes: Thursday, Dec. 20 at 5 p.m.

SBA representatives at the Center can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the SBA application.

“Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business
assets,” said SBA’s North Carolina District Director Lynn Douthett.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, center director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 2 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 19, 2018. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 14, 2019.

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

Posted in Economy, Economy and Employment, FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern, SBA Tagged with:

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is encouraging those affected by Hurricane Florence from Sept. 8 through Oct. 8, 2018 in North Carolina to submit their completed applications, even if they have not settled with their insurance company.

“Waiting to file an SBA application could cause unnecessary delays in receiving disaster assistance, and survivors may miss the application deadline. Returning the loan application is an essential part of the disaster recovery process,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA Field Operations Center East.

If a survivor does not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay their SBA loan.

Physical disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, including contents and automobiles. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes having difficulties meeting operating expenses because of the disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for non-profit organizations and 2 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to a center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. For more information about SBA recovery assistance, visit www.sba.gov.

The SBA has extended the deadline to apply for physical disaster damages in North Carolina. Businesses and individuals with physical damages caused by Hurricane Florence on Sept. 7 – 29, 2018, should apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans before the Dec. 13, 2018 deadline.

Posted in FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern, SBA

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