WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Carolina Beach Inlet is getting shallower by the day, and it seems local leaders still don't know where the money to dredge the inlet will come from.
There is no question that the inlet is important to tourists as well as businesses in the New Hanover County's beach communities, but the question is who's gonna pay for the dredging that's necessary to keep the inlet open and operational?
It doesn't take much for boats to hit the shallows in the Carolina Beach Inlet.
"That's extremely shallow," Capt. Shane Snow of the S.S. Fish Witch said during a trip through the inlet. "Most of these boats draw about a four foot max so we're running out of water quick."
Snow says dredging to the inlet needs to happen soon so his charter boat business can stay afloat. He's worried that the different local entities in charge of contributing will not come together soon enough, and the inlet may soon be too shallow to navigate.
New Hanover County Commission Chair Jonathan Barfield says the county, the City of Wilmington, Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach have all found funds for the dredging. Now they're just waiting on Kure Beach.
Kure Beach Mayor Dean Lambeth says the town is working on getting funds for the dredging.
"At our town attorney's request, we allocated no moneys, because we had to make sure it was legal," Lambeth said. "They have since talked to the school of government, and we have a couple sources of funds that we could use."
Lambeth says he does not understand why Barfield told another TV station that the town was not going to contribute when it just needs to figure out where the funds will come from.
Barfield says in a resolution sent out from the town, he understood that Kure Beach supported the dredging, but would not do so financially. Barfield says he has also decided not to return Lambeth's calls after he was told by his secretary that when Lambeth called Friday morning, he asked for the "oversized, pompous ass Barfield." He says Lambeth owes his secretary an apology before he will call back.
Boaters we spoke with say they don't care who pays for it. They just need the inlet deeper, and quick.
Lambeth says the Kure Beach Town Council plans to meet Tuesday to decide where it will get the funding for the dredging. He says he believes commissioners will be able to get the money so that the project can move forward, but there are things they must do legally to make it happen.