WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners unanimously approved a more than $14 million renourishment project for both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. Part of the price tag is being funded at the federal and state level, something that commissioners say could soon come to an end.
The project agreement calls for the county to fork up more than $9 million, money that would come from the county’s room occupancy tax.
“We’ve got some real challenges ahead of us,” says Commissioner Rick Catlin.
According Catlin, because of a new federal earmark, its unlikely our area will receive any money unless there is damage from a hurricane.
“That’s where we got the money this time,” he says. “It didn’t come from regular beach renourishment, it came from Hurricane Irene money.
In signing the agreement, commissioners agreed the county would also be responsible for any extra costs if the project runs over budget. Though a little weary, in the end the board agreed the funding was worth it.
“If we don’t sign this MOA, we are in jeopardy of losing it and then it would all come out of our room tax,” Catlin says.
For the past three years, at least $3 million that would have gone towards nourishment and tourism promotion has helped pay for the Wilmington Convention Center.
Also at the meeting, commissioners discussed a proposed contract with Covanta Energy, a company selected to restore the county’s trash incinerator, formerly known as WASTEC.
Commissioners will hold a work session on September 13 and a public hearing at their September 17 meeting.