Holden Beach Property Owners Association

Representing the property owners of Holden Beach, NC

August 27, 2019
by HBPOA
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Labor Day Meeting This Saturday!

Please join the 

Holden Beach Property Owners Association 

for our next meeting, 

Saturday, August 31 at 10:00 am 

in the Meeting Room at Town Hall. 

We will provide an update on what has happened over the summer, and what is coming up in the next few months.  You will also hear updates from Town officials and have an opportunity to provide input.   

This is our Annual Meeting and we will have elections for Board Members.

We look forward to seeing you!

July 26, 2019
by HBPOA
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Town Audit for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2018

The Town’s auditor, Rives & Associates, presented the results of the 2018 audit to the Audit Committee on Tuesday afternoon, July 16th, and to the Board of Commissioners later that same day.  While the audit showed that the Town was in good financial shape, it also found several problems that should be of concern to property owners.

The financial reports prepared by the Town’s Finance Director must be audited every year by an independent auditor.  The auditor’s job is to confirm that the reports are accurate and follow required accounting practices.  The auditor is not allowed to perform the Town’s accounting or reporting functions; they only attest that the reports are accurate.  If the auditor finds errors, they identify the corrections that are needed before they can attest to the final numbers.  The Town is responsible for providing the auditor with accurate information and for making the correcting adjustments that are needed.

The results of the audit showed that in 2018 revenues exceeded expenses so fund balances (i.e., savings) increased and important financial ratios improved.  Expenditures went down compared to 2017, mostly due to the Central Reach project.

The auditor found a Material Weakness in the way the Town performed accounting for its finances, and a Significant Deficiency related to the Town’s expertise in preparing and reviewing financial reports.  The Material Weakness is a serious issue since it means the financial reports generated by the Town during the year should not be relied upon.  The Significant Deficiency regarding in-house expertise was the same one that has been documented in every audit since 2008.

The 2018 audit was also significantly late, which has resulted in the NC Treasurer’s office placing the Town on the Unit Assistance List.  Since the NC Treasurer’s office must approve all Town borrowing, placement on their list could be a factor if we pursue future loans, such as a bridge loan for the $25M FEMA project.

The auditor explained that the reasons for the delay in completing the audit were both due to Hurricane Florence and the additional work required as a result of the Material Deficiency.  The deficiency was due to the magnitude of the correcting adjustments that were needed to the financial reports the Town provided.

The 2017 ending balance needed to be adjusted by over $21 million, and the 2018 ending balance needed to be adjusted by over $2 million.  Furthermore, the bank balance reconciliation was off by more than $1 million.  The $21 million amount was the accumulation of several past years’ adjustments that had not been made, and the bank reconciliation error was the result of a glitch in the Town’s software.

These correcting adjustments created the need for the auditor to perform additional work to validate the financial results.  As a result of this additional work, the auditor requested a $10,000 increase in the price for the audit.

The Audit Committee voted to accept the audit and the additional fees, and unanimously recommended that the auditor be retained for the 2019 audit.  While there were concerns voiced about the delay and additional costs, the committee felt that changing auditors after one year could give the appearance of “opinion shopping” (i.e., shooting the messenger) and would almost certainly result in another late audit – which would keep the Town on the Unit Assistance List, and potentially bring more scrutiny from the NC Treasurer’s office.

Following the auditor’s presentation to the Board of Commissioners, the Commissioners voted to accept the 2018 audit and pay the additional audit fees, but decided by consensus to go out to bid for firms to perform the 2019 audit.

In May, the Town engaged an independent consultant to start assisting with financial reporting and controls.

Brunswick Beacon article:  https://www.brunswickbeacon.com/content/improvement-needed-after-holden-beach-town-audit
Or as a PDF document

Rives & Associates slides from the meeting: Rives & Assoc. Presentation

Click here to  read the 17-18 Audit 

Click here to read the report prepared in January on the internal control issues prepared by RSM: RSM Internal Control Review

 

July 14, 2019
by HBPOA
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Board of Commissioners’ July Meeting

The Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners will meet Tuesday, July 16 for their regular monthly meeting.  Highlights include the presentation of the 2017-2018 Audit, hiring an auditor for the 18-19 fiscal year, the role of the Audit Committee and the implementation of recommendations from the Internal Control Review.  The agenda is below.  Click here for the meeting packet.

The agenda references these items from the supplemental packet:

BOC Agenda 7-19

June 16, 2019
by HBPOA
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Commissioners’ June Meeting Agenda

The Town of Holden Beach Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, June 18 for their regular monthly meeting.  Highlights include adoption of the 2019-20 Budget and approval of the 2017-18 Annual Audit.

In order to achieve the revenue-neutral tax rate for next year as directed by the Commissioners at their last meeting, the Town Manager reduced budgeted expenditures by $222,146 and increased budgeted revenues by $40,385 as compared to the amounts shown in the Budget Message.  The proposed budget still includes the $1,777,967 of fund balance appropriations from the Water & Sewer Fund, and $316,559 of fund balance appropriations from the BPART Fund as were shown in the Budget Message.

Please note that the Public Meeting being held just prior to the Regular Meeting will be your last opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed budget prior to it being voted on during the Regular Meeting.

Click here for the meeting agenda and packet.

Click here for the draft audit.

Click here for the Budget Message.

 

May 28, 2019
by HBPOA
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Holden Beach Annual Budget

It’s Budget Time

The Town Manager has issued his proposed budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.  Click here to view his Budget Message.  The budget is important to all property owners since it determines the taxes we will pay in the upcoming year.  

Property values were re-assessed this year, and went up 8.89% overall.  The revenue-neutral tax would be 20 cents per $100 of assessed value.  The Town Manager proposed a tax rate of 22 cents, which is the same as last year’s rate, but 10% more than the revenue-neutral rate – or basically a 10% increase in taxes and spending.

Long-time owners sometimes worry about getting priced-out of their properties due to increased taxes.  It is important to note that this situation is not due to increased property values, but the result of increased Town spending.  In years when property values are re-assessed, the Town is required to determine the revenue-neutral tax rate, which is the rate that results in the same tax revenue.  For example, if property values double, the revenue-neutral tax rate drops by one-half, so the amount of tax paid doesn’t change.  If the Town always adopts revenue-neutral rates, your taxes will not increase over time.  The Town’s revenue will still increase, however, as the result of new (and improved) properties. 

Another important aspect of the budget is whether or not the Town is saving money for a rainy day, or spending the savings it has.  The Town’s “savings” are its fund balances.  The fund balance goes up when revenues are greater than expenses, and goes down when funds are appropriated (i.e., transferred) to pay for expenses. The proposed budget calls for $1,538,258 in fund balance appropriations from the Water and Sewer Fund to pay for sewer lift station repairs, and $316,559 in fund balance appropriations from the BPART fundBPART funds are derived from the Occupancy Tax generated from rental properties and are primarily intended to support beach protection and other vacation resort related expenses.

The third important aspect of the budget is the amount of long-term debt.  The Town currently has significant debt related to the Town Hall and Emergency Operations Center buildings, the sewer system, and the Central Reach project.  The amount of debt determines the annual expenses needed to pay off the loans, and also impacts the ability to take out and pay for any new loans. The proposed budget does not include any new debt.

At their meeting last Tuesday, May 21st, the Commissioners unanimously passed a motion to reduce taxes to the revenue neutral rate.  The Town Manager will revise the budget accordingly and will present it in final ordinance form for approval at the June 18th meeting; however, the Budget Message will not be revised, so the only opportunity to review and comment on the final budget will be at the June 18th meeting, just prior to it being voted on for approval and adoption.   

If you would like to provide the Commissioners with your input regarding next year’s budget, please contact them before it is too late to make changes. 

May 28, 2019
by HBPOA
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May Board of Commissioners Meeting

Board of Commissioners’ Meeting Follow Up – May 2019

TOWN OF HOLDEN BEACH

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS’ REGULAR MEETING

HOLDEN BEACH TOWN HALL – PUBLIC ASSEMBLY

TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2019 – 7:00 P.M.

1.  Invocation

2.  Call to Order/ Welcome

3.  Pledge of Allegiance

4.  Agenda Approval  Approved as amended.  Item 16 was removed due to illness and an Executive Session was added to the end of the meeting.

5.  Approval of Minutes  All Approved

a.  Minutes of the Special Meeting of March 28, 2019

b.  Minutes of the Special Meeting of April 12, 2019

c.   Minutes of the Regular Meeting of April 16, 2019

d.  Minutes of the Special Meeting of April 19, 2019

6.  Public Comments on Agenda Items None

7.  Recognition of PAR Course Eagle Scout Project, Todd Robbins – Christy Ferguson  Todd’s project added gravel to the PAR course.

8.  Recognition of International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Award of  Credentialed Manager Status to Town Manager Hewett – Tommy Combs, ICMA Senior Advisor Town Manager approved to join group that provides mentoring and advice to other Town Managers based on experience and education.

9.  Lockwood  Folly  Inlet  Sedimentation  Analysis  Presentation – Fran Way, Applied Technology & Management  Mr. Way presented findings of an engineering study done to show that sand from Lockwood Folly Inlet should be placed on the East End of Holden Beach instead of Oak Island.  Sand from the last project was placed by the Corps of Engineers on Oak Island’s west end, which is accretional.

10. Fire Department Update – Fire Chief Doug Todd David Ward reported for Chief Todd.  Department had 1429 calls in 2018, 211 (15%) were on the island.  Asking for no increase in fees for 2019.  Staffing on Island begins May 24, 7am-7pm.  Did not discuss letters.

a.  Letter of Support for West End Access

b.  Letter of Support for Second Water Tower

11. Police Report – Chief Jeremy Dixon There were 14 incidents last month including breaking and entering and larceny.  Owners are returning to houses to find they were broken into during the winter.  There were 15 traffic stops and one DWI.  Pets are now prohibited from the strand between 9:00am and 5:00pm.  Beach equipment must also be removed.

12. Discussion and Possible Action on Status of 2018 Audit – Mayor Pro Tem Fletcher  A draft of the 2017-2018 audit has been received.  Town Manager needs to prepare management summary and response to items that were found in the audit.  He plans to submit this next week.

13. Discussion and Possible Action – Review of Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020 Budget Message – Commissioner Freer wants the budget to be revenue neutral, that rate is $0.20/$100.  He would also like to see the fund balance ratio improve and not take money from the BPART fund.  Commissioner Sullivan would like to reduce the tax rate even further, an additional two cents to $0.18/$100.  After discussion, Commissioner Sullivan made a motion to reduce the proposed tax rate which didn’t receive a second.  Motion was made to reduce to revenue neutral rate, which carried unanimously.  Town Manager will go back and revise budget accordingly.

14. Receipt of Inlet and Beach Protection Board Report – Commissioner Freer Received.  Board’s ongoing work was discussed and members were thanked.

15. Discussion and Possible Action – Construction Management Services of the Vacuum Sewer System #4 Upgrade Status Report – Public Works Director Clemmons  Contract for Station #3 (800 OBW block) was received but not yet reviewed.  This station will be more difficult and costly due to acoustic engineering required. 

16. Discussion  and  Possible Action on  Proposed  Ordinance for  Maximum House  Size  Construction  – Planning Director Evans Postponed to next month due to illness.

17. Discussion and Possible Scheduling of a Date for Interviews for Inlet & Beach Protection Board Vacancy – Town Clerk Finnell Scheduled for prior to next BOC meeting, June 18, 2019.

18. Discussion and Possible Action on Ordinance 19-08, An Ordinance Enacting and Adopting a Supplement to the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Holden Beach – Town Clerk Finnell  Housekeeping issue, approved unanimously.

19. Town Manager’s Report  The Town received a CAMA grant for $21,000 for a walkway and a reimbursement from FEMA for some of the storm damage from last year’s storms.  Summer Concerts start this weekend.  The Splash Pad will be open this weekend.  Island-wide roll back of trash cans began today.  Recycling becomes weekly as of next Tuesday.  Trash cans on the beach were being added today.

20. Mayor’s Comments  Has had some calls about smoking on the beach.  Expects a large crowd this weekend.

21. Board of Commissioners’ Comments   Mayor Pro Tem Fletcher discussed the turtle nesting. Commissioner Sullivan thanked attendees and passed along Commissioner Kwiatkowski’s apologies for her absence.  Commissioner Butler encouraged everyone to be safe this weekend.  Commissioner Freer also encouraged safety in light of the rip current dangers.

22. Public Comments on General Items  Ashley Royal shared some general thoughts about the meeting.

23. Adjournment  The Board went into executive session for advice from their attorney.  No action was taken.

May 19, 2019
by HBPOA
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Memorial Day Meeting is this Saturday

Memorial Day MeetingPlease join us

Saturday, May 25 at 10:00 am

We will hear from Town officials about current events at Holden Beach and what to expect over the summer season.  We will also give updates on the projects HBPOA is working on.  Hope to see you there!

April 15, 2019
by HBPOA
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Easter Meeting

HBPOA Easter Meeting

Saturday, April 20 at 10:00 am

Town Hall Meeting Room

Join us for an update on what has happened over the winter and what is coming up in the next few months.