Pender County reports progress on floodplain management

BURGAW – Pender County Floodplain Administrator Daniel Adams reported progress on the county’s 34-point mitigation action strategies identified in the Hazard Mitigation Plan.

“Last year Pender County joined the Community Rating System (CRS), which is a FEMA program that provides discounts to flood insurance policyholders in the county for various creditable activities completed by staff,” said Adams. “Each year we have to recertify that we’re continuing to complete the creditable activities that earn points towards those policy discounts.”

One of those activities is a progress report on mitigation action strategies that were identified in the Hazard Mitigation Plan related to floodplain management and providing information to the public.

“We continue to work on all 34 points identified in the Hazard Mitigation Plan,” said Adams.

Among the items in the progress report was the county’s provision to provide information regarding floodplain mapping to help citizens better understand flood risk for their property or a property they may be interested in purchasing.

“We provide this service in person and online,” Adams said.

The Planning Department has two Certified Floodplain Managers on staff who can assist citizens with floodplain development or flood insurance-related questions.

Pender County applies for all available funding from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to assist with the mitigation of severe repetitive loss properties to relocate or remove structures from the floodplain. Pender County submitted 264 applications for property owner assistance under HMGP Matthew and HMGP Florence to mitigate each of these structures from future flood events.

Adams said the progress report is available on the county’s website, www.pendercountync.gov.

Activity 510 - Annual Progress Report Memo

Pender County provides elections brochures and videos

BURGAW – Pender County Board of Elections released eight brochures and videos to provide accurate information in the elections process. These helpful brochures cover topics such as candidate information, voter registration, a voter guide, and an elections guide.

“Using new, free animated software, we created a character named ELIN, which stands for Election Information,” Susan Williams, Pender County Board of Elections director. “ELIN covers election law and provides information on various voting methods.”

Two of the eight videos are now available on the county website, www.pendercountync.gov, at https://www.pendercountync.gov/boe/documents-base/introduction-to-elin-video/ and https://www.pendercountync.gov/boe/did-you-know.

The eight brochures are titled: Welcome ELIN Guide, Candidate Guide, MAT Teams Guide (Multi-partisan Assistance Team), Precinct Official Guide, Elections Guide, Voter Guide, and Registration Drive Guide. The Pender County Board of Elections staff created a guide for children that is filled with fun facts about voting and crossword puzzles.

Williams said the easy-to-follow brochures and the ELIN videos were created to make election law easy to understand and to encourage more people to get involved through MATs Teams, work at a polling booth, how to become a precinct official, or how to become a candidate.

“The Board of Elections has the legal and moral responsibility for protecting the will of the people and our democracy as a concept and form of government,” said Williams. “Pender County Board of Elections is the first step in democracy by providing efficient, fair, and open elections. That is our goal in creating these easy-to-follow brochures.”

The brochures can be found at the Board of Elections, 807 S. Walker St., as well as the Central Administration building’s front entrance, the Burgaw and Hampstead branch libraries, the Hampstead Annex, the county’s social services, health department, and at the tourism office in Burgaw.

For more information call the Board of Elections at 910-259-1220.

Request for Information for an Audio Visual System for the Emergency Operations Center

Pender County Emergency Management is seeking information on replacing our audio/visual system for our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and board room.  The EOC is designed to support emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications activities. Staff meets at the EOC to manage preparations for an impending event or manage the response to an ongoing incident. By gathering the decision makers together and supplying them with the most current information, better decisions can be made.  The county is interested in multiple technology options, ranging from a basic set up to more elaborate options that best utilize modern technology.  The current equipment is over ten years old.  The County is interested in exploring the use of smart boards, video walls, as well as TVs or projection screens to display cable TV, satellite TV and to mirror computer screens—all to be controlled with a single remote.  This Request for Information (RFI) is intended to collect information and recommendations regarding a Audio Visual System for the EOC. Click here for the full RFI # 210713-201.  Responses are due August 13 by 3pm EST to purchasing@pendercountync.gov and/or to Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Management Department, 805 Ridgewood Avenue, Burgaw, NC  28425.  Pender County reserves the right to reject any or all responses.

Request for Proposals for Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Master Plan Update

Pender County, NC is requesting  proposals from qualified vendors for the update of an existing Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan.  The requested plan will update the current 2010 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, providing a 10-year vision for parks, recreation areas, open space, trails, facilities, programing and addressing recommended action items from the Pender 2.0 Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The plan should include research, public involvement, the development of recommendations and implementation measures for acquisitions and development, as well as the identification of recreation service districts, and assignment of monetary value to recreational amenities/units. The selected vendor will have proven experience and knowledge in parks and recreation planning, project management, and effective public involvement processes.   Click here for the full RFP # 210713-202.  Proposals are due August 12 by 3pm EST to Vanessa Lacer, vlacer@pendercountync.gov, Pender County Planning and Community Development Department, PO Box 5, 805 S. Walker Street, Burgaw, NC  28425.

Pender County Courthouse Open House, Aug. 6

BURGAW – The Pender County Board of Commissioners will host an open house of the restored and renovated Pender County Courthouse. The open house is slated for Aug. 6, from 3-5 p.m. At 4 p.m. the commissioners and dignitaries will conduct a brief dedication and installation of a new plaque to celebrate the occasion.

Damaged during Hurricane Florence, the county used the construction period to make the building more resilient.

“Our goal in this construction project is to make this historic building more resilient and preserve it for future generations,” said Allen Vann, Assistant County Manager who oversaw the courthouse project.

The scope of the project included repairing storm damage as well as renovate and relocate new mechanical and electrical systems. The courthouse also required lead and asbestos abatement, ADA improvements, and repair and replacement of plaster work, as well as custom woodworking, a new elevator shaft, and new courthouse seating.

Exterior work included brick repointing as well as replacement, sealing, and painting of weathered wood around the windows, doors, and roofline. Vann added that these measures protect the building from rainwater and moisture.

“A generator has been added that will power up the entire building, including the HVAC system,” said Vann. “Mechanical and electrical equipment were relocated to the main floor from the basement.”

“The courthouse was built in 1938 and has served Pender County for decades,” said George Brown, Chairman of the Board of County Commissions. “We look forward to hosting an open house on Aug. 6, from 3-5 p.m.”

The Pender County Courthouse, built in a Georgian Revival architectural style, features, handsome interior features of raised paneled wainscots and broken pedimented overdoors, as documented by the National Register of Historic Places.

“The public is welcomed to this much anticipated open house,” said Brown.

The Pender County Courthouse is located at 100 S. Wright St. in Historic Downtown Burgaw.

 

Request for Proposals # 210706-200 Unified Communications as a Service

Pender County is Requesting Proposals regarding replacement of our current on-premise Cisco Voice over IP (VoIP) system (the system) with a Cloud-Hosted Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution. The County has identified four (4) main reasons to move from an on-premise system to a Cloud-Hosted and Cloud-Managed system: Continuity of Operations, Mobility, Cost, and Functionality. We are seeking a business partner that can help Pender meet these needs by providing a reliable and cost effective UCaaS solution.

First, the current system provides for little redundancy, no continuity of operations, nor disaster recovery. Should the County be left without operating data centers after the wake of a natural or other disaster, we would have no means of communicating with our customers or business partners. By moving to a Cloud-Hosted/Cloud-Managed Solution, County staff can continue to make and receive calls from anywhere with an internet connection.

Second, the County wishes to provide for a mobile workforce. Our current system is on-premise and requires users to connect via VPN to use a softphone option. In addition, our system does not provide for mobile phone applications, nor can handsets be used outside of the County network. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the County was challenged with continuing operations while allowing staff to Telework. Due to the lack of mobility, staff were required to forward desk phones to their mobile phones, which continuously posed challenges for both staff and ITS. The County wishes to provide users the ability to make and receive calls using smart phone applications, softphones, and handsets using any available internet connection without requiring a VPN or relying on County infrastructure.

Third, the County wishes to move from a Capital Expense model to an Operating Expense model for its Unified Communications; receiving a monthly bill, per user and/or device, rather than costly expenses to maintain an on-premise system. The County currently incurs monthly & annual costs for telco expenses (PRI and Long Distance), Hardware Support & Maintenance (Smartnet), and Software Support & Maintenance (Smartnet). In addition, upgrades to the system are costly, requires third party business partners, requires a great deal of ITS staff time, and causes downtime for end-users. Moving to the cloud would decrease required resources for our on-premise infrastructure and increase ITS staff efficiency.

Finally, the current VoIP system lacks features that the County has identified as a business need. The County’s Call Manager licenses does not include a Call Center ability. Due to the countless calls about the COVID-19 vaccination, the County sought a Call Center as a Service option. This service proved itself as a critical business need for many Departments in the County. In addition, other features such as Paging, Call Recording, and Office 365 Integration would be invaluable to County Operations.

Click here for the full RFP # 210706-200 and the UCaaS Requirements Workbook.  Proposals are due August 13th, 2021 by 5pm EST.  Pender County reserves the right to reject any or all proposals.

Update 7/23/2021:  Click here for all Questions and Answers compiled in Addendum 1.

Update 8/03/2021:  Click here for all Questions and Answers compiled in Addendum 2.

Request for Proposals #37-07-5038 for Stream Clearing and Snagging Services

The Pender County Planning & Community Development Department (Pender County) seeks to establish a contract with an experienced contractor to provide Stream Clearing & Snagging, Debris Removal, and Streambank Stabilization in designated stream locations throughout the County. The primary responsibility of the Contractor will be to perform stream clearing, snagging, woody debris removal, disposal, and streambank stabilization in identified locations of drainage channels in watershed. The proposed work will be conducted in specified stream segments under the supervision of the Pender County Planning & Community Development Department and their designated Construction Field Representatives (CFRs). The purpose of the proposed work is to improve drainage resulting from woody debris deposition caused by Hurricane Florence in September of 2018. The contractor will be tasked with implementing the proposed grant work scope and meeting the requirements developed under the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program. The proposed work shall be funded in part by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) in a grant identified as Contract 37-07-18-5038. The EWP grant was awarded to the County to perform the proposed work in such a manner that reduces imminent threat to life and loss of property in Pender County.  Proposals are due July 23rd, 2021 by 3pm EST to Daniel Adams, Pender County Planning and Community Development, PO Box 5, 805 S. Walker Street, Burgaw, NC  28425.   Click here to download the full RFP including Site Maps and Field Data Reports.  AN ADDENDUM HAS BEEN ISSUED ON 7/14/2021.   NOTE UPDATES:  Site walks/inspections will take place July 22, 2021 at 8:30am EST.  Questions are due July 26, 2021 by 3:00pm EST.  Proposals are due by August 4, 2021 at 4pm EST

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ADDENDUM 1  which changed site walk date.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ADDENDUM 2 which provided clarifications and answers to questions.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ADDENDUM 3 which provided Plans and Specifications, as well as extended the deadline for proposals to August 5, 2021 by 4pm EST to Daniel Adams, Pender County Planning and Community Development, PO Box 5, 805 S. Walker Street, Burgaw, NC  28425.

Bidders are reminded that each of the three Addenda issued for this RFP must be acknowledged in writing, dated, and noted by the bidder on Attachment A: Proposal Form, Item D. Addenda. This required form must be completed and submitted along with other required forms specified in the RFP to assure the submittal is complete.

Pender County reserves the right to reject any/all proposals.

Pender County Emergency Management prepares for Tropical Storm Elsa

PENDER COUNTY – Tropical Storm Elsa will impact the Pender County region tomorrow and into Thursday evening, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.

“On its current track Tropical Storm Elsa has the potential to produce heavy rainfall, flooding, isolated tornadoes, and dangerous rip currents as early as Wednesday night through Thursday evening,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Manager.

“We urge all residents to use caution and be prepared for possible power outages and localized flooding,” he said.

Tropical Storm Elsa has the potential to spawn tornadoes. Residents are urged to stay alert to local weather stations. Residents who have not signed up for the CodeRed alert system, register for free at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/9FB534DFBC93 or call 910-259-1210 for details.

“If a tornado warning occurs in your area, seek shelter in the interior of your home,” said Batson. “Be sure to secure all pets as well.”

Some streets in Pender County are prone to flooding. Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Roadbeds may be washed out under flood waters.

“Never drive through flooded roadways,” said Batson. “You don’t know the condition of the road under the water. Turn Around Don’t Drown is more than a cliché. It is an important warning to heed.”

Tropical Storm Elsa also has the potential of creating dangerous rip currents. Rip currents are channeled currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches. They typically extend from near the shoreline, through the surf zone and past the line of breaking waves.

“Rip currents speeds vary, but at 5 mph, a rip current moves faster than an Olympic swimmer,” said Batson.

“It is the hurricane season,” said Batson. “Residents should review your personal emergency plan and know your evacuation routes.

Check your emergency supply kit, which should contain food, water, prescription medicines, charging cords, batteries, and other essentials to support your family for several days. Be sure to plan for elderly relatives and pets. And make certain your insurance is up-to-date.”

For more information, read our Pender County Emergency Management website, https://www.pendercountync.gov/em/

or our Facebook page.

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Applications period opens July 1 for $79.6 million hurricane disaster relief program for poultry and livestock, plasticulture and forestry producers

Program focuses on losses suffered from Hurricanes Florence, Michael and Dorian

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has received a $79.6 million USDA block grant to assist producers and woodland owners in 90 counties who suffered losses in 2018-2019 from Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Dorian. The application period runs from July 1 to Oct. 1.

This program will offer direct payments to eligible poultry/livestock and plasticulture producers. Assistance will only involve losses associated with these hurricanes that were not covered under other USDA disaster programs.

This program will also offer technical and financial assistance to woodland owners in the emergency-declared counties that were affected by these hurricanes. Comprehensive forest management plans will be offered to those landowners in order to assess the storm impacts to their woodlands and identify beneficial management recommendations.

“Eligibility requirements differ significantly between the agricultural and forestry categories of this block grant,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I would encourage farmers and forest owners who think they may be eligible to check the online links for the agricultural applications or contact their local N.C. Forest Service County Ranger Office for the ‘Woodland Recovery’ component.”

Poultry/livestock and plasticulture producers will need a current and completed IRS W9 form ready to scan into the application. Additionally, growers are encouraged to research and gather any evidence of poultry/swine structure damage and any damage evidence for plasticulture and greenhouses from those specific storms. They should be prepared to scan documents into the application for consideration of payment.

Details about the “Woodland Recovery” program will be available beginning mid-July by contacting a local N.C. Forest Service County Ranger’s office. A list of contacts can be found at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/contacts/contacts_main.htm

For more information, including links to the poultry/livestock and plasticulture applications, visit www.ncagr.gov/agriculturaldisasterprogram or call 1-919-707-3362.

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COVID-19 vaccination appointments are NOW being accepted for everyone 12 years and older. Schedule your appointment in Burgaw or Hampstead. (Moderna vaccine is only approved for age 18 and up.)

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