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Kure Beach gets sand replacement money from neighbors

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TWC News: Kure Beach gets sand replacement money from neighbors
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CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. -- One New Hanover County beach town is sending some of its sand dollars south.

The Carolina Beach Town Council voted Monday to transfer their state renourishment funds to their neighbor Kure Beach, who was left out of the state budget.

In the past, Carolina and Kure Beach were under the same umbrella for the distribution of beach renourishment funds.

"I really don't think our board would have committed to borrowing $2 million at 1 percent or 1.5 percent interest because it's just sand, one storm can wash it away," said Kure Beach Mayor Dean Lambeth.

So the town looked to their neighbor to the north for some help and they got it. Carolina Beach town is giving them nearly $1.2 million of their state funding. This way both towns have enough sand dollars to cover their beaches.

"It's a win-win situation for both towns," said Lambeth.

Officials said by renourishing both beaches at the same time, they not only get to share the mobilization costs but the project tends to be more stable.

"The longer the renourishment project, the longer it last; that's just an engineering function," said New Hanover County Commissioner Rick Catlin

Officials said the downside to all this is the county is going to have to pull more money from the room occupancy tax.

An interlocal agreement between the county and the three beach towns allows just over 80 percent to come from the room tax and the town has to come up with the other 17.5 percent.

Officials said they didn't expect to dip into this so soon.

"We need to have that fund last for a minimum of thirty years but if we have to start putting in more and more towards projects then that fund will dwindle," said Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens.

In this case, officials said as much as $9 million come from the room tax and Kure Beach would use the transferred funds to pay their portion.

"We really thought it would happen down the road so we could locally save up that 17.5 percent, so that's what put us in the crisis here," said Catlin.

County commissioners approved allocating the needed room occupancy tax funds and lending Kure Beach their portion until the transfer goes through.

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