EMERALD ISLAND – The Carteret County Beach Commission, at its Monday meeting, explored the idea of bringing in a second person to work at the Shore County Protection Office.
The concept is to at some point hire a water resources and resilience manager under the direction of the director of the shoreline protection office, Greg Rudolph. In theory, this person could handle waterway dredging projects and perhaps other issues unrelated to beach nourishment.
Funding and developing and managing beach restoration projects was the intention of the office when it was established in 1997, but the scope of tasks has widened.
In addition, the Commissioners, at their meeting in Emerald Isle, discussed the possibility that the person hired would receive in-house training to eventually succeed Mr. Rudolph. He hasn’t said he plans to retire, but in 2027 will mark his 30th year on the job.
“The young man needs help,” said commissioner Doug Guthrie, who represents all of Bogue Banks. “It’s not just about feeding the beaches anymore. There are many more. It is a great asset. “
County Commissioner Jimmy Farrington, a resident of Emerald Isle who sits on the beach commission, backed the concept on Monday. He and others, including President Jim Normile, said there had been a lot of “mission drift” since the county hired Mr Rudolph to take care of beach food in 1997.
These other issues include flood mapping and dredging, as well as coastal resilience planning and responses to increased flooding as climate change and storms become stronger and more frequent.
Mr Farrington said he thought a new position could handle dredging projects “while learning other things. … We need to start this discussion. We have time to begin. “
Mr Rudolph started the county’s beach program long before anyone in the state had anything like it, the county commissioner added.
One problem, however, is that under state law that established the Beach Commission and the Shoreline Protection Bureau, 50% of the revenue generated from the county occupancy tax goes to the reserve for beach food, the other half funding Crystal Coast Tourism. The Development Authority and its budget.
All of Mr. Rudolph’s salary and benefits – $ 113,275 in salary and a total of $ 154,470 with benefits – comes from money allocated for beach restoration activities. His salary next year remains unchanged.
Mr Rudolph said in an interview on Tuesday that it was not clear whether the enabling legislation of the Beach Commission should be changed to pay for a new position not directly related entirely to beach feeding, like his own. was, at least at first.
A few years ago he had an assistant in his office, paid for out of the county general fund. The county could therefore do the same to pay a water resources and resilience manager.
Mr Normile, who is also Commissioner of the City of Emerald, agreed it was time to broaden the discussion about a new position in the office.
“The last thing we want to do is stretch (Mr. Rudolph) too thin,” added commissioner Mike Luther, who represents Indian Beach.
Board members also noted that there is still a possibility that Mr Rudolph, like everyone else, could leave before 2027.
Beach Commission member Larry Baldwin, who represents the county on the panel, agreed with Mr. Farrington and Mr. Normile.
“I don’t think there is a question (a new post) is needed,” he said. “And we need some kind of backup. We are totally dependent on Rudi.
In the past three years alone, Mr. Rudolph has managed three multi-million dollar beach refueling projects, as well as numerous dredging projects. These include the Old Ferry Channel / Deer Creek effort in the western part of the county, the dredging of the harbor channel in Morehead City, and the Atlantic Down East harbor dredging and shore stabilization project.
All were largely paid for with state and federal grants or emergency relief funds secured through Mr. Rudolph’s efforts, and some of the projects overlapped.
Mr. Normile underlined the importance of Mr. Rudolph’s work.
“If we take care of our resources, natural and our people, they will take care of us,” he said.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email [email protected]; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.