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General News

Pender County Addresses Ongoing Investigation Involving Clerk of Court

Pender County confirms that they do not have any information regarding the ongoing investigation involving the Pender County Clerk of Court. Notably, the Clerk of Court is an elected position employed by the State of North Carolina, along with all courthouse staff positions. The Clerk of Court is not a Pender County employee.

As of February 28, 2024, Pender County has not received updates or specific details related to the investigation. The county is committed to transparency and will share pertinent information with the public as it becomes available.

It is imperative to emphasize that the Pender County Clerk of Court holds an elected office, and their employment status differs from that of courthouse staff. All courthouse staff positions, including the Clerk of Court, are employed by the State of North Carolina.

Pender County recognizes the importance of addressing matters of public interest responsibly. The county urges patience and refraining from drawing conclusions, allowing the investigative process to unfold.

SFEA Honors Pender County Events with 2024 Kaleidoscope Awards

BURGAW – Six Pender County events and festivals received recognition from the Southeast Festival and Events Association’s annual Kaleidoscope Awards.  The Kaleidoscope Awards spotlight the best and the brightest in the Southeastern United States Events and Festivals industry as a part of the SFEA Conference hosted by Jekyll Island this year.

“Every year, the ideas presented in the Kaleidoscope Awards applications get more creative, the initiatives submitted get more innovative and inclusive, the competition gets stiffer, and pool of incredible events spreads across the region. A rising tide lifts all boats, and we’re all headed up!” said Jamie McCormick, Operations Manager for SFEA.

The Kaleidoscope Award categories are diverse, covering just about every aspect of the industry, including vendors and suppliers.  Pender County Events and Festivals competed in a variety of categories against a record number of applications spanning 30 organizations from nine states and received honors in five different categories.

Gold, Best Green Initiative:  Ocean Fest
Silver, Best Event Video:  Ocean Fest
Silver, Best Event T-Shirt:  Autumn with Topsail
Silver, Best Event Mascot:  Blueberry from the North Carolina Blueberry Festival
Bronze, Best Event Program:  The Anniversary Celebration of the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge
Bronze, Best New Event:  Juneteenth

“We are incredibly pleased so many Pender County Events and Festivals received honors from the SFEA,” says Stephanie Key, with Pender County Tourism.  “These awards recognize our exceptional events. It demonstrates that we host some of the most outstanding events and programs in the southeast. The awards honor the dedicated individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes to make these events a success.”

Pender County Tourism has been a member of The Southeast Festivals & Events Association since 2021.  The SFEA is a membership-based organization composed of festival and event planners, venues, and industry service providers whose goal is to strengthen the industry by hosting educational sessions, networking opportunities, award programs and additional events throughout the year, thus allowing for continued professional growth of members.

For more information about the SFEA visit online at https://sfea.wildapricot.org/main

 

Pender County Utilities and CFPUA Collaborate for a Reliable Water Supply Along Highway 421 Corridor

Pender County Utilities and Cape Fear Public Utilities (CFPUA) have come together to proactively establish a robust and reliable interconnection along the Highway 421 corridor located across from the former BASF plant at the county line between Pender County and New Hanover County. The goal of this collaborative effort is to ensure that all customers along the corridor have access to a reliable and continuous supply of water. To achieve this goal, both organizations have arranged for primary and backup water sources, which can provide water to customers without any interruption, even in the case of a line break. This collaborative initiative demonstrates both organizations’ commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable, and uninterrupted water services to their customers.

“We are delighted to announce that the upcoming interconnection will provide numerous benefits to all our valued customers. Our objective is to deliver a seamless and uninterrupted experience to business owners operating along the 421 corridor, said Anthony Colon, Pender County Utilities Executive Director; this will allow businesses to focus on their core operations with complete peace of mind, knowing that their water needs are being taken care of.”

The project involves digging a hole under Highway 421 to establish a connection between the two water connections. The excavation work is expected to last for less than two days and is not expected to cause any disruptions to the traffic. However, the project completion date has been set for the spring of 2025. The project marks a significant infrastructure upgrade and, upon completion, will ensure a more efficient and reliable water supply for the area.

Information on Solid Waste Decals

If you’re interested in Solid Waste Decals for Pender County, we have some helpful resources for you. You can visit the solid waste webpage to locate the solid waste centers in your area and find out what items are accepted. If you need to update your mailing address, the address change letter form, is a quick and easy way to make changes. And if you’re looking for the latest tax information, the tax webpage is a great place to stay informed.

Pender County Commissioners Oppose North Carolina Homeowners’ Insurance Rate Increase

The North Carolina Rate Bureau has filed a request with the North Carolina Department of Insurance that proposes to increase homeowners’ insurance rates statewide by an average of 42.2 percent effective August 1, 2024. To view the letter to the Commissioner of Insurance, click here.

If approved by the North Carolina Department of Insurance, homeowners’ insurance rates in Pender County would increase by 99 % for properties located in beach communities and increase by 71.4 % for properties located in eastern coastal areas of Pender County.

The Pender County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution at the January 16th meeting opposing the proposed increase in homeowner’s insurance rates by the North Carolina Rate Bureau. A certified copy of the resolution was sent to the office of North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, Mike Causey.

In this resolution, the Board states that “it is of the opinion that the North Carolina Rate Bureau’s requested increase is inequitable, disproportionate, and unjustified, and will likely harm Pender County, its residents, its tourism industry, the welfare and property of the County’s residents and property owners, and economic development in Pender County.”

The North Carolina Rate Bureau represents companies that write insurance policies in the state and is a separate entity from the NC Department of Insurance. The North Carolina Department of Insurance is a state agency, and they negotiate with the

To view a PDF of the resolution, please click here.

 

A public comment period is required by law to give the public time to address the proposed rate increase. Public comment period ends February 2nd, 2024.

Emailed public comments should be sent to: 2024Homeowners@ncdoi.gov.

Written public comments must be addressed to 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1201 and must be received by Kimberly W. Pearce, Paralegal III by Feb 2.

Pender County to begin field work for 2026 tax reappraisal. Here’s what you need to know

Pender County, NC– The Pender County Tax Department will begin field work for the 2026 Countywide revaluation on Pender County properties starting the week of January 15, 2024. Field appraisers will visit every parcel of land in Pender County (approximately 54,000), including residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial land, to update property characteristics.

A reappraisal is the process of updating all real property (land, buildings, and other improvements to land) values across the county to reflect the current market value as of the revaluation date. Pender County’s next reappraisal will be effective January 1, 2026. It will consider improvements to the land and the property’s exterior condition in the reappraisal.

During the reappraisal field work, our field appraisers will visit every home to measure each property structure and take updated photos of each property. They will knock on every door to reach the homeowner and leave a door hanger on every house or in the hands of anyone they contact on the property.

Field appraisers may have to visit one property multiple times throughout the year for various reasons. If you obtained any permits for your property over the past year, they will visit your property to verify any changes you made. They will also visit your property once for the reappraisal sometime in the next 12-14 months. We apologize if this causes any inconvenience, but to ensure properties are appropriately valued, we need to conduct these visits separately for the current tax year and the reappraisal year. If the homeowner is absent during the visit and the property is fenced, our appraisers will not enter the area. In such cases, the property will be appraised using satellite imagery. Please note that appointments will NOT be made for field inspections.

Members of the reappraisal team can be identified by the following:

  • Their vehicle will be marked with the Pender County logo.
  • Appraisers will be wearing high-visibility vests with the Pender County logo.
  • Appraisers will carry Pender County-issued identification badges.
  • Appraisers will leave a red door hanger at each home (either with the person they contact or on the front door) to give some information about why we are there, along with our office contact information.

“My goal for the 2026 tax reappraisal is transparency and to ensure taxpayers are provided with the information they need to understand the process. The reappraisal is not a tax rate increase. The tax rate is set during the annual budget and is set by the Board of County Commissioners,” said Pender County Tax Administrator Melissa Radke.

A field appraiser is expected to visit each parcel between January 2024 and February 2025. The new tax values will be reflected in the 2026 tax bill.

North Carolina law requires all counties to reappraise real property once every eight years to verify that the tax information shown on properties is accurate. Counties may set their revaluation schedule to every four years if voted on by the Board of Commissioners. Pender County was previously on an eight-year cycle, but the Board of Commissioners has moved up the reappraisal schedule by one year and will now conduct reappraisals every four years.

Pender County hires Olivia Dawson as Tourism Director

PENDER COUNTY – Pender County has hired Olivia Dawson as their new Tourism Director.

Olivia Dawson

Dawson is a Pender County native. She has been a Tourism Assistant for Pender County for six years in a period of unprecedented growth for the county’s tourism sector.

In her role as Tourism Director, she will guide a team in the development and execution of all tourism-related activities to promote visitation to Pender County. Dawson will oversee the Pender County Tourism Visitor Center’s marketing, sales, and operation.

Dawson has served as the Festival Coordinator and Executive Director of the North Carolina Blueberry Festival, which draws over 40,000 people annually. She is currently the director of The North Carolina Blueberry Scholarship Pageant. This program provides scholarships to young women in Eastern North Carolina. She is co-chair of Pender County Long Term Recovery Group, a long-term recovery group formed due to Hurricane Florence.

As a result of her involvement in the community, she was nominated a Woman to Watch in 2018. Dawson was recognized by the North Carolina Festival & Events Association in 2019 as Festival Director of the year. In 2020, she was a 40 under 40 honoree. Dawson made history a few years ago when she was elected Burgaw’s first female mayor. She is also one of the youngest to hold the office.

“I have no doubt she will do a wonderful job, and I look forward to working with her in her new position as tourism director,” said Pender County Manager David Andrews. “After working with Mrs. Dawson as Tourism Assistant and Mayor of Burgaw, I know she is the most talented and dedicated person for the position,” said Andrews. “As a Pender County native, she will be a great resource for the position as she knows all the great things we have to offer.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to lead Pender County’s Tourism, building on the record of innovation and success that has made us a leader in the North Carolina travel and tourism industry,” says Dawson. “I look forward to continuing to build with the Pender County Tourism team, the Tourism Development Authority (TDA), the Board, local businesses, and the many community stakeholders who make Pender County special.”

Dawson will fill the role vacated by Tammy Proctor, who is retiring after nine years of leadership as Pender County’s Tourism Director. Dawson begins her new role in Pender County on December 3, 2023.

Pender County Commissioners Approve Hospital Ownership transfer to Novant Health; Closing anticipated by mid-October

Pender County Commissioners Approve Hospital Ownership transfer to Novant Health; Closing anticipated by mid-October

Last night the Pender County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize the transfer of Pender Medical Center in Burgaw to Novant Health. This transfer is part of a larger plan to increase access to health care services across Pender County. As part of the agreement, which was announced in June, Novant Health will invest $50 million to improve the hospital over the next 10 years.

When the transaction is finalized by mid-October, Pender County will retain a majority of representatives on the hospital’s board of trustees.

Novant Health Pender Medical Center is a 25-bed critical access hospital with 43 skilled nursing home beds in Burgaw. The hospital offers a range of services including emergency care, surgery, imaging, infusion therapy and skilled nursing, in addition to Novant Health Home Care.

See below for media statements from Novant Health and Pender County:

  • “We are thrilled to celebrate this landmark agreement with Pender County Commissioners that secures a healthier future for the entire community. A strong team is already in place at Novant Health Pender Medical Center, and we look forward to building on their legacy of care in the years to come.” -Jeff Lindsay, executive vice president and chief operating officer
  • “This is an exciting and historic day for Pender County, as we take another step toward improving Pender Medical Center in Burgaw to be a community general hospital within five years. Since the beginning of these negotiations, the Board of Commissioners has been united in securing the best possible future for our hospital and all our citizens, and we have accomplished that by securing a $50 million investment in our hospital that will bring new medical facilities and service providers to Pender Medical Center. The Board’s approval of this agreement today delivers on our promise to ensure the best access and care for all who need it, today and in the future.”- Jackie Newton, Chair of the Board of Commissioners
  • “Our goal is to provide the highest quality healthcare to Pender County’s residents by advancing our community’s health and well-being. With this investment commitment, we will maintain an accessible healthcare destination for our growing community and provide new healthcare career opportunities for our residents.” Wendy Fletcher-Hardee, Vice-Chair of the Board of Commissioners and a county representative appointed to the Pender Medical Center Board of Trustees
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