Emerald Isle residents and visitors face fee increases

EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WITN) – The Emerald Isle Board of Commissioners approved updated fees during a budget workshop that will take effect on July 1st and generate an additional $12,000 on user base services.

Emerald Isle’s finance director says that fees are looked at periodically and even though they haven’t been raised in several years, the town board believes that now is the time for an increase.

“We’re just trying to counteract some of the inflationary impacts we’ve seen recently and trying to balance our budget overall. So that was part of the reason for those fee increases. So we try to keep it as minimal as possible,” says finance director Laura Rotchford.

Some key fee increases include a $25.00 increase in golf cart permits and no longer any discount on LSV carts or commercial cart rentals. Park and recreation membership fees increase by an additional $25.00 annually, child care service fees increase will rise by $25.00, the tennis court membership fee will increase to $100.00, and a standard hourly rate of $4.00 for parking will be implemented.

One Emerald Isle resident says it’s no surprise that fees are increasing, just like everything else seems to be.

“It’s kind of ridiculous. But you know, I kind of have to get through it sometimes. Groceries are going up, drink prices are going up, and even the parking fees here have gone up a lot. But you know, you just have to get through it,” says Emerald Isle resident Olivia Feagans.

There is some relief, however. Rotchford says the board is primarily focused on user base service fees and not increasing other fees for residents.

“No one likes the increases, of course. So our tax rate is staying the same, so we’ve got a flat tax rate, so that’s important. We only have a $5.00 per year increase in our solid waste fees. So, we’re just trying our best to keep it balanced,” says Rotchford.

Emerald Isle residents have mixed feelings when hearing the news but understand the increase in fees. One resident says that the fee increase isn’t too outrageous and trusts the board members to make the right decision.

For more information on the fee increase and the changes in the fees, click here.