Islanders in March discuss proposed tram service in conjunction with passenger ferry service.

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The Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board will review 14 applications from island nonprofits requesting a total of $463,000 tonight at 7 p.m. in the Community Center.

 According to Bob Chestnut, chair of the board, $380,000 will be available for distribution for fiscal year 2017 to 2018.

Thirteen organizations typically request grants.

A new request is from the Hyde County government for $70,000 over two years to fund operating costs of a proposed a tram service when the passenger ferry service begins in 2018. The county is seeking $35,000 each for 2016 to 2017 and $35,000 for fiscal year 2017 to 2018, according to documents on its website. 

County officials held meetings in February and March for island input about this proposed addition to the island’s transportation choices.

According to the online documents on the county’s website, the following are highlights of the plan:

  • Offer fare-free open air tram service for passenger ferry riders only;
  • Service will consist of one route consisting of departure from the Silver Lake terminal along Irvin Garrish Highway to the Hyde County Sheriff’s office with a return route that travels along Back Road;
  • Two trams running the one route with sufficient back up trams on standby;
  • Eight stops along the route which are pull out type stops with no stopping in the travel lane;
  • Operations to be managed on a contract basis with Hyde County Transit, an approved Community Transportation provider operating since 1987;
  • This request is for a portion of 2018 operations costs only. Funding beyond 2018 will not rely on the current Occupancy

Occupancy tax funds derives from a 3 percent tax on top of the 6.75 percent state sales tax added to all lodging costs.  By law, Hyde County receives 10 percent of the total amount collected each year to administer the fund.

To view Hyde County Manager Bill Rich’s executive summary of the Ocracoke tram funding request, click here.

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