T<3M – Interning with the Town of Manteo

My internship for the the fall 2018 OBXFS semester has been with the wonderful Town of Manteo.  Centrally located in downtown Manteo, a pleasant 5-minute bike ride from our Manteo home, interning with the Town of Manteo has been one of my favorite parts of this semester.

The Town of Manteo is where all of the magic happens – it’s where public works, planning, police, water and sewer, and special events collide.  The people in Town Hall keep Manteo beautiful and running smoothly, while involving community members and listening to and supporting their ideas.

I’ve been working for Melissa Dickerson; a whip smart, tree hugging individual who is dedicated to her job in her (almost) hometown of Manteo.  Every Monday and every other Wednesday this semester, Melissa and I have been primarily working on the Community Rating System (CRS).  I spent many of my first few days reading up and gaining a better understanding of the complex FEMA program – essentially, communities can participate in CRS through accomplishing certain tasks that prevent the negative impacts of flooding on properties, and, in doing so, they accrue points that add up to a class rating which results in discounted flood insurance premiums for property owners.  The more activities the town completes, the better the discount for flood insurance policy owners.  I’ve helped to examine and understand flood zone maps; write, address, and mail out letters; and keep track of our documentation for our projects. I also participated in some damage assessments following hurricane Michael (pictured).

Photographing damage in Pirate’s Cove after hurricane Michael

While that has been my primary focus, I have also enjoyed seeing how Melissa works and how the town as a whole functions.  I’ve had the opportunity to get to know all of the department heads and understand more about what each of them do – from managing water and sewer to keeping all of the town’s files perfectly organized and accessible, to planning the Christmas celebration.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this local government internship, and I still don’t know if it’s where I’ll end up, but I’ve learned so much in my time with the Town of Manteo and have walked away with an overwhelmingly positive outlook on how local government works and an increased appreciation for all that they do.  This is a result of being a part of a relaxed, community-minded workplace environment.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to live the beautiful outer banks of North Carolina, and I’m so thankful for having the chance to get to know TOM (pictured), and the many friendly faces that make up Manteo Town Hall.

One of my goals was to convince TOM to hang out with me in Melissa’s office, so I was delighted when Kermit Skinner, town manager, captured this photo