CAROLINA BEACH — The Town of Carolina Beach has several candidates running for multiple positions including Mayor as well as Town Councilmembers.
Port City Daily has emailed all of the candidates a list of the same questions and will be publishing their answers throughout the week. Answers are unedited except for formatting.
There are four candidates running for mayor — a position that will be vacated by Joe Benson who is not running for reelection.
There are two spots on Town Council up for grabs with five candidates.
Why do you want to be mayor/town council member?
I am extremely involved in the town of Carolina Beach. I’m on four separate committees that consist of the Operations Committee, Police Advisory Committee, Ad Hoc Power Line Committee, and the Ad-Hoc Land Use Plan Committee.
With my 25 years of management experience and background with Apple, I’ve managed over 600 people with a budget of 255 million. My leadership and budgeting experience would be a great asset to Carolina Beach.
The budgeting process is extremely important and losing 3 town managers in 7 years is unacceptable. My experience in hiring C-level talent, along with running a multi-faceted business would be a major benefit for this town. The decisions we make today might not affect us for years to come. It is vital we make the correct decisions today.
What are your priorities for Carolina Beach, what do you think needs to be addressed and what do you think the town currently does well?
The Town of Carolina Beach has had a federally funded Coastal Storm Risk Management program for over 50 years. Every 3 years, the project covers beach nourishment for 2.7 miles of our shoreline with a cost of around 10 million dollars, funded by the Federal Govt. The citizens do not pay a dime. This program expires in December 2020 it is vital to our communities that we renew the Federal funding.
Not having a Town Manager at the present time is critical. We must hire a Town Manager with experience. His main responsibility is managing the budget making sure that our tax dollars are allocated properly.
Infrastructure – The town has done a good job with the infrastructure project. We spent a lot of money in a short period of time and many projects are put on hold. It is important that we continue our efforts and do not Band-Aid issues that accrue. It is not cost effective and cost is doubled. We have a lot of infrastructure that is 50,60,70 years old and needs to be addressed.
Connectivity – The town has done a great job and it needs to continue. The new Greenway, along with Cape Fear Blvd is amazing. Connectivity, along with planting trees will keep our town feeling like home. The more trees we plant the better.
How would you like to see the issues at Freeman Park solved? (Erosion, overcrowding, land disputes with private owners)
Mother nature will determine this answer. The 300-acres are truly beneficial for our town culture, environment, and financial needs. It brings in nearly 1.9 million dollars and we need to look at where we could get additional income someplace else if things should change. Hence the Town Manager. We need to manage the overcrowding on a day-to-day basis, once again, it depends on Mother Nature.
Parking rates and other costs like passes to the park have steadily risen to account for increased spending by the town, do you think it is fair to pass these costs to visitors that the town relies on to survive instead of raising taxes for residents? Would you like to see parking fees decreased?
I do think it’s fair to pass the cost on to the visitors. Carolina Beach is a great beach town and a deal compared to other coastal communities. Why should our residents have to pay for there vacation?
Speaking of parking, what are your plans to help solve parking woes? Would you consider a parking deck a viable option?
Parking is the single biggest customer service issue, or lack of customer service issue we have in this town. We currently have 660 parking spots with the good possibility of losing 80 parking spots due to the eventual leveling of the blue building on the corner of Lake Park & Cape Fear. We have 880+ golf carts with 4 golf cart parking spaces in the whole town. We need to create green space and alternative spaces for GC’s. I am not in favor of a parking garage at this time. The parking issue affects the town for about 100 days of the year and the cost of a parking deck would be absorbent.
With the firing of two town managers in a year, what qualities would you look for in a new manager? How could these issues be avoided in the future?
- Do they have previous Town Manager experience?
- Do they have coastal environmental knowledge?
- Do they have budget experience?
- Do they have experience in a town with our influx of population throughout the year?
How would you balance moving the town forward in terms of economy and new business/condos/homes and maintaining the ‘small-town’ vibe of Carolina Beach?
The town is growing. The question is, how do we grow and still maintain the small-town feel. New business/condos/homes are good for the economy and will keep taxes low. Downtown in the next couple of years will have numerous multi-use condos and we have to do our best to keep local business on the bottom floor. We have to come up with an ecstatic plan for downtown to keep it quaint. To keep the small-town vibe we have to continue the connectivity of our town. Multi-use paths, trees, farmers market, fireworks, concerts, bingo, events at the lake and beach are just a few things that need to continue to expand
Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or your hopes for Carolina Beach?
I am retired and do not have any self-interest to influence any of my decisions. The decisions I make on Town Council will be for the citizens of Carolina Beach. I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 5th.