There will be a campaign for two open seats on the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen this fall as one member is not seeking re-election and three candidates have filed for two open seats on the board.
Meanwhile, Wrightsville Beach Mayor Bill Blair filed for re-election for his third two-year term, with no other candidates yet declared. The New Hanover County candidate filing deadline is July 21, 2017.
After having served two terms, Alderman Lisa Weeks said that she would not seek a third term on the board.
“I’ve enjoyed my experience serving on the board but I think it’s time to give someone else an opportunity,” Weeks said.
The candidates for the open board seats include one incumbent, Henry “Hank” Miller, III., a local commercial real estate broker who’s been on the board since 2013. In seeking his second term, Miller said that the town was on the right direction, but the board would still had several critical issues to over the coming months.
“The last four years have been productive, but there are still things I want to get done,” Miller said. “The town has had a really good model, we’ve been able to put quite a bit of money away each year.”
In addition to continuing to grow the town’s funds, Miller said that the town’s water quality would be an issue, especially as it evaluates whether to work more closely with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority in light of the controversy over the revelation of the chemical GenX in the water supply. Miller also said that continuing to extend funding for beach renourishment and completing the future land use map were important priorities as well.
The other two candidates would be newcomers to the board, including Ken Dull, the chairman of the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board, and Pat Bradford, owner and publisher of Wrightsville Beach Magazine, as well as the former publisher of Lumina News and real estate broker.
Dull, owner and president of commercial construction firm McKinley Building Corporation, said he offers extensive experience on through service on planning boards throughout the county.
Dull has served on a range of civic institutions around New Hanover County, including six years service on each the Wilmington Planning Commission and the New Hanover County Planning Board. He also has experience on the Wilmington Business Development Board and the Housing Authority Board.
“The town is on the right track and I feel it’s my time to help keep things in Wrightsville Beach moving in the right direction,” said Dull, who has lived at or owned property on Wrightsville Beach for 30 years and has been a full-time resident of the town for the past six years.
In light of the water issues, Dull said that his experience as the chairman of the town’s ad-hoc water committee was. The town is studying how to improve water quality and reliability, which could include either buying water from CFPUA, with results of an engineering study expected soon.
“Water is at the forefront of all of our minds and it’s important that we’re doing the right thing for Wrightsville Beach,” he said.
Bradford, a Wrightsville Beach resident for two decades, said she decided to run for board after selling her ownership stake of Lumina News, freeing her from any conflict of interest that covering the town as a journalist would create for a candidate or alderman. Bradford touted her two decades experience of covering town issues, arguing it provided her with a deep historical perspective.
“I have closely followed the town’s government for over 20 years. Now it is time for me to help shape the town from the other side of the council dais,” said Bradford, a graduate of Appalachian State University. “I know the town, its businesses, its residents, visitors and issues well.”
In seeking a third term as mayor, Blair said that there were a handful of issues he was working on closely that could be disrupted with a change of leadership. They include developing a plan for the water system and the CFPUA, negotiating a deal to move the town’s ABC Spirits store to a new location and securing a long-term beach renourishment funding arrangement.
“A lot of these issues are taking longer than we would like and it would be difficult to put someone new in the middle of a long-term deal,” Blair said.
The election is scheduled for Nov. 7, 2017.
Editor’s Note: Bradford sold her ownership of Lumina News on Feb. 23, 2017 and currently has no editorial authority at the publication.