2017 Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen Candidate Survey

0

Henry “Hank” Miller, III, 2017 Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen candidate

Henry “Hank” Miller, III

Why are you running for a seat on the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen? Describe how your experience can benefit your work on the board.

I have enjoyed my time serving as a member of the Board. There are issues that we have been working on such as the CAMA Land Use Plan, funding for extending beach nourishment, water supply and water and sewer infrastructure that I would like to continue working on until they are resolved. I have been a resident most of my life and there are three generations of my family that call Wrightsville Beach home. I want to be a part of making sure that my children Henry and Mac can live here reasonably safely and securely as Maggie and I and their grandparents have before them.

I have worked with the Mayor and the remaining Board members for the last four years. Our internal working relationships and those with staff have been exceptional and we have been able to accomplish a lot over my term. We have worked well together on budgets and have been able to add over $5 million dollars to our fund balance during that time and over $2 million to our “sand” fund.

What is the top issue you would seek to address as a member of the board? Speak to only one issue.

Keeping our taxes as low as possible while maintaining quality services, public safety, water and sewer and sand on our beach. We have not raised property taxes since I was elected in 2013.

What are the most significant quality of life issues facing Wrightsville Beach, including traffic, crowds, boating, rental units, crime or nightlife? Are there any specific measures you would promote to address these issues?

It is our job as Alderman to try and find a balance within the framework of things we can control. The population in Wilmington and the surrounding area continues to grow. We need to be proactive in our planning to try and reduce the pressures on our Town. First and foremost, we must insist that our laws and ordinances are enforced. We have budgeted additional monitoring cameras and manpower in the downtown areas. We continue to improve our pedestrian crosswalks. The speed limits have now all been lowered to 35 mph maximum including the approach to the drawbridge.

One measure that we have implemented since I became Alderman was to eliminate any new events requested to be held during the “season.” The main reason was to limit the impact on our residents and Town during the summer and to encourage new events in the shoulder season for our commercial businesses.

Are there town government programs or areas of spending that need to be expanded or cut? Describe any changes to town spending you believe are needed, including specific ideas on finding new revenue or cutting town services.

Our two main sources of revenue are property taxes and parking fees. We have not raised our hourly parking rates since 2014. We have worked diligently with the Town manager and staff during the annual budgeting process to find ways to cut spending without affecting the overall services to our residents. We will continue that effort in earnest.

With several vacant commercial lots in Wrightsville Beach, should the town permit undeveloped or underutilized commercial property to be used for primarily residential developments? Should the town’s current 40-foot building height limit be loosened to encourage commercial development?
It’s up to the Owners of the commercial property to plan and propose redevelopment for consideration. The 40 foot building height limit has been around for a long time now and most residents seem to be comfortable with it. The market drives commercial and residential development.

Two new developments proposed for vacant commercial properties were just approved for redevelopment by the Planning Board and will come to the Board of Alderman at its next meeting for consideration. I think the Town should encourage commercial development that fits within our land use plan which is currently being updated.

Should the town institute a mandatory curbside recycling program for homeowners? Would short-term renters or condominiums be exempt?

New Hanover County currently manages and pays for the recycling facility located at Town Hall at no cost to Wrightsville Beach. The town manager and public works director and staff have been working on this issue and will present their findings to the Board in an upcoming meeting. My understanding is that there are some technical concerns that they trying to work out with the town attorney. My family and I use the free facility several times a week. While I personally participate in recycling I want to be sure that any plan we consider adds no significant financial burden to the taxpayers.

The proposed plan as I understand would apply to single family and duplex residential properties and condominiums would not be required to participate. Short term renter’s participation would be dependent on what type of property they rent.

Though Wrightsville Beach is an island, we are linked to New Hanover County and Wilmington, in addition to state, regional and federal entities. With whom in government at the county, state, and federal level do you have either a professional or political ongoing relationship? Describe the relationship.

I have lived in this area my entire life. My business career has been focused in Wilmington and throughout North Carolina. I currently serve or have served on numerous business and public service Boards. I have experience in leadership in these organizations which has allowed me to have establish excellent working relationships at the local, state and national level.

I currently serve as a member of the Board of Alderman for the Town of Wrightsville Beach, member of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Board of Trustees, member of the Wilmington Urban Area Transportation Advisory Committee, member of the Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS Government Affairs Committee, Assistant Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Cape Fear Council of Boy Scouts and as Past President of the Board of Directors of the Thalian Association.

Pat Bradford, 2017 Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen Candidate

Pat Bradford

Why are you running for a seat on the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen? Describe how your experience can benefit your work on the board.

I am running for a seat on the board because there are significant issues facing the town, including a proposal to give over the town’s autonomy of its water and sewer system to New Hanover County’s Cape Fear Public Utility (with higher rates.) I have spoken at length with former state representative and environmental engineer Rick Catlin and feel confident he can clean up the one town well on the mainland side infiltrated with GenX from a neighboring well. The town needs to upgrade its own aging water system, and act to construct an alternate sewer main (NEI) to carry sewage to the mainland. The existing pipe now has a dock built over it, with one piling just 3 inches off the line, and in another area, just one foot off the line. A tall sailboat sits at that dock. On an astronomically high tide, a keel or prop could rupture the line at the dock or a commercial or recreational craft could hit any of the other barely submerged locations of the pipe crossing the waterway and create an environmental disaster that would destroy tourism, fishing and our quality of life. Estimates if this occurred over July 4th were for 1.7 million gallons per day of sewage in the water until they could repair the main. A reminder: on July 17, 2005 3 million gallons of raw sewage went into Hewletts Creek. Never again should we have toilet paper, etc. floating past our homes.

I am a strong and principled leader, highly organized, am accustomed to comprehending reports, contracts and spread sheets. I have been in business for over 40 years, more than 20 years in Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington. I understand multimillion dollar budgets, hiring, firing, attracting and retaining quality personnel. I am fiscally conservative. I have strong knowledge in both commercial and residential property. I am comfortable and well versed in the legislative arena at the local, state and federal level. I understand government. My institutional knowledge of Wrightsville is two decades deep. Studying and reporting on the town, its people and issues during the terms of 5 mayors, 5 town managers, plus 2 interim town managers, 2 town clerks, 2 finance officers, 3 police chiefs, 3 fire chiefs, 3 public works directors and an untold host of town staff and board members uniquely qualifies me. I have done the same for our neighbors the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County for at least 15 years.

What is the top issue you would seek to address as a member of the board? Speak to only one issue.

The changing character of our town. I do not want to live in a bedroom community of Wilmington (with no commercial.) The pressure by developers to take commercial property and turn it into residential, which has a higher payout for the developer, has intensified again. Yet, the trend in highly sought out communities in America (that creates high home/condo values) are those with a mix of residential and commercial; to leave the car parked and walk, roll or bike to shops, restaurants, entertainment, and recreation. If developers prevail, residents will be stuck in backed up bridge traffic just to get a loaf of bread, a case of water, or enjoy a fine meal.

What are the most significant quality of life issues facing Wrightsville Beach, including traffic, crowds, boating, rental units, crime or nightlife? Are there any specific measures you would promote to address these issues?

All of the quality of life issues including traffic, crowds, boating, rental units, crime or nightlife are in large part a result of density from across the drawbridge as UNCW, CFCC, Wilmington and New Hanover County grow. The town does not have adequate plans in place for how to deal with the influx of day visitors from Wilmington in the year 2025, much less the influx of students seeking housing or even criminals in that same year. Over the past two decades, the town has been more reactive than proactive. I would like to implement long range planning for how the town will deal with each of these issue 1 year from now, 5 years from now, 20 years out and 30 and 50 years out. Without a plan, all we do is knee-jerk react.

Are there town government programs or areas of spending that need to be expanded or cut? Describe any changes to town spending you believe are needed, including specific ideas on finding new revenue or cutting town services.

I am not sure the town should cut services. Most residents are generally happy with the town’s services.
The town has just three public bathrooms that are open year round, but the board just voted to trying keeping two additional open year round to see how it goes and what related cleaning and maintenance expenses it incurs.

As much money as possible should be socked away for beach renourishment and capital expenses, including police cars, fire trucks, miles of new water pipes.
Attracting and retaining quality employees has been an ongoing issue for my 20 years of studying the board. When elected, I will dig into that.

In some instances, the fines for repeat offenses should escalate dramatically, including dogs off leash, dog waste, parking boat trailers on the medians, and so on.

With several vacant commercial lots in Wrightsville Beach, should the town permit undeveloped or underutilized commercial property to be used for primarily residential developments? Should the town’s current 40-foot building height limit be loosened to encourage commercial development?

The town is facing great pressure by developers to permit residential on commercial sites. If the town goes this route, the town will quickly become a bedroom community of Wilmington. With traffic congestion only increasing more commercial should be encouraged as a convenience to residents and vacationers, not the reverse.

As your elected official I will vote for what the majority of the residents want, not what the developers want. A public hearing needs to be held on this critical issue, however, the CAMA Land Use Survey just done this year revealed a majority of those who completed the survey (over 50% were permanent residents, over 30% were second home owners) were happy with the town’s height limit and mix of residential and commercial.

Should the town institute a mandatory curbside recycling program for homeowners? Would short-term renters or condominiums be exempt?

I believe we should be good stewards of our environment, I personally recycle. By doing curbside recycling, the town would reduce the tonnage of trash hauled to the New Hanover County landfill, which would be environmentally as well as fiscally responsible because the town pays the county a fee for what is dumped there per ton. During the years when Green Coast picked up recycling in the driveway, I paid to have that service at my residence.

That decision will be made by the board of aldermen after taking public input from residents. I am interested in hearing from those who will come out to speak for or against curbside recycling. As I have campaigned, I have heard numerous comments in favor of curbside recycling and questions as to why the town has not done this sooner.
If adopted it would not be possible to exclude certain single family residential properties. Businesses and condo owners that contract for service now would not be included (I have been told.)

Though Wrightsville Beach is an island, we are linked to New Hanover County and Wilmington, in addition to state, regional and federal entities. With whom in government at the county, state, and federal level do you have either a professional or political ongoing relationship? Describe the relationship.

Because of my success during 18+ years of covering local, state and often federal issues affecting the coast as a journalist and publisher, my phone calls and emails are accepted and replied to at the county, state and federal level by elected representatives and paid staff. I have an ongoing professional relationship with this county commission board and the county manager, as well as the sheriff and their respective staffs. I am also on a first name basis with our current state representatives and those who served in the last 15 years in Raleigh. Over the past decade I have made frequent trips to the state capitol in response to pending legislation affecting publishing as well as local issues. When I am in the state legislative buildings, I have been received warmly by elected representatives from all across the state, including the members of our local delegation. In 2005, I was a part of a local delegation that went with Rick Catlin to Washington, DC by train to lobby for beach renourishment. The group included the newly elected mayors of the three beach towns, among others. I have kept a strong congressional relationship ever since and that continues with current elected member from the N.C. 7th congressional district.

Sounia Nejad Chaney, 2017 Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen candidate

Sounia Nejad Chaney

Why are you running for a seat on the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen? Describe how your experience can benefit your work on the board.

I come to you with a diverse background and experience. Maintaining open communication, proactive planning, wise partnerships, and effective team dynamics are skills I have acquired by running a technical consulting firm for over 20 years, and by serving as HOA chair, PTA president, chamber of commerce board member, and EMS volunteer.

I pride myself in always working to exceed expectations in everything I do and in trying to maintain the ethical standards to make my family and community proud.

Lastly, I live by the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self”.

What is the top issue you would seek to address as a member of the board? Speak to only one issue.

Protecting this beautiful and fragile environment by planning for ongoing beach nourishment and insisting on responsible growth while respecting the 40-foot height limit.

What are the most significant quality of life issues facing Wrightsville Beach, including traffic, crowds, boating, rental units, crime or nightlife? Are there any specific measures you would promote to address these issues?

Living in an award-winning town comes with challenges and responsibilities:

  • Protecting this beautiful and fragile setting and our water quality;
  • Insisting on responsible growth and respecting the 40-foot height limit;
  • Insuring that our staff and services are not overburdened.

My duty will be to constantly check that everything runs efficiently and smoothly while assuring wise budget planning and very conservative spending.

I believe in bringing our community together so that we can better support one another. I feel honored to have helped in planning block parties and other activities to break the ice and to build those special bonds among neighbors.

Are there town government programs or areas of spending that need to be expanded or cut? Describe any changes to town spending you believe are needed, including specific ideas on finding new revenue or cutting town services.

The town government programs need to be reviewed as frequently as possible to be sure that they are robust and effective, and new efficient solutions need to be considered especially if they reduce spending. The aging infrastructure will force us to consider maintaining or improving existing solutions such as for water and sewer, or consider outsourcing some or all of the services that could result in a long term cut in spending.

Beach nourishment, pipe across Intracoastal Waterway, and other proactive measures need to continue to be planned for by creating more buffers in the budget.

The parking app that I spoke of to allow visitors to know of available spaces to reduce drive time can be a third party solution that gains revenue through advertising or business partnerships.

Lastly, I believe the new expanded ABC will generate more revenue for the town. And, the possible sale of town owned land over the bridge (near Mayfaire) could be another source of funds that needs to be well invested.

With the current budget of approximately $13M, Wrightsville Beach staff have done a great job of harnessing grants and other opportunities to eliminate new expenses such as for the year around rest room facilities, and it may have to be creative for new needs that come up. For example, possible expansion of weekend life guard coverage through October.

With several vacant commercial lots in Wrightsville Beach, should the town permit undeveloped or underutilized commercial property to be used for primarily residential developments? Should the town’s current 40-foot building height limit be loosened to encourage commercial development?

We need to respect the 40-foot building height limit and work with individuals or developers to find a creative balance for residential, commercial, or mixed use projects, depending on the particular situation and zoning.

Should the town institute a mandatory curbside recycling program for homeowners? Would short-term renters or condominiums be exempt?
Yes, this is long overdue and over 70% of recent survey respondents were in favor of it. And, providing the services for the homeowners is a given for their own use, their guests, and their short-term renters. And, the town needs to work with condominiums to provide them with options based on their space restrictions to house recycle containers while respecting the existing regulations for containers and having them walled as currently required. We are very blessed to have the existing recycling center to allow for an easier transition for the bigger multi-unit properties that need a longer time to set up their on-site recycling solutions.

Though Wrightsville Beach is an island, we are linked to New Hanover County and Wilmington, in addition to state, regional and federal entities. With whom in government at the county, state, and federal level do you have either a professional or political ongoing relationship? Describe the relationship.

It is pertinent to build on relationships with entities near and far to help our community. I have the pleasure of various representatives through my work and civic involvement such as the Rotary. And, I appreciate pre-elections events such as Pork and Politics that brings public officials together so that they can get to know one another and hopefully forge better relationships and partnerships in the future.

I work well with others and look forward to building relationships with counterparts across the globe for the betterment of life at Wrightsville Beach.

Ken Dull, 2017 Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen candidate

Ken Dull

Why are you running for a seat on the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen? Describe how your experience can benefit your work on the board.

I have been a property owner for 25 years and a resident of Wrightsville Beach for most of those years. I have always believed it is my duty to be involved in the places that we live. My experience with NHC, City of Wilmington, and the Town of Wrightsville Beach Planning Boards and other municipal boards have given me insight into finding the quality of life that we all desire.

I also feel like the current leadership has our town moving in the right direction and I would like to help that momentum by continuing my service to the town in a higher leadership role.
I am the President of a local business that has been in business for over 25 years with an annual budget of over 30 million dollars. This undertaking along with many other life experiences has prepared me to help run our town.

What is the top issue you would seek to address as a member of the board? Speak to only one issue.

As chairman of the water/sewer ad-hoc committee, I have gained critical insight into the issue of clean drinking water. The water system has been brought to light due to the Gen-X issue that is crippling both Brunswick County and NHC systems at this time.

As a civil engineer graduate, I feel that I have the expertise to help the town leadership make the right decisions regarding the water we drink and our critical systems that we continue to maintain.

What are the most significant quality of life issues facing Wrightsville Beach, including traffic, crowds, boating, rental units, crime or nightlife? Are there any specific measures you would promote to address these issues?

There is no greater quality of life issue than clean drinking water for the Town of Wrightsville Beach. The other issues mentioned in your question will require ongoing management as we keep Wrightsville Beach the best beach community in North Carolina.

Are there town government programs or areas of spending that need to be expanded or cut? Describe any changes to town spending you believe are needed, including specific ideas on finding new revenue or cutting town services.

I feel the current Board of Aldermen, the Mayor, and the Town Manager have been doing a good job of maintaining a net neutral budget in the recent past. I would continue to help the current leadership find ways to keep our necessary functions funded.

With several vacant commercial lots in Wrightsville Beach, should the town permit undeveloped or underutilized commercial property to be used for primarily residential developments? Should the town’s current 40-foot building height limit be loosened to encourage commercial development?

Through my background as the Chairman of Wrightsville Beach Planning Commission, we have studied many different scenarios that have come before us. We will continue to find the balance between being the Town of Wrightsville Beach and not the subdivision of Wrightsville Beach.

I have learned through my experience on the planning commission, the 40 foot building height limit is important to the citizens of Wrightsville Beach and I believe that rule will stay in place.

Should the town institute a mandatory curbside recycling program for homeowners? Would short-term renters or condominiums be exempt?

I would welcome a recycling program at Wrightsville Beach and how we go about it will take input from many stakeholders throughout the town.

Though Wrightsville Beach is an island, we are linked to New Hanover County and Wilmington, in addition to state, regional and federal entities. With whom in government at the county, state, and federal level do you have either a professional or political ongoing relationship? Describe the relationship.

Since my prior appointments to the City and County Planning Boards, I have always maintained a rapport with most everyone in both the City & County Leadership. They still use me as a sounding board for planning issues because of my expertise and involvement in the past and as stakeholder in the community. I also serve on other local boards with these leaders as we continue together to fight for what is best for Southeastern North Carolina.

I also see and talk to our state representatives along with David Rouzer, our federal representative from time to time. It has always been important to me to have an open personal dialog with our local, state, and federal leaders as an involved citizen and I would continue this relationship as a representative for the Town of Wrightsville Beach.

Pat Prince, 2017 Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen candidate

Pat Prince

Why are you running for a seat on the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen? Describe how your experience can benefit your work on the board.

I have a deep respect for this special area we are entrusted with to protect environmentally and want to be a greater part of that.   I have experience in working in city recreation and state politics as well as campaigns that i can draw on to  help work with the board, as well as my  experience with the Wrightsville Beach Foundation

What is the top issue you would seek to address as a member of the board? Speak to only one issue.

Planning for future growth of the island.

What are the most significant quality of life issues facing Wrightsville Beach, including traffic, crowds, boating, rental units, crime or nightlife? Are there any specific measures you would promote to address these issues?

I feel traffic and bike safety are huge issues which are tied together.  I also feel enforcement of traffic and bike laws need to to increased.

Are there town government programs or areas of spending that need to be expanded or cut? Describe any changes to town spending you believe are needed, including specific ideas on finding new revenue or cutting town services.

I am a proponent of of bidding our parking and all municipal contracts every 4-5 years to make sure we are getting the best price for services needed.

With several vacant commercial lots in Wrightsville Beach, should the town permit undeveloped or underutilized commercial property to be used for primarily residential developments? Should the town’s current 40-foot building height limit be loosened to encourage commercial development?

I believe we need sustainable commercial on the island and each project evaluated individually as to what it brings to the island.

Should the town institute a mandatory curbside recycling program for homeowners? Would short-term renters or condominiums be exempt?

I am a big supporter of curb side recycling and no, short term renters and condos would not be exempt.

Though Wrightsville Beach is an island, we are linked to New Hanover County and Wilmington, in addition to state, regional and federal entities. With whom in government at the county, state, and federal level do you have either a professional or political ongoing relationship? Describe the relationship.

I have friends.

Copyright 2017 Lumina News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Share.

Leave A Reply

WP-Backgrounds by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann