Island Gazette Candidate's Corner: Dan Wilcox for Carolina Beach Mayor

Island Gazette Candidate's Corner: Dan Wilcox for Carolina Beach Mayor

Island Gazette Candidate's Corner: Dan Wilcox for Carolina Beach Mayor Featured

By Gazette Q&A / Local News / Tuesday, 26 October 2021 18:34

Island Gazette: If you return as the Mayor of Carolina Beach, what will be the first thing you do?

Dan Wilcox: My first priorities will be to meet with my fellow council members to create a list of issues candidates expressed during their campaigns, as well as any issues our sitting council members have. Secondly, I will work with our new council and the Town Manager to increase town hall efficiencies. Most of us in the private sector not only worked through the entire Covid timeline, we worked harder than normal due to added hardships. There is no reason our town hall should not have done (and be doing) the same.   

Island Gazette: Do you feel like Carolina Beach Town Staff is working effectively? 

Dan Wilcox: To my disappointment, NO. There are many good people on town staff that I like and respect, but I feel that overall, the ball has been dropped since Covid began. We all needed time to adjust, but then work should have resumed at near normal levels, as quickly as possible. Instead, our town hall was closed for business and productivity suffered.

Not only have stormwater and infrastructure project have stalled, but so too have efforts to plan and fund future projects, like the infrastructure 2nd phase, new water storage-treatment plant, and street improvements. Even basic system maintenance and facility inspections are not being adequately attended to.

Staff recently let our lake dredging permit expire – a permit we worked two years to acquire. Recently the town terminated our parking company for performance issue, but still paid them $36k to end the contract. A contract with the cellular company was also terminate, resulting in a $59k payout. These are taxpayer dollars that should have been protected with properly structured and executed contracts. If a contractor is not performing adequately, they should be terminated “with cause”, not paid to go away.

We need to get our town staff refocused and firing on all cylinders so we can do the citizens business. Enough with the Covid delays, excuses, closures of town hall, and no one answering the phone. We can, and must, do better!

Island Gazette: If not, what will you change?

Dan Wilcox: As stated above, I would work with council, Town Manager, and staff to get our town hall back to efficiency norms, capable of providing the services and follow-through on projects and maintenance the citizens deserve. We’ve gone through 3 town managers in as many years, taxes have increased, and our cash reserves are at a 20-year low. Things need to change. We need to control spending, rebuild our chase reserves, and improve productivity.

Island Gazette: What do you bring back to the table as already serving as Carolina Beach Mayor?

Dan Wilcox: I bring to the table 11 years of P&Z, Council, and Mayor’s experience, and 15 years of community volunteer experience, and a record of accomplishments. I bring an intimate knowledge of the town process and understanding of our critical town and county committees. I bring existing relationships with our county, state, and federal partners, as well as relationships with members of all the committees we deal with on important funding issues, like beach nourishment and inlet dredging.

The mayor’s term is only two years. Even for an experience council member, advancing to the mayor’s position is a demanding transition that takes time to learn. If elected, I will not lose a single day on learning curve. You will get my full service starting on day-one.  

Island Gazette: What was your biggest disappointment when you served as Mayor?

Dan Wilcox: Probably the issues with the lake. My administration was the first administration in the history of Carolina Beach to attempt to dredge the lake. It was a substantial undertaking with a host of difficulties to overcome – but we were making progress until our (then) town manager decided to put the dredge material in an unauthorized location without notifying me or council. That resulted in the project stopping.

Island Gazette: Some residents have commented that their quality of life is diminishing?  How do you reassure them? 

Dan Wilcox: First, they must understand that they live in a resort community and during certain times of the year there will always be impacts due to our tourism industry. But I’ve spent 15 years working to bring back the family-friendly atmosphere, rebuilding the boardwalk and business districts so locals and visitors alike would have places to shop, frequent restaurants, and enjoy entertainment without going off-island. While these are business related accomplishments, they are equally related to our quality of life. They generate room occupancy taxes, sales taxes, and our general tax base. Those taxes are what pay to renourish the beach, keep the inlet open, and pay for town services so we can all afford to live here. I understand that the beach has changed and grown, as have most beach towns. But I have always protected the residential areas and fought for quality-of-life initiatives and projects for our community, and I will continue to do that.

Island Gazette: Any parting words for residents as we look forward to electing the next council?

Dan Wilcox: First, I would encourage everyone to vote! These are uncertain times, and this is an important election. Recovering from Covid hardships and negotiating current funding challenges will take positive and focused leadership.

Secondly, I would encourage voters to check my record of service and accomplishments. I have a record of strong, common-sense, and successful leadership. I have a record of rolling up my sleeves and doing the hard work. If I am elected, you will not be losing Councilman Barbee – you will be gaining an experience mayor that will work with Councilman Barbee and our other council members to create an effective council “team” to represent you. We have many issues to fix and they won’t all get fixed in a two year mayors term, but what can’t be fixed during my term can be turned around and headed in a better, more positive direction for future administrations to build on.

 



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