Kure Beach mayoral candidate statements on town issues

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Two candidates are vying for the position of Kure Beach mayor. Incumbent Dean Lambeth, who has served three terms as mayor of Kure Beach, and current town Commissioner Emilie Swearingen, who has served on town council since 2010, are both seeking to lead the town for the next two years.

Here are a few brief statements to show where they stand on some of the town’s issues.

Incumbent Dean Lambeth, left, and current town commissioner Emilie Swearingen answer questions during a mayoral candidates forum in Kure Beach.
Incumbent Dean Lambeth, left, and current town commissioner Emilie Swearingen answer questions during a mayoral candidates forum in Kure Beach.

How do you feel about offshore drilling and seismic testing?

Lambeth: “Seismic testing in and of itself is not that big of a deal because it’s used for making sure we have compatible sand for our beaches, which we all want … I don’t particularly care for offshore drilling, but seismic testing doesn’t hurt any animal in any way.”

Swearingen: “I am extremely opposed to offshore oil. I have spoken in front of Congress twice … in opposition. I will continue to speak out … to educate the public.”

How do you feel about the town’s current tax structure?

Lambeth: “The current tax structure is funding Kure Beach and I don’t see any reason to change it.”

Swearingen: “An excellent job is going on in this town as far as finances are concerned. I don’t see any reason to change it. We don’t want to have to raise property taxes.”

How would you promote economic development in Kure Beach?

Lambeth: “We will have a new motel coming to Kure Beach soon, I hope.”

Swearingen: “Ninety-five percent of Kure Beach is residential. Only five percent of our income comes from our businesses. We’re not gonna go up. There’s not much farther we can go out. We don’t have an economic committee anymore. It’s not a huge issue in Kure Beach right now.”

How would you deal with complaints about loud noise or parties?

Lambeth: “We’ve stopped some of the loud parties on the oceanfront. I think this issue is under control. This is not party central.”

Swearingen: “Frankly, some of the noise I have to put up with, it’s not a renter, it’s a property owner. I don’t think we should have any regulations about loud noise … unless it’s spread across the board.”

How would you rate the town’s relationships with officials on the county, state and federal levels?

Lambeth: “The representatives we have in Raleigh are great guys. We have good relationships because I know all those guys and call them continually. The chairman of the county commissioners and I don’t see eye to eye.”

Swearingen: “I think we have a wonderful relationship with the town of Carolina Beach. I think we have a fair relationship with the federal government. We have a sensitive relationship with the county manager and the chairman of the county commissioners. I’m hoping to really work diligently to smooth those relationships over and have a more cordial relationship with our county officials.”

What is the biggest public safety concern?

Lambeth: “The biggest safety concern is usually the drugs which are brought to our beach. The police have done a great job of taking care of this. Our police have a great working relationship with the state and federales in taking care of this.”

Swearingen: “We don’t have a major drug problem. One of the biggest safety issues we have is our oceanfront and keeping our visitors safe. We have very few [car] wrecks at all, but pedestrian traffic is increasing substantially.”

How will the town deal with infrastructure problems?

Lambeth: “The town has a serious drainage issue. We have a built-in storm water tax [that helps cover costs]. I really appreciate everyone here paying that storm water tax.”

Swearingen: “We still have a lot of problems on the north side. Some of these will be difficult to address. A lot of this work they will be doing themselves in order to save the town money. We do have some money saved up to pay for this infrastructure but we need to go after more grants.”

Why should residents vote for you?

Lambeth: “The town has been doing well. You don’t want to change anything.”

Swearingen: “I think it’s time for a change in Kure Beach. Change is coming whether we want it or not. It just depends on how we want to handle it.”