Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Municipal Elections 2023: Jay Healy seeks reelection to Carolina Beach council

Jay Healy is an incumbent running for reelection on Carolina Beach Town Council. (Courtesy photo)

CAROLINA BEACH — Jay Healy is an incumbent running for reelection on Carolina Beach Town Council. Healy, current mayor pro tem, has served on council since 2019 and also was mayor pro tem under former Mayor LeAnn Pierce.

Retired from Apple employee, Healy is running as a Democrat and up against two other candidates including incumbent Deb LeCompte and newcomer Danny McLaughlin.

PCD asked candidates to address issues pertinent to their municipalities, covering issues such as balancing growth and infrastructure, traffic and tourism, parking and climate change impacts.

Healy’s answers are included in full; responses are edited only for grammar, spelling and clarity.

The paywall has been dropped on candidate questionnaires to help voters make informed decisions ahead of Election Day.

To prepare, here are a few dates for readers to keep in mind:

  • Absentee ballots can be requested through Oct. 31 and must be returned Nov. 7 (or post-marked as such).
  • Registration to vote will be open until Oct. 13; afterward, according to the state board of elections, same-day registration will be available only during one-stop early voting.
  • Early voting begins Oct. 19 and remains open through Nov. 4 (3 p.m.).
  • Election Day polls open Nov. 7, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

To vote early in New Hanover County, visit the Northeast Library (1241 Military Cutoff Road). From Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, voters can also go to CFCC Health Sciences and Learning Center (415 Second St.), Carolina Beach Town Hall (1121 Lake Park Blvd.) and the NHC Senior Center (2222 S. College Road).

Once early voting closes, voters will need to go to the location listed on their voter registration card, or verified here.

To see a sample ballot for the upcoming election, fill in voter registration info here.

A photo ID is required to cast a ballot in 2023; more information can be found on the state board of elections website.

The candidate’s opinions and statements are not a reflection of Port City Daily.

Port City Daily (PCD): Why re-run for town council now?

Jay Healy (JH): I thoroughly enjoy meeting and listening to our citizens. We are all passionate about our town and we want is best for our residents. The current Council has had a successful 4 years and there are many projects in the pipeline that I would love to see completed.

Here are a few of the projects we have in motion:

  • Marina Project: Completed the west and south side: The east side will be completed by the end of the year.
  • Playground at the Lake: A new state-of-the-art playground will be complete by November 2023.
  • New bathrooms at the Boardwalk
  • Ocean Boulevard sidewalk
  • Multi-Use sidewalk at St. Joseph
  • Lake Dredge: After seven years, finally in process. Target completion date Dec. 2023.
  • New sidewalk from the Lake to Carolina Sands: Funded by NCDOT.

PCD: Name three issues you think are most affecting the town currently and describe how you would work toward tackling them.

JH: Infrastructure will always be our number-one issue. We have an aging stormwater system that has been in place for over 50 years and needs to be replaced. The current council has created a 25-year infrastructure plan and financial model to pay for it.

Secondly, public safety is vital for both our residents and visitors. Carolina Beach is only 2 square miles and connectivity is key for public safety. The town will be executing several projects to provide additional connectivity within the town, such as St. Joseph’s multi-use path, Ocean Boulevard, and Lake Park sidewalks. This will help keep our walking and biking residents safe. Additionally, we are adding lights and crosswalks at major intersections with the help of NCDOT.

Lastly, quality of life. We need to make sure we keep providing new amenities and maintaining the ones we have. This is our home, and it is important that our residents enjoy where they live. I want to see the marina project, the Lake Park playground, the Boardwalk bathroom, and the skate park expansion completed in my next term.

PCD: Where do you see the balance of accommodating tourists and other locals outside Carolina Beach and ensuring island residents’ concerns are addressed?

JH: Quality of life is one of the town’s strategic initiatives. We always look through the lens of our residents first, but understand we are a destination location and the town depends on tourism. If we are satisfied with what we have as residents, I believe that tourists will have the same experience. 

PCD: What is your long-term vision for parking and transportation on Carolina Beach? How would you approach a rate increase? How will you tackle reducing traffic on the island or addressing infrastructure needs?

JH: We have limited amount of parking spaces and there may be fewer in the future. We need to manage the assets we have on a year-to-year basis. Supply and demand and the services around parking will be the biggest driver in future rate increase decisions made by Council. The only way to reduce traffic is to continue working on improving connectivity in the town and encouraging the use of bikes and walking as a method of getting around. Also, we support WAVE transit’s micro- transit service. WAVE has been a great partner to work with here on the island.

PCD: Off-island residents have asked for a parking pass option, which the town agreed to allowing a seven-day pass for $100 last year. Do you support offering off-island residents season passes instead of in seven-day increments? Why or why not?

JH: I do not support non-resident passes. Financially, it does not make sense. We have our financial data and data from other municipalities, which selling passes outside your communities is not financially sound. We pay more in taxes to live in Carolina Beach and believe visitors should pay for the services that we provide. Wilmington and Wrightsville charges for parking, and they do not provide us with the opportunity to purchase a non-resident pass.

PCD: What is your long-term vision for development in Carolina Beach? Are there any types, residential or otherwise, you think will not fit in Carolina Beach? 

JH: Any land development must go through a three-step process. It goes through the technical review committee and if passed, it will go to the planning and zoning committee and then voted on by council. The process is not easy, but it is in place to allow our residents a voice. Residential zoning has been in place for many years, and it was developed by our citizens.

PCD: As evidence shows, climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of storms and hurricanes, along with sea level rise, what should the town do to protect residents, property and infrastructure?

JH: Every three years we renourish our beach which protects our infrastructure and resident’s property. We will continue to work with our federal and state agencies to make sure this takes place. This is the single most important thing we can do as a council is to protect our infrastructure.

PCD: With a $70-million wish list of projects, do you support having to impose annual rate increases on utilities for residents to pay for future infrastructure needs?

JH: I do support imposing an increase on utilities. For us to achieve our infrastructure goal in the next 25 years the funds must be self-sustaining through increasing utility taxes. It would be less impactful to our residents if we increased utilities versus increasing taxes. Additionally, the town will seek bond funding in 2025, 2028, 2031 and 2033 to help pay for infrastructure improvements.

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