Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Municipal Elections 2023: Bill Craft runs for reelection to Oak Island council

Bill Craft was first elected in 2021 and is hoping to retain the seat for another term on Oak Island Town Council. (Courtesy photo)

OAK ISLAND — Bill Craft is running for reelection to Oak Island Town Council. He was first elected in 2021 and is hoping to retain the seat for another term.

Craft is running against six other candidates for three open positions.

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

Craft’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.

In Brunswick County, voters can cast ballots early at the Brunswick County Cooperative Extension (in lieu of the Board of Elections) at 25 Referendum Drive, Building N, in Bolivia.

Once early voting closes, voters will need to go to the location listed on their registration cards, 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 run for town council now?

Bill Craft (BC): I am very proud of my accomplishments on the town council, and want to continue the representation I have offered. There is much more work to do.

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

BC: The three biggest issues for the town are: The planning board’s difficulty in tightening the language in the UDO. Instead of kicking the can down the road, I want action and results.

Trust. There seems to be a disconnect between the citizens and the town’s administration, planning board and town council. Through transparency, honesty and doing what is in the best interest of the people of Oak Island, I feel we can restore this trust.

Also, 78% of the town’s streets are satisfactorily paved. This means 22% of our residents are paying taxes and feeling short changed. I have put additional money in the budget for street paving and will do so again at the February budget discussions.

PCD: What is your long-term vision for development in Oak Island? What is lacking and how would you address it?

BC: A long-term plan is lacking. The town does a very good job of addressing immediate problems but needs to implement a 5-year and 10-year plan for infrastructure, police/fire departments and amenities going forward.

PCD: Are there any types of development, residential or otherwise, you think will not fit in OKI?

BC: Oak Island is a quaint town that so happens to have an ocean. The towns people like the small town feel. I am opposed to mega houses, large hotels and businesses that take away from the small town feel.

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

BC: I have often said the town cannot continue to pay $35,000,000 every five to six years for sand renourishment. I have asked the town engineers to research other options such as groins, jettys, wave breaking material placed in the ocean. We need to be proactive and not reactive on addressing our sand needs.

PCD: What are your views on ending the Dosher Memorial Hospital tax? Do you think just Oak Island should be removed or the entire tax be repealed? Do you have any concerns that removing the tax funding will jeopardize the hospital’s current operations?

BC: The Dosher tax has served Dosher well, and in my opinion has accomplished its objective. At this time, St James, Pine Forest, the new Williamson tract and other parts of Brunswick County are not assessed. I feel if the tax continues, it needs to include all areas and residences. For a 5-year period, Dosher voluntarily lowered the tax. Now that Brunswick County has almost doubled the property valuations, I feel, in the least the Dosher tax needs to be lowered and assessed to all. This decision lies with the County Commissioners, but as a councilman, I hope there are changes.

PCD: Do you agree with the council’s recent decision to create paid parking? What do you think the town should use the revenue for, aside from covering parking expenses?

BC: Paid parking will generate 1.2 million dollars in revenue. That is a nice windfall for the town, which will allow the town to keep the sand tax at its lowered rate, as well as provide revenue for the town. I was against paid parking originally, because I wanted the specifics better understood. I wanted to be sure the people of Oak Island were benefitting and not being hindered by the new arrangement. Going forward I want the town to contribute half the money toward sand renourishment and the other half for the town’s infrastructure, concrete bathrooms on the beach, more Mobi mats for the handicap crossovers.

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