BELVILLE — Charles “Chuck” Bost is seeking to be elected to Belville’s Board of Commissioners.
Bost was first appointed to Belville’s Board of Commissioners in 2009. He was elected in 2011 and served a full term.
Author’s note: Port City Daily’s candidate interviews are largely unedited. Edits have only been made to correct spelling or grammatical errors. Candidates were not given word or character limits to answer each question.
What is your campaign platform?
I would like to see Belville become more financially stable, have greater transparency through better use of technology and social media and improve our relationships with our neighboring towns, including Leland. I would also like to explore better ways of being as efficient as government bureaucracy can allow, primarily through a more efficient use of town personnel and time.
What makes you qualified to serve as a Commissioner?
I bring to this position a diverse level of experience, including public and private, academic and community. I was a police officer for 30 years which included serving in the US Air Force and working in both large and small municipalities. When I was a patrol officer, I learned to be prepared for any unpredictable situation as well as the importance of community interaction. As a detective, I came to understand the incredible responsibility and accountability individuals place on you to resolve their problems. When I became a staff officer, I learned the importance of efficiency and good leadership, as well learning the administrative responsibilities of writing budgets and policies, making tough personnel decisions and dealing with community issues. I have often been required to deal with stress as well as life and death situations. I have worked during hurricanes and their recovery efforts, crime scenes and their investigations and, during my military career, coordinating a response to a fatal plane crash that unfortunately took the lives of several military personnel, but our response saved the lives of many more. Apart from my military and police career, I was appointed as Belville Town Commissioner in 2009 and elected back to the Board in 2011 serving as Mayor Pro Tem until 2013. I currently serve on the Brunswick County Board of Equalization and was re-appointed to serve another year. I am an adjunct professor at Cape Fear Community College teaching in the criminal justice program. I also work and teach young drivers through the StreetSafe Program to identify the dangerous driving behaviors that can often lead to fatal crashes. This diverse experience I believe has given me the qualifications to not only work well with the community and other government entities but taught me to make tough, sound but fair decisions, qualities I think that are necessary to be an effective Town Commissioner.
What are the top three issues Belville is facing right now and what’s your position on these issues?
There are many issues that I know the town deals with – drainage, park maintenance, storm debris recovery – but taking a cursory look as someone looking from the outside, I would say it would be the resolution of the H2GO situation, resolution of the downtown development and improving the financial solvency and security of the town to ensure its continued existence.
Do you agree with how 2017 Belville Commissioners and outgoing H2GO Commissioners orchestrated transfer outside the public review or knowledge? Why or why not?
I don’t think all the facts are out so a “yes” or “no” answer would be both a rush to judgment and serve more towards feeding our thirst for sensationalism we currently find ourselves in. What I do know is that it could have been handled better on both sides. The Mayor of Belville has acknowledged this fact but the constant position changes in Leland and recent efforts in bringing Brunswick Forest residents to be a part of the H2GO system appears to be more political maneuvering that isn’t as transparent as I think everyone would like it to be. But I would prefer to sit down, review all the information before I start pointing fingers at anyone or pass judgment on the process.
Where would you like to see Belville in five years? What features, projects, or plans would you like to see in place at that point?
I would like to see Belville financially stable and healthy with a strong government, working with its neighboring towns, county and state government while representing its residents responsibly. That would include resolving the H2GO situation where ALL parties are fairly dealt with, the downtown development finally developing and a board that can efficiently and fairly deal with the town’s issues in a non-partisan, equitable manner. We also need to work on planning for the maintenance of the Town Park that doesn’t deplete the finances of the town.
Should Belville grow through annexation, or work to support its existing boundaries and residents?
That depends on whether there are areas that wish to be annexed into the town and if there are any areas left that Leland hasn’t annexed. I think it is clear to everyone Leland wants to grow and they have aggressively issued impressive financial incentive plans to encourage developers and areas to become a part of Leland. In fact, I remember hearing a Leland official comment several years ago that they saw themselves being as big as Wilmington one day – I believe that is in land size – but also being the influential presence in the county. I know many of the Leland officials and administrators and find them to be professional and sincere in their commitment to their town. But aggressive growth is not Belville’s ambition. I like being a small town with low taxes. I believe we are very manageable and don’t really see a desire to grow much more than we are. I would like to focus on solvency and stability, addressing our current issues and putting into place ways of dealing with future issues more efficiently. So, I wish Leland the best, but I would like Belville to still be around to see how they do.
Are you comfortable with the amount of public funds spent toward paying for H2GO lawsuit? Do you think it was and has been worth it to spend so much?
Again, I can only comment to what I know or have heard and a rush to judgment I think is irresponsible. What I understand is that it could have been cheaper if a local law firm had been used but that defending the Town’s position was probably necessary to at least bring to light issues with both our water, reverse osmosis and how politically charged controlling the water can be, both to safety, influence and revenue.
What is one action/vote Belville got wrong in 2017-2019?
Understanding that decisions made on government boards require reviewing information not always privy to the public, I don’t think it is fair to call out “wrong” or “right” decisions. I believe that, once in office, I will have the ability to review many items that need action and possibly do things differently based on the full facts. I do think that the biggest problem I saw with the current board was the lack of community involvement and communication. I know that this is in part due to the fact attendance at the Town Hall Meetings are low and I would like to address that through technology, such as live streaming and posting meetings on-line for people to review when it is more convenient for them. I also have been told that the meetings were not “entertaining” anymore without the dramatic bloviating and grandstanding of the past but the fact that the meetings were more civil I think is a good thing. Bottom line, I would like to start off with a clean slate and move forward when the new Board is seated.
What is one action/vote Belville got right in 2017-2019?
I am glad to see that they finally built and completed a permanent Belville Town Hall. I think it is important for the residents to have a Town Hall that is ours and represents a permanent footprint near the downtown area. With the practical and symbolic completion of the Town Hall, we can move forward with growing Belville internally, working on the downtown area, looking at bringing in more business and ensure the residents of Belville we plan on staying a solvent and permanent municipality in Brunswick County for the near and distant future.
Anything else you’d like to share with voters?
I bring 30 years of experience in several different levels of experience – municipal, legal, academic and personal. I understand the responsibilities and obligations one makes when you enter the political arena and want to take on the often undaunting and criticized job as a municipal leader and representative. I have done this before and learned a lot from my previous experience, both good and bad. I can assure the people of Belville that I will be as unbiased and fair as I have always been in every job or aspect of my life. Just because I am entering the political arena does not make me a politician. I have no further aspirations in politics other than to be a good and hardworking representative of the Town of Belville.