BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Art Dornfeld is running for a seat on the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners in District 2.
Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate running in local elections in the tri-county region. The paywall is dropped on profiles to help voters make informed decisions ahead of casting their ballots.
As a reminder, the early voting period runs from Apr. 28 to May 14. The voter registration deadline is Apr. 22. Voters may partake in same-day registration throughout the two-week early voting period (check if your registration is active at your current address).
Primary Election Day is May 17. Voters will choose which candidates from their registered party they want to move forward in the formal election. Those who are registered as unaffiliated can choose which party’s primary they want to vote in.
Dornfeld’s stances on issues are discussed below. All answers are included in full and the candidate’s opinions and statements are not a reflection of Port City Daily. Responses are edited only for grammar, spelling and clarity.
Port City Daily: What is your top priority and how would you address it?
Art Dornfeld: My top priorities are keeping taxes low, fiscal responsibility, and making sure we have the infrastructure to support growth in the county.
The property values have increased in Brunswick County and we need to ensure residents’ taxes do not go up due to increased values. We need to be fiscally responsible with the county budget to address needs of the county. If there is a surplus in tax revenue, the county should consider a tax cut instead of increased spending.
Brunswick County has been one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina. We need to ensure our infrastructure can handle the increased growth. Roads, water and sewer, and law enforcement, fire, and EMS all need to be considered before we approve more developments. We need to work with our state representatives, like Frank Iler and Charlie Miller and the North Carolina DOT, to get our roads updated to handle the traffic. We don’t need a traffic study that takes five years to complete. We need action on roads now before we build 18,000 more homes in Brunswick County.
We need to ensure we have the proper amount of law enforcement, fire protection and EMS to service the population increase.
PCD: In what ways does Brunswick County need to manage population growth?
AD: We need to work with the county planning board to ensure we are not over approving development without investigating all the impact to infrastructure. There is no better place to be than the beaches of Brunswick County, but we need to make sure we can handle the increased population.
PCD: What needs to be done to accommodate this growth?
AD: We need to improve the roads to handle the increased traffic. We need to ensure our public safety is increased to handle the growth. We need responsible development to provide quality houses that residents can afford. Our schools are overcrowded. We need new schools and expansion of existing schools.
PCD: The current slate of Brunswick County commissioners unanimously opposes building offshore wind within view of the land. What are your thoughts?
AD: I am opposed to any building of any wind farm in view or not. Wind farms do not need to be off our shores of Brunswick County anywhere.
PCD: The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is due for a replacement. What options do you think need to be explored? Are you for or against a toll?
AD: I am NOT for a toll to cross the bridge. This is a very important issue and I am looking forward to working with the other commissioners to find a way to replace the bridge without a toll.
PCD: What role should the county have in attracting companies and spurring economic development? How can Brunswick attract young workers?
AD: Brunswick County can provide tax incentives for a variety of large businesses to come to the county. This can provide good paying jobs and also bring and keep young workers. More young workers are working from home. Young families are moving to Brunswick County. Our school system is getting over crowded. We need to build more schools as a result of increased population. North Brunswick High school needs to be expanded or even replaced with a bigger school as it is currently over crowded.
PCD: How well do you think the county balances development with “livability” (i.e. moderated traffic, preserved green space, etc.)?
AD: The growth is so fast in Brunswick County we need to slow the approval of developments until the infrastructure can catch up. We can’t wait five years for a traffic study to update the roads. We need to cut red tape and move faster to get things done. The county does well with preserving green space. The Brunswick County parks and recreation department works hard maintaining our parks.
PCD: How appropriate is the county’s supplemental funding to the school district?
AD: The supplemental funding is a blessing to have, but our county is rapidly outgrowing school infrastructure. We need collaborative efforts to properly find funding for new schools and expansions of existing schools.
PCD: What do you think of the current tax rates? How will you balance taxes with identifying funding for top-of-mind issues?
AD: I am for low taxes and fiscal responsibility. I want to keep taxes low and while working on the county budget we focus on what we need and not what we want. We can save money on some things and use savings on top-of-mind issues. Brunswick County has a rainy-day fund and this is for emergencies like hurricanes and other disasters. We should not tap into that fund for things we want but don’t need.
PCD: Is there an additional issue or issues you think need(s) to be addressed during your term, should you win?
AD: We need to work on quality housing our residents can afford. We don’t want our public safety personnel living outside our county because they can’t afford to live here. Law enforcement, fire, and EMS should live in our county and must have quality housing they can afford. This will take all stakeholders like land owners, builders, and County government to find a way to make this happen. I am looking forward to working on this to benefit all residents of Brunswick County.
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