KURE BEACH — Allen Oliver has served on Kure Beach Town Council since 2017 but this year is stepping into the leadership role over the small New Hanover County beach town.
Oliver is running unopposed as mayor, after having served as the town’s mayor pro tem for the past two years.
“I feel I am qualified for the office,” he said, “because I worked in local government for 35 years before retiring in 2014 and moving to Kure Beach.”
He served as parks and recreation director for the City of Asheboro and City of High Point, as well as as interim assistant city manager for the latter and interim town manager for the Town of Biscoe.
Oliver, unaffiliated, answered Port City Daily’s questions regarding issues facing Kure Beach. This includes balancing growth and infrastructure, traffic and tourism, parking and climate change impacts.
Oliver’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 run for mayor now?
Allen Oliver (AO): Our current mayor has decided not to run for re-election after serving three terms. I felt the time was right and I am willing and able to devote the time and effort to the office.
PCD: Name three issues you think are most affecting the town currently and describe how you would work toward tackling them.
AO: Aging infrastructure: Replacement of water/sewer infrastructure will be one of the areas that we will have to develop a long-range plan to replace and upgrade our current systems. We are currently working on an inventory our water/sewer systems to help us map out our long-term needs. After that assessment we will look to grants and other assistance to complete the needed improvements.
Financial stability: Currently, the town is in excellent financial shape. Kure Beach has a very strong fund balance and our tax rate, while not the lowest for beach towns, is relatively low for what the citizens get for their tax dollar. Paying competitive wages to our outstanding town workforce is critical to maintain the level of services our citizens have enjoyed. Being the smallest municipality in the county makes the task a challenge.
We have recently completed a job study with the Cape Fear Council of Governments to assess all positions it the town and make sure we are paying competitive wages with the other communities our size. As a town, we must keep job study up to date to maintain our staff. In the next few years, we will be challenged to manage our finances to continue to provide the quality services our citizens are accustomed too.
Sustainable Water Source: I am concerned that overdevelopment, deepening of the navigational channel of the Cape Fear River and continued contamination of PFAS will eventually cause our water supply to be compromised. We currently receive our water from the Castle Hayne Aquifer by a series of wells. We must have a long-range plan that will address these concerns, so we don’t get blindsided with a water crisis.
PCD: Where do you see the balance of accommodating tourists and other locals outside Kure Beach and ensuring Kure Beach residents’ concerns are addressed?
AO: I think we are doing a good job of balancing the needs of both. We continue to provide excellent fire and ocean rescue, police, public works and recreation programs for all our citizens and visitors. We use the funds received from ROT and parking to support the cost of providing these services to our visitors so or tax-paying residents aren’t shouldering the entire cost.
PCD: The extension of the Island Greenway has been a contentious topic in Kure Beach. What action do you think the town should take on the issue and do you see a compromise between differing opinions?
AO: I have been a proponent of Parks and Recreation opportunities for my entire working career. I know the value of greenways and trails and the positive impact they have on communities. I am totally supportive of expansion of the Island Greenway. We are currently working on a feasibility study to make sure we have all the information we need as a council to make the best possible decision for everyone. Once the study is finished, we will evaluate the information and decide on a course of action for the future.
PCD: What is your long-term vision for development in Kure Beach? Are there any types of development, residential or otherwise, you think will not fit in Kure Beach?
AO: Kure Beach is an unique town, bounded to the north by Carolina Beach to the south by state-owned property and to the west by MOTSU and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. We do not have areas we could grow with large development. Our town currently has approximately 170 buildable lots that offer a limited amount of growth. I believe we should follow the recently adopted Land Use Plan where we heard overwhelmingly our citizens want to keep the small town feel to Kure Beach.
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?
AO: We should continue to work with our federal, state and county partners to ensure that funding for our Coastal Storm Damage Reduction CSDR (beach renourishment) projects are funded at the existing levels.
Over the past six years, we have worked to improve our storm water system by identifying areas that need improvement. We have applied for state grants to expand the dune infiltration system that we have in place adjacent to Atlantic Avenue. Public works department continues to evaluate the ditches that carry our storm water through MOTSU property to make sure they are clear of debris so water can flow with our causing backups.
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