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Thursday, May 30, 2024

2022 Primary Election: David Robinson is running for Brunswick County Board of Commissioners

David Robinson, Republican, is vying for a seat on the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners. (Courtesy photo)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY ⁠— David Robinson, Republican, has served on the Brunswick County Board of Education and is now seeking candidacy for the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners.

Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate running in local elections in the tri-county region. The paywall is also 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.

Robinson’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.

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Port City Daily: What is your top priority and how would you address it? 
David Robinson: The biggest challenges facing Brunswick County is its lack of infrastructure and services to support the past and present growth. To manage these challenges, there must be a clear understanding of the current needs through honest and clear communication with the citizens, business owners, and municipal stakeholders.

A comprehensive yet realistic plan should be created and used as a guide to improve the present infrastructure, add additional infrastructure and services to Brunswick County. There must be transparency with all citizens regarding how such improvements would be financed and the specific impacts and benefits said improvements would provide to the public. Any plans should address long-range needs for future growth, so that our county does not face the difficult challenges we are facing today.  

PCD: In what ways does Brunswick County need to manage population growth?
DR: Managing population growth will continue to be a complex task. First, there must be a significant investment in the county infrastructure to help manage the current growth. The basic needs of citizens must be met, and there are a variety of ways to achieve that task. Continuing collaboration with all stakeholders including, but not limited to the commissioners, board of education, municipal officials, business owners, community organizations, health service providers, etc., must occur in order. to discuss how to continue making sure that essential goods and services are readily available within the community on a continual and ongoing basis.

Presently, there is already a lack of infrastructure and services in Brunswick County and that includes a lack of available on-duty EMS ambulances, lack of affordable housing, reduced school space, and other serious challenges to name just a few. These conditions must get managed to better accommodate growth and manage the present population.

Again, this is a complex task that involves multiple stakeholders.

Brunswick County is not what it was even just a few years ago, and it has become necessary to change the way we think regarding how the population will be managed going forward.

PCD: The current slate of Brunswick County commissioners unanimously opposes offshore wind within view of land. What are your thoughts? 
DR: This has been a contentious issue for quite some time. I DO NOT agree with building any offshore structures within view of land. I am not in support of constructing offshore wind turbines for a variety of reasons, of which include negative environmental impact, damage to the marine habitat, and subsequent consequences to the local coastal economy.   

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?
DR: The North Carolina Department of Transportation should assume responsibility for replacing the CFMB, utilizing state and federal tax dollars.

Might I ask where the “Build Back Better” (as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) funding is for North Carolina? Citizens are paying taxes and fees for everything imaginable, and we are already wondering where exactly our money is going, especially when it comes to roads, bridges and right of ways.


PCD: What role should the county have in attracting companies and spurring economic development? How can Brunswick attract young workers?
DR: The county should work in concert with the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission in creating and promoting new “responsible” business and industry opportunities in Brunswick County, even assisting and supporting existing ones.

I believe that attracting young workers can be accomplished in a variety of ways, which include supporting and taking the lead on advanced technology initiatives, offering excellent educational opportunities, and continuing to work on more affordable housing opportunities as well as good paying job opportunities.

I also believe that we should work along with business and industry to create “workforce housing” as well. 

PCD: How well do you think the county balances development with “livability” (i.e. moderated traffic, preserved green space, etc.)?  
DR: It seems that balance has not been taken very seriously, given the uncontrolled growth. I believe that the current circumstances with the continual loss of green space, increased traffic and ongoing rapid development, there should be a comprehensive review of the planning guidance in order to improve upon smart growth strategies.

We must ask ourselves if development should or should not go in certain places to preserve the character of the county and preserve the natural resources which are quickly disappearing.   

PCD: How appropriate is the counties’ supplemental funding to the school district? 
DR: The county has a long-standing funding agreement with the Brunswick County Board of Education, which continues through June 30, 2025. The requirements stipulate that the county will provide 36.5% of the ad valorem tax revenue to the schools for operating expenditures less the portion of the tax rate dedicated to paying debt service.

This funding mechanism was agreed upon many years ago, and I feel does appropriately fund the school system, but what it does not solve is the ongoing problems related to infrastructure needs. Better communications need to occur between the school board and commissioners to improve school infrastructure. 

PCD: What do you think of the current tax rates? How will you balance taxes with identifying funding for top-of-mind issues?  

DR: I believe the current tax rate has remained reasonable to the citizens, but I do not believe the re-evaluation process has been as appropriate as it should have been. I believe that budget hearings should be better publicized to get more citizen input and there should more scrutiny of individual department requests during budget workshops. On many occasions there are hidden budget requests by county departments that not even commissioners understand, much less the public, which can be perceived as a misuse of funds in the eyes of taxpayers.

Use of taxpayer dollars must be utilized in a way that directly impacts citizens and are only used to conduct the business of government. Wasting money is where one problem comes in and reducing waste is one way to help balance taxes and paying for top-of-mind issues.

It also comes down to a “wants vs. needs” as with any business. Where possible, alternative funding sources should be utilized on top-of-mind issues, such as grants, state and federal funding. Brunswick County has state-level officials living right here in the county and we should be reaching out to them to make sure they are advocating for us every step of the way. 

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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