LELAND –– Richard Holloman is running for a seat on Leland Town Council. Holloman is a registered Republican.
Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate running in municipal elections, which are nonpartisan, and has dropped its paywall on the profiles to help voters make informed decisions ahead of the 2021 election year. (Though, your support of local, independent journalism is appreciated through a monthly subscription. Also, consider signing up for Port City Daily’s free newsletter, Wilmington Wire, to get the headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.)
As a reminder, the early voting period begins Oct. 14, with the registration deadline on Oct. 8. Voters may partake in same-day registration throughout the two-week early voting period, which ends Oct. 30 (check if your registration is active at your current address).
Election Day is Nov. 2.
Holloman’s stances on local issues are discussed below. Port City Daily has included all responses in full, and only edited responses for grammatical and spelling errors.
READ MORE: Catch up on all political coverage
Richard Holloman – Republican
- Education: BSBA in accounting from East Carolina University
- Job Title: Creator and partner, House of Pickleball, Leland NC
- Experience: CEO/President of two software companies that designed, developed, and implemented software for local governments. This technology was created to improve financial management systems including law enforcement and 911 support to medium size towns and counties throughout the U.S.
- Family: Married to Julia for 45 years. Children: two sons and a daughter and seven grandchildren!
Port City Daily (PCD): What town services would you like to see introduced, expanded, or revised?
Richard Holloman (RH): The elements covered in the Leland Vision 2045 have focused on many of the town services I would like to see introduced, expanded, or revised. The vision includes a “comprehensive Land Use Plan.” The goals are achievable if we have good, intelligent leadership. Some of the areas on which I would focus include: expanding on our need for as much green space as possible; promoting more recreation and entertainment opportunities; addressing our burgeoning traffic concerns utilizing the connectivity of creating connector and collector roads; seeking ways to create workforce housing to ensure our town can be home to those who work in our services sectors: fire, police, teaching, medical assistants, etc. And, while the town does not have the responsibility for our education system, we really need everyone’s help in communicating with the county school board and commissioners the critical importance of improving our school system if we are to attract younger families and enable them to thrive and continue to focus on the future of our dynamic community.
PCD: What’s one decision town council recently got right? What’s one decision they got wrong?
RH: The town’s research and subsequent decision to increase taxes at a level to support our upcoming years and directing those revenues towards the growth and abilities of our public safety (police, fire, and emergency management) network was the right decision, albeit a difficult one. The recent addition of a proactive town communications office was a positive step in improving the exchange of information with town residents and town administrative activities. Social media platforms have not been reliable sources for factual information about current projects and their status, so I look upon this new office as a major plus. Improvements to the website will also help tremendously. In reviewing some of the major decisions that have been tackled by council, there isn’t anything that particularly stands out as a possibly “wrong” decision. The removal of tax supported recycling was a difficult decision but made after much research, a special called town hall meeting, and review and prioritizing services which provided a fiscally responsible savings to taxpayers of an additional 2-plus cents per $100 in valuation. This is an example of making a tough call. The merger with H2GO, ending years of animosity and creating a more efficient delivery system for our major utility was a major strategic decision that will provide better management and clean aquifer sourced water that will serve the town’s growth for years to come.
PCD: How can Leland foster smart growth and development? What specifically should be improved or is already successful in your opinion?
RH: The town has the existing framework (zoning laws) to ensure we grow in a positive manner. That framework will need to be tweaked with thoughtful use of best practices going forward. Proactively seeking business development is key, and I would participate actively in doing that. With Leland’s Innovation Park we have the ability to bring in clean-industry businesses that will promote the type of growth we seek. It is fast becoming one of our new successes. In addition, the development by SAMM Properties of The Shoppes & Offices at Waterford is a sure winner. I am also interested in the UNCW — CIE (Center for Innovative Entrepreneurship) initiative to attract growth through the “blue economy” which includes marine technologies, ocean engineering, aquaculture, etc. I want to reach out to the Alliance for a Blue Economy and see how we can get involved with that exciting program.
PCD: When did you first move to Leland? Do you think there’s a division between so-called “old Leland” and “new Leland” and if so, how would you appeal to both factions?
RH: My wife, children, grandchildren and I moved to Leland in January 2015. Rather than characterize the conception that there is a division between the Leland Gateway District, sometimes referred to as “old Leland,” and the newer areas of the town, I believe that whenever a small town suddenly begins to explode with growth and new residents, original residents who were the first to settle there will be concerned about losing their identity and uniqueness. It is unfortunate that this is a side effect of large-scale, rapid growth. I believe the town is trying, and I certainly will continue to try if elected, to improve the quality of life for everyone in our town. Old Fayetteville Road’s new multi-use path is a great example of the town’s financial investment in the original sections of Leland. The addition of sidewalks on Village Road, the new parks master plan that will be enhancing the areas off Village Road into some enviable parks, the vision of improving the business district in that sector, all will be great contributors to the quality of life for our long-time residents and a means to preserve the character of the neighborhoods they love off Village Road.
PCD: The utility merger with H2GO arrived after a long and contentious battle. Are you in favor of the merger? Are you concerned about any of the dissent surrounding it, notably by developers, Brunswick County, and a local legislator?
RH: The consolidation of Leland’s utility services with that of H2GO was an important strategic step in providing stability and efficiency to the provision of these services as the area rapidly grows. Any dissent is unfortunate, driven by other goals of those entities and, in my opinion, unfounded.
PCD: Are you in favor of the town’s use of financial incentives through the use of taxpayer dollars to offset a developer’s expense to fund on-site infrastructure improvements?
RH: There is a misconception being perpetuated among residents that the tax dollars used to provide financial incentives is giving away revenues to developers. On the contrary, these tax dollars are investments that will be recouped within three to four years. The incentives are investments in ensuring that the needed infrastructure to support the new development can be achieved more quickly and efficiently. Given the difficulties of acquiring the building supplies and materials which our nation is experiencing, this is a way to see the projects do not languish and possibly risk higher costs over time as inflation rises. The incentives must be provided under the provisions of NC state statute. I am in favor of using this investment tool, but on a limited and carefully calculated basis so that the return on the investment is justified.
PCD: Finally, what does Leland need? How will you help the town get or achieve it?
RH: We need community and regional cohesiveness and collaboration. In these troubling times divisions, tribalism, competitiveness for the sake of trying to outdo “the other guy” can be the stumbling block to the “pursuit of happiness” and the achievement of our vision for the future not only for the Town of Leland but for surrounding towns and the County. If we all could agree that working together is our biggest strength, imagine what we could accomplish. If elected, I will promote more town involvement with individual communities and the County to build better understanding of what we are doing and seek ideas for how to achieve our common goal — enjoying one of the nicest areas in the country with so much to offer if we will just work together.
Send tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org