Town Hall meeting unites beach and county leaders

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

For the first time in two years the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will visit Wrightsville Beach for a town hall style meeting to meet beach residents and answer questions about pertinent issues. 

To be held on Monday, Sept. 16, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Wrightsville Beach Town Hall, the meeting will begin with an informal meet and greet period with light refreshments in the conference room followed by an hour for residents to ask commissioners questions regarding Wrightsville Beach and county issues in council chambers. 

New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chairman Woody White said keeping in touch with each of the county’s beach towns is important to make sure the board works for all its constituents. 

“Wilmington is rightfully the regional leader but our beach towns are also extremely important for tourism and quality of life,” White said. “Making sure that we are up to date and informed on issues important to our beach towns is important to us so that is something we hope to learn — what are the pressing issues for the town of Wrightsville Beach right now? Secondarily, we just want to further the already good relationship we have with Wrightsville Beach.”

While he anticipates some questions from the audience about topics like traffic mitigation, beach renourishment, ad valorem taxes and budgeting, White said the board would be open to any questions residents have. 

Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti was the one to reach out to White about setting the meeting, continuing a trend of the town hosting these joint meetings. 

“It is basically a chance for citizens at the beach to meet their county commissioners and ask them any pertinent questions,” Cignotti said. 

The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen will also be in attendance at the meeting to answer any questions directed to it but Cignotti said the focus would be on the county commissioners. 

In addition to the issues White expects to be asked, Cignotti said he thinks coastal insurance rates and the Biggert-Waters Act will be another hot topic. 

Wrightsville Beach town manager Tim Owens said the meeting would provide residents with insight into where the county commissioners stand on important beach issues. 

“People pretty much have the pulse of what their local government is doing but sometimes not so much with the county and the bigger picture,” Owens said. 

The invitation to the town hall meeting was extended to the entire board of county commissioners but White said, in addition to himself, he has only heard that vice chairwoman Beth Dawson, and commissioners Jonathan Barfield and Tom Wolfe plan to attend the meeting. 


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