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  • Writer's pictureTopsail Times

Candidate Questionnaire: Donald Helms For Surf City Council


1. What are your greatest strengths and skill set that will make you a good elected official?

I have over 23 years of knowledge and experience with the town's inner workings, infrastructure, and departments. I am a liason with the utility department and the Fire Department with over 20 years of experience, and I am currently a ladder captain. I have experience with the Police Department as I am a retired Highway Patrolman. I have experience with Parks and Recreation, being on the council when the land was purchased for Soundside, Nelva Albury, and Kenny Batts Park on the island. To sum all of this up, knowledge and experience is a valuable asset to the taxpayers and the Town of Surf City.

2. Is there a particular issue that motivated you to run for office?

Beach Nourishment and advancing our infrastructure.

3. Do you currently or have you ever held an elected office before, and if so, what office?

I currently have 23 years of experience as a Town Councilman for the Town of Surf City.

4. As an elected official you will have to make decisions regarding zoning. What, if any, is your experience with zoning and how will it benefit the voters if you are elected?

With my 23 years of experience dealing with all kinds of zoning, I have a very good knowledge of Zoning laws.

5. Traffic is a major issue, especially during the tourist season. One concern is the lack of sidewalks and dedicated bike paths. Do you agree this is a concern and if so, what would you like to see changed or added regarding sidewalks and bike paths?

Yes, but we have redesigned a lot of our sidewalks and bike paths for use by pedestrians for walking and bicycling, including the Mountains to Sea Trail.

6. Our area is unique in the fact that we are comprised of several small towns and two counties. Do you feel it is important to work alongside the neighboring towns/counties and are there any specific issues you want addressed or feel needs more work?

Yes, we need to work with our neighbors. This includes North Topsail, Topsail Beach, as well as Onslow and Pender County. We need to work with our county commissioners about adding schools.

7. Hurricanes are a way of life in coastal areas. 1) Do you feel your town is properly prepared to handle a major storm? 2) What improvements, if any, would you like to see take place, regarding communication, shelters, or staff?

Yes, we are very well prepared, and we now have our own radio communication system.

8. If elected and a proposal was created regarding term limits, would you support it?

It has its good points and bad points. You must understand that experience cannot be replaced.

9. As time is always precious, do you agree that as an elected official, it is your responsibility to learn about the topics to be discussed ahead of time to help expedite discussions and decisions during the meetings?

Yes, and I go over the Council agendas with the town manager before going into meetings for this purpose.

10. If your community has paid parking: What issues do you have regarding the current program and would you work to change or alter the existing program in your community?

Our parking program is very good. It still has a few bugs, but overall, it is in a very good, and please remember, that the money collected from parking goes directly to the beach nourishment fund.

11. Tell me something about yourself that may be of interest to the community.

I have 23 years of experience on the Town Council and 23 years of experience with the Town Fire Department, in which I hold the rank of Captain.

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