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  • Writer's pictureTopsail Times

Candidate Questionnaire: Pam Hall For Holly Ridge Council

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

I believe a strength I bring to this council is my motivation to get to bottom of a situation. To look at ideas, issues and plans with an open mind and willingness to engage anyone with their thoughts. I remember a specific incident when a citizen attending a council meeting provided insight that exposed the perfect solution. That is the opportunities we all should be looking for and why it is important for attendance at the meetings. The council is 6 people. We do not have all the perfect answers.

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

Not that I remember. While I was running a café in town, I heard conversations that were critical of the town. I wanted to advocate fixing things versus being critical and thought the only way I could do that was to be on the council. That and I believe in always looking for the positive before the negative.

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

No. I have been on this council 8 years and before that with Parks and Recreation a year.

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?

A zoning request or a zoning issue is always different from the last one you worked on. I believe the key is to study the one in front of you, learn as much as you can about it, rely on the town planning staff to answer the questions, and then listen to the person who is requesting the change. You may have to go research again and learn more, before you can be a part of the decision making

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?

Those items did show up on the Land Use Plan and there is work being done concerning some of these. What I know is that bike paths or multi use paths on the side of state roads are done through a process. I was recently appointed by the council to sit on the JUMPO Transportation Advisory Committee. This committee collects the transportation needs across the county (multi-use paths are included). They then add suggested priorities and submit them to the next level for approval, funding and ultimately getting on the schedule. What I have however noticed is that the length of time to go through these steps is long. Not impossible, just not quick. Those items are important to the town and we have to keep looking for ways to get them.

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?

For a while now the town of Holly Ridge has been actively meeting with North Topsail, Surf City, and Topsail. There are currently 3 groups within the town staff and council, that meet routinely with representatives from each of those. Those relationships have produced mutual agreements, combined ideas and shared experiences. Very important!

What I would like to see go back on the topic list? At one time it was discussed about putting a magistrate in the Holly Ridge Police Department. That magistrate judge could service our community as well as the other 3 towns. Trips to Jacksonville for Holly Ridge and North Topsail and trips to Burgaw for Surf City and Topsail police could be handled here. Same goes with citizens who need a magistrate judge. Cost of officer’s time, citizens’ time and gas would be reduced significantly. This decision involves agreements across at least 4 police departments, 4 city governments, 2 county court systems and more. It stalled somewhere in there. I believe it is truly worth working on. I hope it will resurface.

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?

I absolutely believe our emergency plans and operating procedures make us prepared. Of course, after every event we learn something new as I am sure everyone does at their home. After every event the town staff meets to discuss the good and bad of their operation during the storm. They identify the changes to be made and they are diligent in updating the plan. I lived here and had a business during last big storm. I don’t have any suggestions to improve the process we have, but feel the town staff would listen to any ideas presented to them via a council meeting or a direct call.

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

Hard to say. Being on the council is not a continuous 8-hour day, 40 hours a week job focused on one skill. After 8 years, I feel like I have enough knowledge to know where to find answers, am comfortable enough to seek help from town staff, co-council and citizens and I am not surprised when we come on something I haven’t dealt with before. So, I really would like to stay on the board another term, but can understand why people think about term limits.

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?

I have a couple of thoughts about this. Some councils actually have a premeeting workshop to discuss agenda items. It is not a decision-making meeting and I believe it should not become an opportunity to get consensus before the public meeting. That would be disingenuous to the position. But as complex as some subjects are and the larger cities like Wilmington having so many agenda items, I understand why have those workshops. But Holly Ridge doesn’t. What we do have is this: We receive the agenda the week before the meeting. We have time to read, research, ask questions, and do a field trip if necessary. You have to do that! I don’t believe you should make a decision on something that you have only heard about at the meeting. I also believe you shouldn’t come to the meeting with your decision already made.

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?


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

Instead of about me, I would like to express something to everyone who wants to be happy and proud of their community. ALWAYS ask questions about everything you hear. Go as close to an expert as you can get, call a council person, call the town staff – but don’t jump to conclusions when you hear things, especially bad things. Go for the truth and if it is not to your liking, then speak up at a council meeting. Also, get on one of the various committees or run for an office so you can be a part of the change.


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