Candidate Questionnaire: Teresa Batts For Surf City Mayor
1. What are your greatest strengths and skill set that will make you a good elected official?
First and foremost, I have a strong background in public service and community engagement. I have actively participated in local initiatives, serving on various community boards and committees, which has given me a deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of the town's residents. I have a genuine passion for Surf City and its residents. I also have a deep-rooted love for the town and a strong desire to make it an even better place to live, work, and play. My dedication to improving the quality of life for all residents is shown by my community involvement and commitment to listening and responding to the needs of the people.
2. Is there a particular issue that motivated you to run for office?
I am motivated to run for mayor because I have a deep passion for local issues. I have a personal connection to the community and a desire to give back.
3. Do you currently or have you ever held an elected office before, and if so, what office?
Yes. I currently hold the office as Mayor of Surf City. In 2017 and 2021 I ran successful elections for Surf City Town Council. Before becoming mayor, I sat as a Surf City Councilwoman for five years.
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?
I have Planning Board experience and professional experience with zoning. Zoning shapes the places where we live and helps ensure protection of the health, safety and welfare of our residents and visitors. Understanding the current regulations and as the Town embarks on updating those codes to align with our updated Comprehensive Plan, having someone in place that has a thorough understanding of this will benefit the others.
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?
As the Region continues to grow, traffic has grown with it. We’re seeing investments in our community that will help alleviate the congestion and those investments not only prioritize vehicular traffic but also bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. Bicycles and pedestrians should be a concern and current efforts such as the East Coast Greenway Feasibility Study, S. Shore Multi-Use Path, and various other connections throughout our community will help. I’d like to see changes by creating the necessary links to allow people to visit multiple places and businesses without having to get in their car for short distances from “A” to “B”.
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?
We’re fortunate to have a good relationship with our island communities to Topsail Island, Pender County, and Onslow County. A linkage between all these entities is through the Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Commission, that has representation from the towns as well as the counties. Cooperation also occurs through the transportation planning process as well as regional economic development efforts.
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?
1) It only takes one storm to have an adverse impact on our town. Thankfully the town staff has put in place processes and procedures to make sure we are doing everything we can to be prepared for that event. This includes securing town assets, making sure we have adequate fuel and supplies and documentation. 2.) We have learned that you can never communicate enough before, during, and after a storm event. Staff and I maintain constant communication to make sure that the appropriate message is getting out not only right before and during the event, but year-around, especially as we have numerous new residents moving into our community.
8. If elected and a proposal was created regarding term limits, would you support it?
While term limits could have benefits like reduced influence of special interests and fresh perspectives, there could also be drawbacks like reduced experience of elected officials and loss of institutional knowledge. The benefits and drawbacks of term limits are complex and there is no easy answer. It is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before I would decide whether or not to support term limits in our community.
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?
When individuals have a good understanding of the topics at hand, they can provide informed opinions, ask relevant questions, and propose practical solutions.
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?
The biggest issue we have faced with paid parking is helping people get used to it as Surf City has gone a long time without it. Paid Parking has brought an effective management tool to parking regarding offering a safer environment for motorists and pedestrians as well as delineating specific areas for parking rather than the disorganized parking on the right of way and private property. We always strive to have parking as a support tool and not sure enforcement especially for those that may be visiting for their first time.
11. Tell me something about yourself that may be of interest to the community.
I’m the mother of three extraordinary sons and two amazing grandchildren. In 2016 my life changed forever when I lost my son Tanner. Life without him will never be the same however life did continue and I thank GOD every day for this COMMUNITY that we LIVE in. This COMMUNITY took CARE of me and LOVED ME in some of the darkest days of my life. I learned that Unoccupied TIME was not my friend, so I started doing more!
In 2006 I started volunteering my time for Surf City boards and committees. I have served on the Surf City Planning Board, Topsail Island Shoreline Protection, Surf City Shoreline Protection, Cape Fear Council of Government. It is extremely important to have good relationships and connections on local, state, and federal levels no matter if you are red, blue, or purple. I was recently appointed to the Coastal Resource Commission.
I LISTEN, I AM HUMBLE, I AM RESPECTFUL, I AM LOYAL and I am going to STAND UP for YOU! There comes a TIME when we all need to STEP up to the PLATE & now is that time for ME!