Q&A with Lynn Barbee, Town of Carolina Beach Mayor Candidate

What has driven you to run this Election?

When I ran for office in 2019, I began with a resident focused vision for our future.  A vision where quality of life comes first and the belief that a nice place to live will be not only a draw for new residents but a boom for tourism as well.   I have said many times “A nice place to live, is a nice place to visit”.  Once elected to council, I attacked several focus areas that needed attention immediately.  First, we needed stability within a town staff that was experiencing constant turnover in leadership positions.  With the hiring of Bruce Oakley as our town manager,  I have worked relentlessly to create a culture of partnership between Bruce, his staff and council.  Secondly, we had to attack the financial health of the town.  After a warning letter from the State Treasurer that our fund balance, which had fallen to around 20% we began to improve it to almost 50% today. When I took office in 2019, the town was mired in several expensive lawsuits that were draining town resources.  I am happy to say that as I write, the town has no pending litigation.  We settled the development fees lawsuit as well as the Freeman park litigation, saving the town significant cash, but also clearing the way to focus on infrastructure and amenities.

In four years, there are a list of improvements much longer than this article will allow.  State of the art facilities at the Hamlet Ave beach access, new restrooms at Mike Chappell Park, our marina is almost rebuilt, a wonderful new playground is going in at Lake Park this fall, we have multiuse paths on Ocean and St Joseph underway.  Under my watch we have added Freeman Park, which is the largest park in New Hanover County.  This was done with NO property tax dollars.  The town accomplished the largest paving project in recent history.  When I was elected, beach nourishment funding was uncertain, today I am happy to say that our next round of funding is already in place.

So those are great accomplishments, but why run again?  These successes are simply prerequisites to the real need, Infrastructure.  I promised to bring longer range planning to town hall and delivered with our CB2045 plan.  Not only what needs to be done, but how we plan to pay for it.  A roadmap now exists for the future.  That is why I am running to be your Mayor.  We are at the beginning of this infrastructure renewal, and with your support we will see it implemented.

What specific skills do you bring to council should you be elected/ re-elected?

Most know my resume as a seasoned executive in the technology industry, but I now have 4 years of experience in municipal government. I received fantastic mentorship from our former Mayors and council members as well as leaders and influencers within the county and state.  Those relationships are critical for our town.  We have received over $15M in grants to achieve the many projects and there are many towns out there after those funds.  The relationships with our county, state and federal partners are critical to our success. Town staff works relentlessly to bring your tax dollars from state and federal sources back to our town, but navigating the politics by leveraging the relationships, requires strong political leadership.  I have a proven track record of success.

I believe I am uniquely qualified.  As a lifelong resident (my ancestors have been here since the 1940’s), I have seen the growth of our town from a sleepy village to a booming vacation destination.  You will never doubt that I am invested for the long term as this is my home. I understand the balance that is required.  We must focus on our resident quality of life first and tourism will take care of itself.  All numbers indicate it works, record revenues from tourism, thriving businesses and many new amenities for residents.

Please share any social media page(s) or websites.

https://www.facebook.com/LynnBarbeeTownCouncil

Do you have any upcoming events promoting your run for office? 

We are working on our event schedule to begin after labor day.  Follow my Facebook page for future announcements.

Any parting words for residents as we look forward to electing the next council?  

If you want to see our town continue the string of successes over the last 4 years, vote for those who made it happen.  Governing is hard work, with long hours and a demanding schedule.  Elect candidates who have proven themselves thru commitment to our town and with proven track records of success in town leadership.