NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Julia Olson-Boseman, Democrat, is campaigning to retain her seat on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Olson-Boseman is seeking her third term and is currently chair of the board.
Port City Daily sent out a questionnaire to every candidate running for local office in the tri-county area. The paywall is dropped on profiles to help voters make informed decisions before voting.
As a reminder, the early voting period runs from April 28 to May 14. The voter registration deadline is April 22. Voters can register same day throughout the two-week early voting period (check if your registration is active at your current address).
Primary election day is May 17. Voters will choose the candidates from their registered party that they wish to advance in the official election. Those registered as unaffiliated can choose the party primary in which they wish to vote.
Olson-Boseman’s positions on the issues are discussed below. All responses are included in their entirety and the candidate’s opinions and statements do not reflect Port City Daily. Responses are edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity only.
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Port City Daily (PCD): What is your top priority and how would you respond to it?
Julia Olson-Boseman (JOB): My top priority is to deal with rapid growth and the rising cost of living. As commissioner, I will lower taxes, raise wages for all county employees, and invest in affordable housing.
PCD: What improvements need to be made to public transit in New Hanover County? If a quarter-cent sales tax increase were passed, would you support a resolution to levy the tax starting in 2023? If a quarter-cent sales tax increase is not passed, what would be the next best course of action?
JOB: With the skyrocketing cost of living, I’m not in favor of a quarter-cent increase in sales tax. I think public transit needs to be funded; many people and their businesses are still suffering.
PCD: What are your thoughts on the affordable housing crisis in New Hanover County? Is $15 million over five years enough? How should this money be used? What else should be done?
JOB: Two days ago, the county raised the salaries of all first responders, including 911 operators, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies, by at least 12% to ensure our first responders can afford to live here.
READ MORE: New Hanover County raises pay for first responders starting this week
In the next budget, we are approving an 8.2% increase for all employees to keep up with the cost of living and to make housing more accessible.
Recently we approved the investment of $15 million over the next three years in affordable housing.
In addition to this, we’ve worked with the City of Wilmington and local developers to invest in affordable housing projects throughout the county, including The Starway Project, Eden Village, and various Habitat for Humanity projects.
PCD: New Hanover County creates an anti-violence department and spends millions every year to launch it. What do you think of the action plan?
JOB: I’m proud of the investment we’re making to help keep our citizens safe and keep guns out of our children’s reach.
PCD: In what ways should New Hanover County manage population growth? Are there any new ideas you would bring to the table?
WORK: New Hanover County has been discovered. It’s no longer the sleepy little town I was born in 55 years ago. We must continue to consider any impact new development will have on traffic before it is approved, enhance and preserve our parks, and protect our natural resources.
PCD: To what extent do you think the county reconciles development and “livability” (i.e. moderate traffic, preserved green spaces, etc.)?
JOB: Given the influx of new residents over the past few decades and the lack of housing in our county, it’s obvious that New Hanover County is doing a pretty good job of livability.
The traffic will get worse over the years as more and more people find out about us. Traffic means for me, jobs and tourists.
PCD: What role should commissioners play in protecting the local environment and the coast?
JOB: Commissioners are important in ensuring that our beach communities receive the funds they need from state and federal governments, as well as local tourism dollars to promote each community.
PCD: What do you think of the additional county funding for the school district?
JOB: Last year, I led the charge to make sure New Hanover County teachers were the highest paid in the state. I am committed to pre-K education – CFCC.
PCD: what do you want? think about current tax rates? How would you balance taxes with identifying funding for priority issues?
JOC: We will lower the tax rate in the next budget. I would like us to reduce taxes so they are revenue neutral by using some of the $300 million in the income stabilization fund to put money back into the local economy.
PCD: Are there one or more additional issues that you think need to be addressed during your tenure, if you win?
JOB: I’ve proven myself to get things done. Since I was elected, we have built a 200-bed treatment center to help address the addiction problem in this county; formed an endowment of $1.3 billion which is, by the way, greater than the initial amount of the Duke endowment; brought teacher pay to the top of the state; added social workers and mental health care to our schools; brought hundreds of millions of dollars in new economic investments; and lowered the tax rate.
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