How to grow the region’s economy in an effective and sustainable manner is a question that comes up frequently in discussions with government leaders. It was the second question put to candidates running for a seat on the New Hanover County Commission during last night’s Forum at WHQR. And as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, it was a push for clarity after a forum last week that yielded little in the way of specifics.
Last night, WHQR Reporter Sara Wood asked candidates what they would do to lure big industry – and what they see as current examples of extraneous red tape.
“The rules and regulations that we’ve all been discussing primarily should be efficient and effective and first and foremost they should be transparent and predictable. As a county governing board, we should not impose any unnecessary roadblocks to make it more difficult to do business.”
Republican candidate Beth Dawson says whether that means building infrastructure or making careful zoning decisions – it comes down to having a pro-business commission.
Democratic Candidate Rob Zapple says he would listen to business leaders and hear about their needs first.
“Before jumping forth with any kind of offer of anything, I would then go and point to our strengths – point to the beauty of our unique environmental setting that we have here. And I also would take them for a tour of our downtown area – our arts and cultural community here which often sells our city and sells corporations just on that alone.”
Fellow Democrat Robert Murray says uncovering the regulatory red tape can only happen on a case-by-case basis.
“We’d have to sit down with each individual business that comes in here to see where they feel that they’re being burdened. Talk to me. Talk to us. Let’s sit down and look at it. Give me point for point. In other words, why would you not bring it here?”