Candidates for Oak Island Mayor have different views

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) - There are distinct differences in the two candidates running for mayor of Oak Island.

For starters, one is a candidate with 14 years of experience and the other is a newcomer.

Betty Wallace said having little experience isn't a drawback.  She believes the current administration is hiding things.

"I have been watching for the past several years," said Wallace.  "The current administration has a record of hiding information. They refuse to disclose information to the public."

Current Oak Island Mayor, Johnie Vereen, disagrees with Wallace.  He says the administration shares a lot of information with the public.

"This is probably the most open administration it's ever been," said Vereen.  "We have very few closed meetings. Anybody can come see me anywhere when I'm out. You can even come to my house if necessary."

Vereen has been mayor for ten years and he said there is more he wants to do.

"We still have to finish infrastructure, the bridge, parking on the island for up coming tourists," said Vereen.

Wallace said that kind of spending needs to be controlled, especially in tight economic times.

"They build structures, they have a new town hall that's costing $4.9 million in a recession," said Wallace.

"[She] may disagree but we were able to build a new town hall in this economy without raising taxes," said Vereen.

One of Vereen's priorities for a next term would be a green initiative.  He wants to spread eco-friendly ways into the community with solar power.

As mayor, Wallace said she would work to bring economic assistance to the town's senior citizens and veterans.  She wants to give them assistance on total cost of living.

The Oak Island mayoral candidate forum will take place Thursday evening at the Recreation Department in Oak Island, beginning at 6:30.

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