Candidate Profile 2016: Jim Brumit (R) for New Hanover County Commission
It’s a packed house in the primary race for New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Jim Brumit is one of seven Republican candidates vying for three open seats in the March 15th primary.
Jim Brumit is a retired financial analyst and general manager. He’s also a veteran, having served in active duty for three years. Now, he serves his local community through volunteer work at elementary schools and his church. He’s also the chair of New Hanover County’s Board of Equalization and Review. When asked about how he’d bring new jobs to New Hanover County, he says he’s already started this work as vice chair of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, voting for the expansion of water and sewer:
“The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority put water lines and waste water treatment lines underneath the Cape Fear River. And what’s going to happen is 421 Corridor can now be used for industry, whereas before, any industry that wanted to come here would say, ‘Hey, do you have water, do you have waste water treatment going up 421?’ The answer was no. But now, we’ve already started that process.”
Brumit says the growth of jobs and the local population will help fund infrastructure improvements without raising taxes.
Isabelle Shepherd: How would you ensure that the taxpayers dollars are being used effectively?
Jim Brumit: As a conservative, I believe that the least government is the best government. That means that you don’t vote for things that would waste the taxpayers’ money. I can give you an example. Recently, the current county commissioners voted for a tax increase, and that was totally unnecessary. It generated six million dollars, but we didn’t need that six million dollars. The growth, just normal growth, and what was left over from the previous fiscal year, generated seventeen million dollars. So, we certainly didn’t need that six million dollars. So, I would not vote for unnecessary tax increases, nor would I vote for unnecessary expenses. Right now, there is no policy for travel, and I would vote to implement a travel, not only for county commissioners, but for all of the county employees, so they know what is the policy and what is permitted and what is not permitted.
IS: So, what do you see as the largest struggle for New Hanover County?
JB: There are a couple, there are a couple. The growth and the infrastructure. But right now, we’re having a lot of problems with crime. I think the city is working towards that. But I would see also that maybe if we were to combine the police force and the sheriff’s department. In the long run, that could more effectively place limited resources to the point where we have the most crime. You wouldn’t have to have two entities working on the same thing and maybe not agreeing or going forth to solve the problem.
IS: How would you work with the school board to increase the quality of education in New Hanover County?
JB: Our schools right now graduate 82% of those eligible, but the state is 85%. Being on the county commissioners, I want to make sure that we get quality education in this area. And to include vocational schools because there are too many young people falling through the cracks, and I think that a vocational school would be a career path that many of our young people could take and they would have self esteem and move forward and get excellent jobs in the long run.
IS: So what do you think the top priorities are for a legislative agenda in Raleigh as it relates to this area?
JB: We depend a lot on tourism, and we’ve got to make sure that we have the money to renourish our beaches, that our roads and infrastructure are kept up and going forward that can support the projected growth that we’re going to have in this area. So those are two of the things that I think that we need to look forward to from the state.
IS: In recent months, there’s been a fair amount of tension between board members. If elected, how would you balance party allegiance with cooperation with the larger board for the overall benefit of the county?
JB: I will work with everybody. In fact, I work with everybody on the boards that I’m on now. You have to keep in mind what is in the best interest of the constituents, and you have to put politics aside, you have to put parties aside on occasion, but that doesn’t mean you don’t stick with your principles of “Least government is the best government.”
IS: Thanks so much for speaking with me today.
JB: Thank you for having me.