Hall Hoping For Fourth Term On OC Council

Hall Hoping For Fourth Term On OC Council

OCEAN CITY – After taking a two-year hiatus, former Councilman Joe Hall wants to return to the City Council in next week’s municipal election.

Prior to falling short in the 2012 election, Hall served on City Council for 10 years with a two-year intermission.

Hall was mid-term during the 2010 elections when Councilwoman Margaret Pillas was re-elected and Councilman Brent Ashley joined the council, forming a new council majority along with former Council President Jim Hall.

The majority called themselves the “new direction.” Its’ most prominent action was forcing former City Manager Dennis Dare to resign after working for the city for 29 years. The reason given was the “desire to change management direction.”

However following his resignation, Dare filed to run for council in the 2012 election and ended up receiving the most votes. Dare joined the new and current council majority with Council President Lloyd Martin, Council Secretary Mary Knight, Councilman Doug Cymek and Councilman Joe Mitrecic.

“I haven’t lost the passion and the feel for serving my community, so it is natural for me to run. It is something that I enjoy and I feel I bring a positive impact to my community,” Hall said in deciding to run for council again. “I don’t think there was ever a real question that I wouldn’t sign up. … My input on the council will be that we will have an enabling legislation that doesn’t hinder business or investment and that we have a tax structure that attracts people to town.”

Hall, who has been living off and on in North Carolina since the last election, is concerned over the decrease in the year-round Ocean City population.

“More and more businesses are moving across the bridge. Clearly the dynamic for the business community is changing, and ultimately I have been told I have a pessimistic view but I want to counter that with I am very optimistic. I have no doubt in my mind that business will end up prospering in the long run here in Ocean City. I think that it would be quicker if we [government] get out of the way,” he said.

If elected, Hall is looking forward to being engaged, giving his input and being part of the town moving forward.

“I am sure that some of my input will be received well to help develop any initiative that is out there and sometimes it won’t be,” he said. “Ultimately it comes down to the final vote but the input and engagement process is important. I think I will bring a healthy view to help development. We have a Capital Improvement Plan, we have a Strategic Plan, and I support many of the goals in both of those plans but how we get there I would like to have my input on that for the community.”

As far as Hall’s opinion of a how the new council majority will fall, he realistically replied, “there is always going to be one.”

“Each election cycle the citizens of Ocean City get to choose their electorate. The important part is hopefully the leadership of the majority allows everybody to engage in the process. A minority can be effective as long as the majority allows them to share their opinion and ideas,” he said. “Overall, I think it is very healthy. You don’t want a lopsided government where you have 100-percent agreement on one side. There will be lack of checks and balances.”

Hall’s ideals to maintain a sustainable government and be conservative remain the same, although he sides with being a libertarian when it comes to social issues.

“The more government does for you the more inefficient it is. My opinion is a smaller, leaner government is a better government. It doesn’t mean I want to slash, cut or burn anything. It just means that when we have an issue before us I want to look at it as a whole across the board. My goal is to operate town as efficiently as possible for the investment of the taxpayers and the residents of Ocean City,” he said. “On social type issues…what you want to do with yourself or your property, as long as you’re not negatively impacting somebody else’s right to enjoy their peace and good will; I am not one that thinks government should be the answer in controlling somebody’s personal life. Yes, I will continue to be a fiscal conservative person on the council, and when it comes to issues of somebody’s personal freedoms I will lean more towards no harm, no foul.”

Hall recognized if elected he would be serving with Dare, who he helped force out in 2012 as city manager.

“While Dennis and I have very different views in what municipal town government roles should be, we are professional. Dennis and I were always able to fully discuss an issue with an open mind. We often left a conversation agreeing to disagree … if elected I’m sure our differences will continue,” he said. “I will treat Dennis Dare with all the respect an elected official deserves. He has been chosen as a representative of the people that is a very high honor that comes with incredible responsibilities. It would be a pleasure to serve with him, even sit next to him. I will embrace the opportunity to show the residents that a full rounded council can best serve them. We don’t all have to agree 100 percent of the time. In the end, we just need to vote, what our hearts believes is best for Ocean City. If we do that, Ocean City will always be in great hands and prosper.”