Hilburn won’t run for reelection

Daniel Hilburn and his wife Amanda.
Daniel Hilburn and his wife Amanda.

Lake Waccamaw Mayor Daniel Hilburn will not run for reelection.

“I’ve been in office for 15 years here, and in public service in one way or another for 34 years,” Hilburn said. “It’s just time.”

The former Highway Patrol Sergeant and Army veteran was first elected to the town commissioners in 2006, and later won the mayoral post.

Hilburn gives credit to the board of commissioners for improvements that have come to the town during his tenure.

“It was always a group effort,” he said, “but I’m proud that we have not had a tax increase in more years than I can remember, in at least 30 years. At the same time, the audit shows that we have increased the town’s general fund from just under $1 million to more than $1.5 million.

“Evaluations have fluctuated, Hilburn said, “but the tax rate hasn’t.”

Hilburn was at the helm during two major natural disasters at the lake – Matthew, then the much more destructive Hurricane Florence. 

“Despite those challenges, we have held the line. We’ve also gotten reimbursed for much of the cost involved in cleaning up after those storms, and we’ve continued to improve the town’s infrastructure.”

Sticking to priorities is key, Hilburn said.

“You have to be cognizant of the difference between needs and wants,” he said.  “You maintain the needs, and plug the wants in where you can.”
The lake has seen major growth and changes in recent years, changes that began with the recession in 2008.

“For generations, there weren’t homes for sale at the lake,” he said. “People passed them down to their families. When things began to change houses came on the market, and people from all over the country – all over the world – discovered what we already knew: this is a special place. It’s a great place to live. At the same time, we have to maintain what makes the lake special. It’s been doing just fine for 110 years – some things don’t need to be changed.

“We have a friendly, laid-back town,” he said. “We don’t even have a stoplight – even Hallsboro has a stoplight. We may be the only community in the county without one.”

Hilburn said he is looking forward to actually “retiring,” and spending time with his two grandchildren. 

Hilburn said living at the Lake is like “being on vacation 24/7, but we have to keep working on it.

“I like to tell people, ‘We don’t want you to try to change Lake Waccamaw. Let Lake Waccamaw change you instead’.

“This lake is God’s creation. It’s beautiful. It’s peaceful. It’s a healthy place to live. People are realizing that.”

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About Jefferson Weaver 1877 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@ColumbusCountyNews.com.