Holly Ridge is operating with a couple governing positions vacant for the time being after two recent resignations.


Holly Ridge Mayor Anita Dingler resigned from her office Dec. 3 due to a change in residency that moved her outside of town limits. Council member Kelly Collins also resigned the same day. Their resignations were not connected, according to town officials, and both had two years remaining in their terms.


Dingler thanked the town officials for keeping Holly Ridge running and growing over the years and the people for allowing her to work for them in various capacities.


“It was my privilege to serve them as a representative of the town and make the best decisions possible for the growth of the town,” Dingler said.


Dingler moved because it was the best decision for her family, she said. She plans to continue to be involved in the community as a citizen. The N.C. general statutes states that one must reside within a town to serve as an elected official, Dingler said.


Dingler first worked for the city in 2007 as chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Department until 2009. In 2011, Dingler was elected to the Holly Ridge Town Council and served on the council until she ran for mayor and was elected in 2013. She was two years into her second term and served her last day as mayor on Dec. 13.


Collins gave her letter of recognition and resigned from the town council on Dec. 3 without providing a reason. Her term was from 2017-2021.


Holly Ridge will now turn its attention towards filling the two open positions. The town council will decide who will be the next mayor and council member, according to Town Manager Heather Reynolds.


“The general statute doesn’t say how that’s supposed to be,” Reynolds said. “But’s very clear about who does it.”


As mayor pro-tem, Pam Hall will serve as mayor until a new one is chosen, Reynolds said. The council can chose the new mayor and council member through a motion and vote method or a nomination and ballot method.


The town will accept letters of interest for the position until Jan. 3, according to Reynolds. Those letters will then be given to the council, who will hopefully decide at the Jan. 14 meeting which method to chose from, Reynolds said.


“The council has not determined what procedure they’re going to use to fill the vacancies,” Reynolds said.


The council must decide on the procedure and rules before a vote can occur, Reynolds said.


Interest for the positions is high, according to Reynolds. Interested applicants are asked to submit a letter of interest no later than 5 p.m. Jan. 3 to Town Hall, 212 N. Dyson St. in Holly Ridge.


“We have a lot of people that are jumping at the bit for these two positions,” Reynolds said. “We’ve got more people that want to come in and see what the position of mayor does.”


What happens next should not cause citizens to worry, Dingler said.


“The town of Holly Ridge is still moving forward and these are going to be good changes,” Dingler said.


Growth will be coming to town, Dingler said, which they have planned for.


“It wasn’t just me, I was the mayor overseeing the board,” Dingler said. “The council over the last six-to-10 years has made the changes to prepare for the future, which is going in a positive direction.”


Reporter Kevin Vandenburg can be reached at 910-219-8453 or kvandenburg@jdnews.com. For digital subscription information, click here.