Ocean View council election set for Saturday, April 11


On April 11, the Town of Ocean View will hold a municipal election for its District 4 councilperson. The seat is currently held by Bob Lawless, who is term-limited. Four candidates — Carol Bodine, Jon DeBuchananne, Kent Liddle and Don Walsh — have filed for the position, which carries a three-year term.

Voting in the election will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ocean View town hall, located at 32 West Avenue.

Those who wish to vote election needed to register with the Town no later than April 1. Any resident who has not voted in a Town of Ocean View election in either of the past two consecutive years in which there was an election needed to re-register. County or state voter registration does not entitle residents to vote in Town of Ocean View elections. Identification is required. A Delaware driver’s license is the preferred form of identification.

As is our tradition, we have sent off a few questions to the candidates. The candidates’ responses appear in alphabetical order.

Carol Bodine

Q. How do you see the Town’s public safety moving forward in the future?

A. As long as we have an excellent police department in Ocean View, it will only get better. I support training programs, volunteer training programs and the Narcan program. As a retired registered nurse, I have seen heroin overdoses in the emergency room and that are very dramatic. My main concern is finding a way to broaden the ability of the OVPD to respond to the needs of our neighbors.

Q. How involved in the planning and operations of the town’s annual Homecoming event do you think the Town should be in future years?

A. After seeing all the memorabilia in the Town Hall, I think the Town should be very involved in carrying on this tradition. I enjoy reliving old memories and hearing people talk about the way the town used to be. During my visits going “door-to-door,” I spoke with an 84-year-old woman who has lived here all her life. She described the town and her birth in the town, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Q. How do you plan to address comprehensive planning, in particular along Route 26, in terms of commercial development?

A. Our Town completed a comprehensive land-use plan, which is approved by the State. We have a great deal of control over our zoning. I am business-friendly and love the small-town ambiance. I want to make it easy for small businesses to get started, but I do not want heavy traffic or fast-food restaurants that would attract unwelcome elements. When a new business comes to Route 26, it needs to have a hometown beach appearance and be family-friendly.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish in the next three years, if elected?

A. I hope to complete drainage system projects, improve Woodland Avenue, encourage attendance at Town Council meetings, and keep the council efficient, calm and organized. I have familiarized myself with the mayor, town manager, administrator of public works, financial manager, solicitor and other councilmen, police chief and the town clerk. I know I can work well with them, and it would be a pleasure to serve on the council.

Jon DeBuchananne

Q. How do you see the Town’s public safety moving forward in the future?

A. I feel that public safety is one of the major duties of government. I would work to maintain the high level of our current police department by ensuring that the department continues its educational and training programs by ensuring the department is up to date in new police techniques, tactics and equipment. The professionalism of our officers is paramount, and I feel that is best achieved by doing our utmost to see that they are well-trained and secure in their daily activities. Our first obligation is to see that they are well-protected and as safe as possible in doing a difficult job.

I would also like to investigate the possibility of more inter-department sharing and cooperation with the other local departments to reduce cost and redundancy for all.

Q. How involved in the planning and operations of the town’s annual Homecoming event do you think the Town should be in future years?

A. I feel the Town should supply whatever support they can in planning and providing physical resources for its annual Homecoming. We should encourage community involvement and assist whenever possible with any activity that promotes town pride brings the community together. The better we know our neighbors, the easier it will be to work together.

Q. How do you plan to address comprehensive planning, in particular along Route 26, in terms of commercial development?

A. The commercial growth and planning along the Route 26 corridor, I feel, is one of the most important issues in the near future. Having a well thought-out plan is important in several ways. First, to keep traffic problems at a minimum. In the summer, there will always be issues, but a good traffic flow and control into our shops and business along the road will make life easier for both our guests and the residents. Well thought-out and planned commercial areas will also attract quality business, thus making the area more desirable. We also need to consider foot and bicycle traffic, along with cars, to ensure it works and is safe for all.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish in the next three years, if elected?

A. Over the next three years, if elected, I would like to feel that I have contributed in a positive way to the growth and changes that are coming to Ocean View. I feel this is a wonderful community and I think as it expands there is no reason it cannot maintain its small-town atmosphere. Growth and change is inevitable. I just would like to keep it as close to what it has been and the reason I came here. I believe in limited but effective government and I don’t want all the stuff that I left to get away from brought here.

Kent Liddle

Q. How do you see the Town’s public safety moving forward in the future?

A. Our police department, while not the biggest, is the best in the county and arguably in the state. The citizens of Ocean View have voiced their opinion in the past that they want 24/7 protection and the department is at the correct size to provide that. We should maintain the Dept. as it is today and continue their extensive level of training in order to cope with today’s unique conditions. To keep these well-trained officers, we must make their compensation package competitive with other local agencies.

Q. How involved in the planning and operations of the town’s annual Homecoming event do you think the Town should be in future years?

A. The annual Homecoming was started by the Historical Society. The Town has gradually taken the lead role in its planning and execution. I would like to see more town businesses get involved, but I believe it works best when the Town takes the lead in its planning. We are a small town, and the Homecoming is a prototypical small-town event which revolves around the family.

Q. How do you plan to address comprehensive planning, in particular along Route 26, in terms of commercial development?

A. As stated by me at Candidates Night, I believe that the Route 26 corridor is where the focus of business should be. It is mainly rated for business already and is the logical area for business, as it is our main traffic corridor. Unlike many small towns, we don’t really have a “town center,” so Route 26 should serve in that capacity.

While Route 26 is a state road, building structures fall under Oceans View’s current building codes and ordinances. Having served the past year on Ocean View’s Planning & Zoning Commission, I know how important it is to support these codes and ordinances. We must make sure we maintain the small-town look we all want while at the same time making current and future business owners feel welcome and important to our town.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish in the next three years, if elected?

A. There are a number of issues before us, but three stand out in my mind. They are street maintenance, drainage and sidewalks. I will try and be brief, although each is complicated.

Regarding street maintenance, we need to first fix the “resurfacing” mess created in 2013. I believe the process was flawed and have recommended to town council they invoke the warranty against the contractor. The streets in question continue to fail and are a safety issue to walkers and bikers. Council then needs to review the current “micro-surfacing process” and determine if this is our best option in the future.

Living in a coastal area, drainage is always an issue. We have a system of ditches which need to be cleaned or repaired. The Town is required to get easements from owners whose property are affected to do this work. Some people are not cooperating. We need to find a solution, and I would like to be part of the process.

Finally, the issue of sidewalks. At Candidates Night, I stated I was in favor of requiring sidewalks in commercial zoned areas. Council must also address compliance with ADA (American Disabilities Act) laws. We have some sidewalks which don’t comply, and we need to figure out a solution to put us in compliance at the lowest cost to taxpayers.

Donald F Walsh Jr.

Q. How do you see the Town’s public safety moving forward in the future?

A. The town needs to continue focusing on the police department. The current police chief has done an admirable job in training and development of his force. With that being said, continued support through funding whether state or local should be an expectation moving forward.

Q. How involved in the planning and operations of the town’s annual Homecoming event do you think the Town should be in future years?

A. The Town needs to have an even bigger event. The ability to solicit more sponsors, advertise through mass media and schedule a variety of entertainment will insure the popularity in the future. Also, solicit feedback from the town members, as well research other towns in Sussex County that have similar events. The annual event should reflect the pride of the “Town of Ocean View” teamwork and commitment.

Q. How do you plan to address comprehensive planning, in particular along Route 26, in terms of commercial development?

A. The opportunity for growth exists upon completion of the Route 26 project. Cautious expansion through proper planning will insure Ocean View becomes a “destination” in the years ahead.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish in the next three years, if elected?

A. I will, through my input on Town Council, ensure the continued positive trends throughout the Town. My ability to support through positive interaction, whether at meetings or visibility in the community, is something I’m looking forward to with great pride.