In preparation for the upcoming April 11 town council election, the Town of Ocean View held a Candidates’ Night to give residents the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the four candidates — Carol Bodine, Jon DeBuchananne, Kent Liddle and Don Walsh.
The four are vying for the District 4 seat that is currently held by Councilman Bob Lawless, who is term-limited. The event was well attended by town residents, with few open seats.
Bodine, a retired nurse, said her experience currently serving as secretary for the Delaware Republican Party, along with her organizational skills, make her an excellent choice for councilwoman.
“I am well aware that the council is nonpartisan, and I’ll keep it that way,” she said, noting that she would serve as the Town’s only female representative if elected.
Bodine also said she supports the police department, keeping taxes low and being business-friendly “without destroying the home ambiance of our town.”
DeBuchananne, a former business owner with a career in mortgage banking, said that gives him an advantage when it comes to the Town’s budget. He said the Town needs to find a way to subsidize the loss of revenue from transfer taxes.
“I think that’s a very important issue,” he said. “And, looking around, the strength of any community is its business. Having been a small-business owner, I’m a very strong proponent of helping and encouraging small business to come to this area.”
Liddle, who retired as a regional vice president of sales at Mohawk Industries, moved to Bear Trap with his wife Tina in 2001.
“I’m a strong believer that one needs to give back to their community,” he said. “To that end, I was elected as the director of the Bear Trap Dunes Homeowners Association for the last five years and have been president of the organization for the past year.”
Prior to filing as a candidate, Liddle served on the Town’s Planning & Zoning Commission.
“I think this has given me an early insight into what our future growth is. It has also given me an appreciation of what it takes to plan and how important it is to zone properly.”
Liddle said he would encourage growth along the Route 26 corridor, as well as growth on Beaver Dam Road.
“We need to keep up with the explosive growth going on around us,” he said.
Walsh — who, prior to filing for the election, had served on the Town’s Board of Elections — has been managing supermarkets for more than 35 years.
He said the town has come a long way in his eight years of residency but noted one of the issues he would like to address, if elected, is drainage issues throughout town.
“We need to put that to bed. There seems to be some pushback, as far as residents allowing people to go on their property,” he said. “It’s really important we make the whole drainage piece go away.”
He added he agrees the town should have “cautious expansion.”
“It’s an opportunity for Ocean View to become a destination.”
All four candidates said they wanted to work to address problems with the micro-surfacing that has been done to some of the Town’s roads.
Walsh said the Town decided to do micro-surfacing a few years ago, through communities including Bear Trap and Avon Park.
“Obviously, the quality of the work was not up to what they said the standard was, but, fortunately, there is a warranty. We need to pursue the warranty and move forward with getting it fixed, and then we need to revisit the road piece, because maybe it was something we should’ve done one development at a time…”
He added that the aggregate that is reportedly coming out of micro-surfaced roads also poses a safety hazard to citizens.
Liddle said the micro-surfacing is one of his pet peeves, and one of the reasons he’s running for office.
“The first phase, three years ago, was terrible. I complained from Day 1. I’ve been to council several times,” he said. “We need to continue until we get a new product. I have to say that last year’s paving was fine.
“Through this process, not only do we need to restore those communities’ roads, we also need to take a look at what would be the most cost-effective method we want in paving future streets.”
Bodine said the current council has been addressing the issue and noted that work on the roads in question is in the Town’s budget.
“In Delaware, Ocean View received a rating of 800 on their roads. The State of Delaware received a 600, so Ocean View is doing pretty well. The other thing you need to know is, if a community is not satisfied with the micro-surfacing, they HOA in that community has the right to upgrade it, if they pay for the upgrade.”
Liddle responded, stating that he understood that micro-surfacing was not a repaving but a recoating to extend the life of roads.
“Our roads weren’t in bad shape at the time they decided to micro-surface them.”
DeBuchananne said he doesn’t have a quick or easy answer to the issue.
“This is a budget issue. It’s already in the budget as something we need to do. We need to prioritize the communities that need it most,” he said. “Whether or not we continue micro-surfacing is something that would have to be discussed by the new council.”
The municipal election in Ocean View will be held Saturday, April 11, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at town hall.