Sheeran to serve Ocean View council for three more years

There will be no election in Ocean View this April, as District 3 incumbent Tom Sheeran was the only resident to file to run for the position on the town council.

“Tom Sheeran is an excellent town councilman, and the town is fortunate to have him for another three years,” said outgoing Mayor Gordon Wood.

“I was very happy to be accepted for another three years,” added Sheeran.

Sheeran was first elected to the Ocean View Town Council in 2001, as District 3 representative. During that time, he has served on numerous committees, as well as chairing the committee to search for a new town manager.

“I think the first three years were productive. We got budgets all squared away fairly well. We’re working well with our new town manager. We have strengthened the police force over the three years,” he said. He added that he hopes to work with the Millville Volunteer Fire Department and have the department in Lord Baltimore Elementary School more frequently, so the firefighters are more familiar with the school’s layout.

Sheeran said that in his upcoming three-year term, he hopes to start saving funds to help beautify the town and make it a more appealing location for potential businesses.

“In the budget this year, we’re starting a fund,” said Sheeran of the beautification effort. “Of course, we can’t do anything until the widening project is completed in a couple years, but we can start saving a little bit right now so we have it available to do something to make it look a little nicer, to attract people and businesses to Ocean View. And we need to do something to attract more businesses to Ocean View — be more business-friendly and get a few more things going.”

Throughout the town, there are small pockets of land that are part of unincorporated Sussex County and not annexed into the town. Sheeran said he hopes to find a way to make the town contiguous and to bring those properties into the town.

“I’d like to bring them in,” he said. “The problems this presents is the legalities of the police department going out to these places. They aren’t paying for the police department to go out there when they have a problem, yet our police, morally, have to respond. It’s costing Ocean View citizens to service these people, and they’re not paying anything for it. We need to either annex them in or find a way to charge them for the services.”

Although, during his first campaign, Sheeran spoke out against the town’s sidewalk improvement plan, he said he is now a supporter, due to the economic upturn.

“I was against them at the beginning,” he said. “That was the height of the economic slowdown, and I thought we didn’t need to spend that much money at that point. But I think it’s working out. I don’t know how far we’ll be able to go with it.”

Sheeran said, though, that as a resident of Hunter’s Run, he doesn’t expect the sidewalks to make it to his community in the next three years.

“But I do think there are areas that need sidewalks,” he added.

Sheeran said he is looking forward to the upcoming three years serving the town, and he hopes to hear more from the town’s citizens and have the residents be more involved.

“Citizens should figure out their interests within their towns and, more importantly, make those interests known to the people they’re voting for,” he said. “We haven’t had quite enough of that.”

In his three years on council, Sheeran said, he’s seen the town council work together productively.

“The contention the council had among itself and with citizens outside — we have, I think, solved many of those problems and removed the contention, where people are all living a bit happier,” he said.

Sheeran will be sworn in at the town’s April 22 workshop, at 5 p.m., alongside Walter Curran, who will replace Wood as the town’s mayor.

“I think Mayor Wood did a good job overall. I think Mr. Curran will be a welcome addition.”