Having lived in Sussex County for more than 20 years, with his wife, Rosemary, and eight children, Billy Carroll has now thrown his hat into the ring for the District 4 seat on the Sussex County Council.
“I feel as though people who live here in Sussex County are some of the luckiest people in the world, because this is an ideal place to live and raise children, to have a business, and to come and retire,” Carroll said. “I want to preserve that.
“In preserving that, I feel as though we need to, at the governmental level, be proactive in making sure the environment stays friendly for the people who live here. That means the government has to change with changing times. I feel as though I have the vision of how that change should go.”
Carroll, a Republican who filed to run for the seat on Feb. 11, said that there are numerous issues facing the county that he hopes to improve, including safety.
“We do have police issues. That’s one of the reasons we’ve had controversies with the sheriff,” he explained. “The County has to be more proactive in keeping our citizens safe. With the economic downturn and the number of retirees we have, we can’t be targets for crime.
“I was a victim of crime several times,” he noted. “We’ve had people break into our house, while we were there. So I have first-hand knowledge, and I feel the County and the State have to be more active in keeping our citizens safe.”
Carroll said he also plans to work on keeping Sussex County tax monies in Sussex County.
“The State is going to have our developers pay a flooding tax, but the taxes are all going toward projects in New Castle County. New Castle County is going to be the beneficiary of our tax dollars, and that’s the general trend here in the state,” he said.
“We have the No. 1 industry in the state, which is agriculture. We have the No. 2 industry, which is tourism, the No. 4 industry, which is construction and real estate services.
“We issue more building permits than New Castle and Kent counties combined, times 50 percent. We’re 50 percent more in terms of building. We are creating jobs here every day, and they are taking the fruits of our labor and using them up there.”
Carroll said the tax money from Sussex County that is used elsewhere in the state could have more of a positive impact in its originating county.
“We have twice as many people who live in poverty here. I’m not asking the State to solve the poverty problem, but they’re asking our poor to fix the poverty problems up in New Castle County. I think New Castle County should take care of their own problems. We can take care of ours. We’re having a huge wealth transfer from the have-nots to the haves, and we need to reverse that.”
The District 4 seat is currently held by Republican George Cole, who has been serving on the council for 28 years. The district includes the area of the Inland Bays, including communities near Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, Long Neck, Henlopen Acres, Millville, Oak Orchard, Ocean View and Rehoboth Beach.
Cole said this week that, at this time, he is “leaning toward not running” for re-election, but that he will decide in the spring.
Carroll, who is a small-business owner, said he’s excited to be out campaigning for the election and having the chance to interact with his potential constituents.
“I love getting out and meeting people and finding out what they’re concerned about and listening to their stories,” he said. “I’m discovering, when I sit down and talk to people, that we’re all connected.
“All I have to do is ask people where they went to school, what their children did, what they do for a living, and the next thing I know is we have several people we know in common. I feel I have a real commonality with a lot of the people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”
Carroll said Sussex County has so much to offer and he is excited to have the chance to serve its citizens on county council.
“We have the lowest tax rate in the country. That makes it very affordable here. We have recreational activities here that are second to none. Between the boating and fishing, the bike trails, the ocean, surfing and the mild weather — which seems to have abandoned us this winter — it really makes it a neat place to live.”
According to the Sussex County Department of Elections, as of Coastal Point’s Wednesday deadline, Carroll was the only candidate who had officially filed to run for the District 4 seat. Democrat Shirley Price announced last week her plans to file to run for the seat.
To learn more about Carroll, visit www.voteforbillycarroll.com.