Millville voters head to polls on Saturday


Millville will hold its annual municipal elections this Saturday, March 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Voting will be conducted in the Town Hall Meeting Room at 11 Club House Road. All residents of Millville age 18 and older are eligible to cast a vote, which will determine which three candidates of the four who have filed to run for council this year will fill the three open seats on council. Incumbents Donald Minyon and Richard Thomas are running alongside hopefuls Joseph Calvarese and Michael Jeffers. Those elected to council will hold their position until March of 2011.

Anyone wishing to vote is asked to bring proof of identity and address. A state-issued driver’s license or photo ID are sufficient. Absentee ballots will be accepted until noon on Friday, March 6. For further information on the elections, contact Town Manager Debbie Botchie at (302) 539-0449 or by e-mailing mvtownmgr@mchsi.com.

To aid voters in making their choice in the voting, the Coastal Point has once again asked all the candidates to participate in our traditional Coastal Point question-and-answer series. The candidates’ submissions appear below, beginning with incumbents and then challengers, in alphabetical order.

Coastal Point: Donald Minyon
Donald Minyon

Q: What are your ideas for the future of Millville’s public safety, specifically in regards to a future police department?

Minyon: Millville should cautiously move ahead on establishing our own police department. We have applied for federal grants to help establish a public safety office. As the economy begins to gets better and Millville by the Sea expands, they intend to help out with public safety. The 2008 Town Council also put aside almost a million dollars to start up a police department.

Q: What would you like to see done in order to preserve Millville’s unique history?

Minyon: We have a lot of great history in Millville. Fortunately, we now have a historical preservation committee. They are a relatively new committee who are focused on the preservation of Millville’s past. I think it best to allow committees that are already established to do their jobs, and then expand upon their ideas as they need help from council.

Q: Millville and the entire coastal area are undergoing rapid expansion. What are your plans to make sure that town character is preserved while still keeping the town current?

Minyon: Millville is in a unique situation. Obviously we can’t stop growth. Once people come into town to build housing developments or businesses, we can’t really stop them as long as they comply with legislation. New businesses should make the town more attractive to potential homeowners.

We have applied for a million dollars in streetscape moneys to try and connect all our neighborhoods and put in sidewalks and provide lighting up to Route 26. We’re working with DelDOT to connect the town. I’d like to see us planting lots of trees along Route 26. We have also been working to start up a new pumpkin festival. Having town events helps build character; we don’t have the old historic neighborhoods that cities have, and events such as the festival help provide that atmosphere.

Q: What ideas do you have for future annexations? How would you like to see the town expand?

Minyon: I’m always open to annexation. I’d like to see the annexation committee put out a brochure with all the advantages off annexing into town. I’m looking to close up all those little enclaves such as White’s Creek, Windmill Drive. Those areas are neither in Millville nor the county, and I’d like to solve that. I think it’s important to try and make it advantageous for people to move into the town.

Q: What ideas do you have for alternate sources of general revenue?

Minyon: We want to try and keep property taxes as low as we possibly can. In next year’s budget, which we’ve started looking at, we haven’t raised any taxes. As long as we can maintain the economy, we’re not looking to raise taxes. As it stands, we’re doing OK for next year. You have to think of the people in the community before you worry about finances. It’s great to generate revenue for a town, but you can’t do so at the expense of the citizens.

Q: What do you see as the future of the Route 17 expansion? Do you have any specific ideas for how you would like to see that project flesh out?

Minyon: Quite frankly, it’s hard for us to do much on Route 17. I’d like to see a commercial area from Hocker’s all the way down to Millville by the Sea. We should also focus on making that stretch safer. I’d like to see more turn lanes, but most of that is handled by the individual developers themselves.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say that has not been mentioned in previous questions?

Minyon: I’ve been on the council for two and a half years. I think the two greatest things we’ve been able to accomplish are that we’ve been able to provide curbside recycling to our citizens at no cost to them; as well as providing Dumpsters twice a year. We’re going to keep that project going. I’m totally about clean and green on the Council’s agenda.

I spent a lot of time working with Millville by the Sea and Beebe to get them to move into the town. Having those businesses in town will attract a lot of visitors. Those visitors then see our local businesses, and the whole town stands to benefit.

Coastal Point: Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas

Q: What are your ideas for the future of Millville’s public safety, specifically in regards to a future police department?

Thomas: I’ve been an advocate of a town police for the last three years. Town Council has contacted the state police, but that has not amounted to anything. Having a police department is my No. 1 priority. I’ve been working with the mayor extensively on this problem during my previous term on council and intend to continue moving this effort in a forward direction.

Q: What would you like to see done in order to preserve Millville’s unique history?

Thomas: My wife is quite a historian, she wrote a lengthy paper on general Dagsboro. We have not been able to find out too much around Millville, although we have been looking. It seems to be a history that has been lost over the years; not to insult the town. Millville must have a very rich history, and I’d be interested to see that discovered. We spent almost a year and a half researching Dagsboro, so I’d like to see something like that happen here.

Q: Millville and the entire coastal area are undergoing rapid expansion. What are your plans to make sure that town character is preserved, while still keeping the town current?

Thomas: My wife and I moved here in 82-83. We had been living in Rehoboth, and it was the town’s character that made us think this would be a nice place to retire. At one time Millville by the Sea wanted to turn their complex over to us, and I personally fought that. Millville will grow, but as long as we can keep council and town offices within the old Millville I think we’ll be able to maintain our character.

Q: What do you see as the future of the Route 17 expansion? Do you have any specific ideas for how you would like to see that project flesh out?

Thomas: It’s a process we have to look at. Until we see something that is beneficial to the town of Millville, I’d like to stand reserve on it. The west side of 17, to my understanding, is not in the town of Millville.

Q: What ideas do you have for future annexations? How would you like to see the town expand?

Thomas: I’m chairman of the annexation committee and I believe it’s a necessary process. As we grow it’s something we need to focus on. We have very reasonable taxes in town, but I don’t want to rush anybody. We will address issues of annexation as they arise.

Q: What ideas do you have for alternate sources of general revenue?

Thomas: Millville is doing well right now, and as long as I’m the treasurer I’ll keep it that way. We have a very good budget right now, and I intend to preserve that.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say that has not been mentioned in previous questions?

Thomas: I’m very proud of Millville. We have discussions, not arguments. We keep our books straight and our taxes low; and I think we can all be very proud of our town.

Coastal Point: Joseph Calverese
Joseph Calverese

Q: What are your ideas for the future of Millville’s public safety, specifically in regards to a future police department?

Calvarese: To enhance the quality of life, I support a permanent police force, beginning with hiring a police chief. Cost and expenses can be paid out of accumulated funds from prior transfer taxes. We shouldn’t be relying on new taxes or Ocean View to police our community. I support the town’s continued efforts to assist the Millville Volunteer Fire Company. I also believe the mayor has been discussing having a YMCA in town, and I very much support that.

Q: What would you like to see done in order to preserve Millville’s unique history?

Calvarese: I’m all for historical preservation. Growing up in Delaware and coming to Sussex County, I remember the quality of life that attracted us to the quiet areas surrounding Bethany. Recent growth is changing Millville, yet the small-town spirit remains. If elected, I pledge to use my expertise to ensure we don’t lose that spirit or the quality of life we all enjoy.

Q: Millville and the entire coastal area are undergoing rapid expansion. What are your plans to make sure that town character is preserved, while still keeping the town current?

Calvarese: I support reasonable growth but with costs borne by the developer and residents of the new developments. There has been some recent talk of issuing bonds to help pay for the town’s expansion, and I’m not sure that we should get ourselves in a hole before we even begin. Care must be exercised so that Millville cannot be held liable because of defaults of bonds issued by the town in connection with development. I think the developers themselves should contribute more to the community.

Q: What ideas do you have for future annexations? How would you like to see the town expand?

Calvarese: There are some pockets that are inside the city limits, and we ought to annex there. We should try to annex as close to the town as possible, however. If people want us to extend out to them, that’s definitely possible, but I would prefer we focus on keeping the town continuous, avoiding large gaps that are not part of the town.

Q: What ideas do you have for alternate sources of general revenue?

Calvarese: I don’t want to raise taxes, but I’d like to see the cost of building permits raised to help offset the fact that development is down. The city has a good amount of revenue saved up; we can wait out a recession. As I mentioned earlier, I would avoid relying on loans and bonds to fund projects, as I feel that could create more of a problem for us in the future if bonds began to default.

Q: What do you see as the future of the Route 17 expansion? Do you have any specific ideas for how you would like to see that project flesh out?

Calvarese: I believe that is the western boundary of Millville by the Sea. In taking them in, we ought to support their efforts. I’d be in favor of widening the improvement and working with DelDoT as much as possible. We should also focus on light placements, to go with the new housing developments that are going up.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say that has not been mentioned in previous questions?

Calvarese: I am confident I can help Millville because of my experience with both state and local government. I have served as a deputy attorney general in the Delaware Department of Justice, and as city solicitor of Delaware City. I was also assistant county attorney, and later a city attorney in Colorado. I’m also considered an expert in municipal securities by federal security regulators.

Coastal Point: Michael Jeffers
Michael Jeffers

Q: What are your ideas for the future of Millville’s public safety, specifically in regards to a future police department?

Jeffers: I think Millville is right where it needs to be in terms of talking about a public safety office. I believe we’re ready to go down that road, and I think that’s a great idea, especially as the town grows with projects such as Millville by the Sea. I think, if properly funded using the proposed money from new projects, there’s a prime opportunity for the town to get a public safety building up without incurring a lot of cost to the town.

Q: What would you like to see done in order to preserve Millville’s unique history?

Jeffers: One of the things I appreciate most about Millville is the old-town feel and charm. I think with any town, as you grow, it’s important to maintain where you came from and embrace that. I’m very excited to hear about upcoming projects and how a lot of what is being discussed pays homage to Millville’s past.

Q: Millville and the entire coastal area are undergoing rapid expansion. What are your plans to make sure that town character is preserved, while still keeping the town current?

Jeffers: I think that town character goes hand in hand with history. Millville has a lot of character, and it’s very spread out. We should focus on keeping the town’s identity one of a well-established town but merging that with the new feel from new businesses. The trick is finding an effective way to merge classic Millville with new developments as they are planned.

Q: What ideas do you have for future annexations? How would you like to see the town expand?

Jeffers: I think that the town is poised for an enormous amount of growth in the upcoming years. I think annexation would help to round out the town. There are a few spotty areas where it’s unclear whether they are town or county property. From a perspective of being able to service a wide area, and provide utilities, it makes sense to fill in those areas.

Q: What ideas do you have for alternate sources of general revenue?

Jeffers: With the fall-off in building permits, which is where the town has prospered in previous years, there are all kinds of taxes being proposed. I’d like to see the town draw more money from the tourist population and be able to pull from what development projects we do have instead of relying on taxes.

Q: What do you see as the future of the Route 17 expansion? Do you have any specific ideas for how you would like to see that project flesh out?

Jeffers: I think it’s inevitable that that corridor is going to grow, but I think that will work to everyone’s benefit. We need to make sure that everything is kept balanced, though, so that it can support itself without overwhelming that area. I like the idea of that area being mixed residential and business. I’d like to see us poised to deal with problems as they arise.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say that has not been mentioned in previous questions?

Jeffers: I’d like to see town council manage growth responsibly to ensure that future needs are anticipated, evaluated and properly funded in appropriate time, while also preserving our small-town atmosphere.