Ocean View candidates get their say


Voting in the Ocean View town council and mayoral elections for 2008 will be held on Saturday, April 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the town hall, located at 32 West Avenue.

After more than a year of controversy over finances, the police department budget, office space at town hall, raises for town department heads and perks provided to the town manager, two candidates for mayor and four candidates for District 3 council member have stepped forward to help forge a path forward for the town.

Two candidates for mayor of Ocean View and four candidates for the town council’s District 3 seat have filed to run in the April 12 elections.

Gordon Wood and Vinnie Esposito have filed in the mayoral race, aiming to take over for Mayor Gary Meredith, who has completed the town’s limit of two three-year terms. Wally Brown, Perry Mitchell, Susan White and Joe Martinez have filed for the council seat representing District 3, where one of them will replace Councilman Norman Amendt, who also completed the maximum of two three-year terms.

A March 19 candidates’ night allowed a capacity crowd of potential voters to hear from each of the six candidates and continued to raise concerns over comportment, personal attacks, divisive campaigning and disparate financial priorities as the town entered the final few weeks before a vote.

Local newspapers have been flooded with letters to the editor regarding the election, with campaign advertising booming for positions that carry no financial compensation. Interest in the small-town election has been high.

The town even extended traditional voting hours and opened town hall on a Saturday in order to better ensure as many potential voters as possible were able to register in the election. Only voters registered in the town are eligible to vote in this election. State and/or county registration does not qualify voters to vote in Ocean View elections.

The deadline for submitting voter registration forms for any Ocean View residents who have not already registered to vote was on Monday, March 31. Any resident who has not voted in the Town of Ocean View’s election for the past two consecutive years in which there was an election was also required to re-register in order to be eligible to vote in this election.

Registered voters should bring photo ID in order to vote on Saturday, election officials warned. No one except election officials and registered voters in the process of voting will be allowed in the voting area on Saturday, under new requirements of state election law for municipalities. All candidates and their supporters will have to remain outside that area, except while casting their own ballots.

Absentee ballots had to be requested prior to noon on Friday, April 11, and returned prior to 5 p.m. on Saturday, at the close of in-person voting. The absentee ballots will be hand-counted during the voting period on Saturday.

(For further information on the elections, call the Town Hall at (302) 539-9797, ext. 1.)

The Coastal Point developed a series of 12 questions for the candidates in both the mayor and council race this year. Each set of identical questions was provided to the candidates at the close of the March 19 candidates’ night, and each was given until Wednesday, April 9, to return their responses.

The candidates’ responses to these questions appear below, first from mayoral candidates and then council candidates, with each race’s candidates appearing in alphabetical order.

Mayoral Race

Vincent Esposito

Q. The town is facing a major shortfall in anticipated transfer tax revenues. What would you do to address this issue if you are elected? Should the town consider raising property taxes? What revenue options and priorities would you like to see the town pursue? Would you pursue budget cuts, and, if so, in what areas and to what degree?

A. The first thing that must be done is to carefully evaluate just what level of shortfall exists in transfer fund revenues. For example, the town’s own five-year budget plan indicates that within three or four years it is projected that transfer tax income will be near the same levels they were during the peak years of development with Bear Trap, Briarcliffe, Wedgefield and Avon Park. However, if we do face a short-term reduction in transfer tax revenues, I feel we have to review all the available town fund resources to see if we can possibly offset expenses without negatively affecting services or imposing an additional tax burden on residents.

This examination would include not only the Transfer Tax fund, but also the Emergency Reserve Trust fund and the Capital Replacement Trust fund. We also as a council need to be more proactive in seeking new revenue streams for the town. As an example, I would initiate an aggressive program to pursue untapped state and federal grant monies to help offset expenses wherever possible. If budget cuts would be required, I would recommend an across-the-board review of each department’s expenses and staff levels.

Q. The town has allocated some $300,000 in funds for the construction of a public works building to address the need for space for equipment storage and administrative offices. Do you believe the town should build a $300,000 building, use the money to add on to existing town structures, allocate additional funds for a more extensive project, build a “phased” project starting with the $300,000, or find some other solution? Why?

A. Certainly, the Public Works department needs adequate space for the storage of its expensive equipment and I feel the $300,000 currently allocated by the town for a Public Works building is a more than adequate amount to meet these needs. However, until we determine just what the financial status is in Ocean View, I feel the only fiscally responsible thing to do is to put a moratorium on any new expansion of town facilities. Once we establish the financial health of our town, we can then proceed with appropriate expansion needs of the various departments.

Q. What do you believe should be done to address the ongoing shortage of space for staff at town hall?

A. The current shortage of space in town hall is an example of our town not planning properly for growth. It has been less than four years since the last renovations of the town hall building and we are faced with a need for additional space. This is fiscally irresponsible. As stated in Question #2, I feel we need to abstain from any major expansion until we determine the exact financial status of our town. However, to meet the growth needs of town hall, I feel we should first strongly consider the three available properties already owned by Ocean View before considering any costly expansion. The properties are in close proximity to the town hall, could be used to house one of more administrative departments and could even create an attractive campus-like environment for our town government.

Q. The town’s public safety building has been said to have been built to accommodate space needs some 20 or more years into the future. What do you feel should be done with space that is currently unused at the facility?

A. The town council voted to construct this building specifically to meet the public safety needs of our community. I believe the open space currently available in the building should be leased to other public safety entities, such as the Delaware State Police, the Sussex County Emergency Medical Services and the Delaware Department of Justice. These agencies need to expand their presence in our area and housing them in our public safety building would be a win-win situation. If elected, I will aggressively pursue this effort to lease the open space to appropriate organizations, which would increase the public safety presence in our community as well as increase revenues for Ocean View

Q. Do you believe the town has enough police? Too many? Is the town spending too much of its revenue on the police department?

A. Currently, the police department has an authorized strength of eight full-time officers. My opponent has stated on numerous occasions that the police department is overstaffed. He has also stated that based on national averages, our department should have only two officers. If you apply this philosophy to our neighboring town of Bethany Beach, they would have only one officer instead of their current complement of nine.

I believe that Ocean View maintains an adequate-sized department. Without the current complement of officers, we would not be able to maintain round-the clock patrols seven days a week, which I feel most citizens appreciate in helping to keep Ocean View a peaceful and safe community. In addition, the men and women of the department provide a variety of other services to the community, such as the Senior Check-in Program, which facilitates daily contact between needy elderly residents of the community and the police.

While I support the current level of officers, I am not in favor of expanding the department beyond its current eight positions. As for the question of whether the town is spending a disproportionate amount of revenue on the police department, I would have to conduct a thorough study of all of the departments in the budget to be able to provide a realistic response.

Q. Would you like the town to pursue an agreement with the Town of Millville to share police officers/staff and/or police space at the public safety building?

A. I think it would make excellent sense to pursue a discussion with Millville to see if there could be benefits to both communities with respect to sharing of law enforcement services. Millville will be rapidly growing over the next five years and will certainly have the need for police officers and a public safety facility. Combining the financial resources of both communities would support enhanced police services in both towns. Unfortunately, the towns of Ocean View and Millville do not currently have an open working relationship. If elected, I will immediately establish a dialogue with the Millville mayor and town manager to explore the possibility of sharing resources and developing a joint emergency operations plan.

Q. Do you support the existing take-home vehicle policy for the town’s police officers? Why or why not? Do you feel the town should make cuts to funding for the policy? If not, how might it raise revenue to pay for it?

A. Several months ago, the current town council voted to maintain the take-home vehicle policy for the police department. However, based on the concerns regarding this policy that I have heard from citizens during this election campaign, I feel we need to carefully review the program to weigh the total costs of the policy to taxpayers against the advantages of the program from a public safety perspective. Once this review is complete, the council will be able to make a recommendation to continue the program, modify the program to a more limited take-home policy, or eliminate the program.

Q. There has been controversy over the pay raises given recently to the town manager and other town staff. Do you feel these increases were justified? Do you support the town’s provision of a vehicle to the town manager for his use?

A. I have a real problem with not only the pay raise provided to the current town manager but the secretive manner in which it was administered. There was never any public discussion of this raise until I exposed it at a town council meeting last year. This is an example of why we need more open communication of issues in our community. Also, to be told by this town administration that we are facing a financial crisis and then turn around and provide the town manager with a 17 percent salary increase after being on the job less than six months, this does not pass the fiscal responsibility test.

Also, while the town council has focused its attention solely on the annual compensation of the police department, I find it strange there has been no mention of the fact that we have substantially increased the cost to Ocean View taxpayers of top administrative salaries in less than one year. For example, our former town manager had a base salary of $60,000 to $65,000 with responsibility for both administrative and financial functions. We now have a town manager with a salary of $77,000 and have hired a financial director whose annual compensation is $57,000, which has more than doubled the expense in this one area alone. This to me seems quite excessive.

As far as the take-home car, the problem is not the car itself but the cost to the citizens of Ocean View because of the more than 100-mile round trip daily commute from the town manager’s home in Maryland. When you factor in this cost, the town manager’s annual compensation exceeds well over $90,000.

Based on the above, I feel the town council needs to take a close look at the total compensation for all town employees to determine if our current policy is equitable to all employees as well as fiscally responsible to the citizens of Ocean View.

Q. What new or expanded services, if any, would you like for the town to provide? What other issues should the town be addressing?

A. Once we establish the financial health of Ocean View, I hope we can provide expanded services to the community. In talking to the citizens of our town throughout this campaign, a number of ideas have been suggested, including community beautification, walking trails, a dog park and a program of residential trash removal.

As far as other issues the town should be addressing, the most important is to create a program of more open communication between the town leadership and our citizens. It is incumbent upon the town council to proactively keep residents informed on key issues if we are to maximize citizen interest in our town’s activities and avoid the misinformation that seems to prevail today. Another important issue is to determine an accurate accounting of the short-term and long-range costs associated with the new water system in Ocean View. This ownership of the water system is a huge responsibility for our town and we have to ensure that the program is managed efficiently and with fiscal responsibility and fairness to our citizens. Other key issues include carefully managing the growth of Ocean View to avoid the possibility of overdevelopment, and to work closely with the Delaware Department of Transportation to bring about the much-needed improvements to Route 26 as soon as possible.

Q. Should the town expend resources to support a town museum at this time?

A. Certainly, it is important for Ocean View to collect and preserve the important artifacts associated with our town’s history and I enthusiastically support that endeavor. However, I cannot support the proposal by some that we utilize a town property valued at more than $250,000 to house a museum at this time. And, as mentioned earlier, until we have a better handle on the current status of our town’s finances, I could not recommend the expenditure of any additional resources for the creation of a museum.

Q. Personal conflicts have plagued the council and its meetings in recent years. What would you do to address this issue?

A. During the past two years, there has been far too much action by individuals on the council initiating independent statements and decisions on council issues and making personal attacks on other council members. This is no way to professionally operate the town government. I certainly support a process of open and active dialogue and debate on issues brought before the council, but we must act with a sense of mutual respect and make decisions as a council and by the council — not as independents acting on our own agendas in the community or through the media. This independent action is totally counterproductive to the charter of the council and certainly unfair to the citizens of Ocean View. I am confident that, as mayor, I will be able to foster an atmosphere which will allow the council to work together in a spirit of cooperation and eliminate the need for any personal agendas.

Q. Please address why you feel you are the best candidate for this office and state any elements of your campaign platform that are not addressed by the above questions.

A. I feel I am the best candidate for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I have extensive experience as an elected representative dealing with all the issues faced by a town municipality and having a good sense of the wants and needs of the taxpayer, as well as knowing how to serve effectively with fellow elected officials to get things accomplished. In addition to my political experience, I owned and operated my own retail business and served as postmaster for the U.S. Postal Service, having to deal with a variety of budget and contract issues.

However, my bottom line reason for running for mayor is to keep Ocean View the wonderful community that my wife, Maureen, and I chose to make our home during retirement. We have some serious challenges to face in our community and I am greatly concerned that we cannot meet those challenges with the dissension and personal animosity I have witnessed over the past year in our current town council. As mayor, I pledge to work in a spirit of cooperation with all council persons, town administrators and the citizens of Ocean View to face challenges head-on and make decisions that are in the best interest of the community. Our town and citizens deserve nothing less.

Gordon Wood

Q. The town is facing a major shortfall in anticipated transfer tax revenues. What would you do to address this issue if you are elected? Should the town consider raising property taxes? What revenue options and priorities would you like to see the town pursue? Would you pursue budget cuts, and, if so, in what areas and to what degree?

A. The question refers to “revenue options” — meaning tax increases. So many of our residents came here to avoid confiscatory taxes in places like New Jersey and Pennsylvania which have tax rates way over double Ocean View’s. We are not used to such high tax rates. High taxes elsewhere are not an excuse for increasing your taxes.

I have pledged not to vote for tax increases unless there are no acceptable alternatives. So many in our town operate on fixed incomes. Tax increases stress budgets and they must be a last resort.

Ocean View has serious budget problems brought on by excess spending and transfer tax shortfalls which I expect to drop further. Fiscal responsibility requires the council promptly to review every budget item. It would be fiscally irresponsible not to. Absolutely nothing can be off the table.

Reducing and deferring expenditures are acceptable options, especially at budget-crunch times. Possible cost-reduction opportunities are discussed in detail in my answers to other questions. Have you ever seen an organization that can’t improve efficiency and reduce costs? This applies to Ocean View. Public hearings should be scheduled to review good-management opportunities. I want to hear your views.

I do not support employee salary cuts. I believe retention of capable employees is more efficient and effective than replacing them. I do support reducing overtime at every opportunity.

Q. The town has allocated some $300,000 in funds for the construction of a public works building to address the need for space for equipment storage and administrative offices. Do you believe the town should build a $300,000 building, use the money to add on to existing town structures, allocate additional funds for a more extensive project, build a “phased” project starting with the $300,000, or find some other solution? Why?

A. I see this as an eventual necessity to protect expensive equipment and vehicles, but one which should be deferred until we define clearly what we need and when. Do we have the proper roster of vehicles and equipment? We must know exactly what we need before proceeding with budgeting, designing and building a new facility. A $1.3 million building as proposed to the council simply does not pass a credibility test.

On the issue of new offices for Public Works staff, it makes no sense whatsoever to consider building office space until we complete our space needs study, something I want accelerated. It also makes no sense to construct new office space until available space is fully utilized. Yes, that includes our over-sized public safety building.

Q. What do you believe should be done to address the ongoing shortage of space for staff at town hall?

A. The shortage of space in the town hall can be solved by allocation and use of existing space in Ocean View. All existing space must be considered before building anything. You can’t talk about fiscal responsibility without talking straight about this possibility. Simply said, new office construction would be fiscally irresponsible until we utilize better what we have. The in-process space needs study should be completed promptly, reviewed by the council, and discussed at a public hearing. I heard the strong views of the people of Ocean View on this issue. They will be reflected in council decisions.

Q. The town’s public safety building has been said to have been built to accommodate space needs some 20 or more years into the future. What do you feel should be done with space that is currently unused at the facility?

A. There is vacant space, and not to use space you and I are paying for ($2,500 each plus almost $100 each per year for maintenance) makes no economic or public safety sense. As available lots in town are built out, we may need to provide additional police staff. I am not convinced this is a near-term need. Crime is not rampant in our town.

I looked seriously at paid-for use of our public safety building by others, including Millville, drug enforcement agencies, emergency management agencies, the state police and others. I am concerned about having federal or state noses under our tent. The state police, which admittedly need a southeast Sussex troop and facility, are a possibility. Their presence would also enhance public safety in Ocean View and would provide income. Knowing very soon about this possibility can’t hurt. Ocean View will meet immediately with Col. MacLeish, the State Police superintendent, to look into this possibility. His office told me he will meet with us.

I say it again; no option is off the table. This space is an asset which must either produce income now or be utilized now for town needs. We will evaluate the options and understand the money numbers — on an expedited basis. As I said above, I know where most people in Ocean View stand on this. After we know the possibilities in detail, we will solicit your views again.

Q. Do you believe the town has enough police? Too many? Is the town spending too much of its revenue on the police department?

A. I have talked to so many residents during this campaign and I believe our town wants and should have 24/7 coverage – by a well-trained and equipped police force. There is a lot of concern, however, over the size of the force. I would not change having 24/7 police protection in our town. Having said that, U.S. Department of Justice statistics demonstrate that towns our size nationwide have an average of 2.6 policemen per 1,000 residents. It takes more than that for 24/7 coverage, but not an authorized level of eight, including the chief. Staffing needs should be studied immediately to provide definitive answers on staff size. I will initiate this on day one and expect it on an expedited basis. Are reciprocal public safety agreements with Sussex County neighbors effective and reasonable? For big emergencies, we have cooperation with our neighbors and the state police with their special teams and helicopter assistance.

The new council will review staffing with the town manager and the chief, who just finished an extensive training course at the FBI Academy to hone his management skills. The council will expect an immediate, thorough, well researched with statistics, and well documented study and recommendations from them. The town manager will be fully involved because he is responsible to the council for recommending a unified budget and managing the council-approved budget.

Spending over 50 percent of our budget on public safety operates to the detriment of drainage and road maintenance. Having said that, I say again, funding must be sufficient to provide 24/7 coverage. We should also consider less expensive, supplemental summer help — including help to facilitate traffic control. The chief and the town manager will be requested to evaluate the utility of this in their staffing report.

Overtime is a major cost and past levels can’t be sustained. The chief and town manager will be requested to include the issue of overtime in the staffing report with an eye to getting it under control. Judicious use of overtime will save money, but overuse is wasteful. Further on this issue, service by our staff to other departments or agencies in the interest of cooperation, if well managed, is judicious. Such service must be council approved and managed because it is a significant expense to our town.

Q. Would you like the town to pursue an agreement with the Town of Millville to share police officers/staff and/or police space at the public safety building?

A. This is a possibility, but I am not optimistic — read on. We will initiate conversations with Millville immediately, but there are real questions. What level of response service are we providing and what does it cost Ocean View? What are Millville’s views? Is Millville ready for 24/7? Is Millville ready to assume a fair share of the cost of our responding to calls in Millville? Do we even know what the real and fair cost of supplying police officers is? What is the impact of Millville’s new arrangement with the state police? Our current costs are greater than the $76 per hour Millville pays to the state for 36 (!!!!) hours per week. You know they are happy with that — if they feel that is all they need. I really don’t think they are interested in an agreement with Ocean View. Much is being said during the election season, but we really don’t know the answers. They are our neighbors and the matter must be settled. I will advocate a short-lived committee to include one or more member(s) of the council, the chief and the town manager to explore this possibility fully and quickly. We can’t let this delay doing what is best for Ocean View.

Q. Do you support the existing take-home vehicle policy for the town’s police officers? Why or why not? Do you feel the town should make cuts to funding for the policy? If not, how might it raise revenue to pay for it?

A. Everyone seems to look at this issue as a yes or no, all or nothing, question. I don’t. The general law enforcement view is that the presence of police cars in or very near our town during off hours does help prevent crime, but I believe it does nothing for us to have our cars parked for three days a week, plus off-duty hours, in driveways in towns miles away. In my view, it is a major expense requiring excess police cars without a commensurate payoff.

The same Department of Justice report I quoted above, on police staffing, indicates that the average police force for a town our size has one car for each two policemen. We currently have nine cars for eight officers! Who can justify this? A take-home policy should be in the interest of public safety and not as a perk for our officers but it has become one. It is too expensive. If it has been talked up as a perk to job applicants and if we change the policy, I could consider a one-time, reasonable raise in lieu of a take-home policy. This could save many thousands of dollars a year without impacting public safety.

The answer is neither a yes or no, as I said. The answer is better management, such as possibly designating a “call-in” officer for off-hour emergency response who would take a car home. Even this, if fast response is a criterion, should have some reasonable mileage limit. Remember, in 2007, we had only four such call-ins during the whole year. They included one request from the state police for support, one strip-search requiring a female officer and two transports to Beebe Hospital for mental issues (required by law). Is this (only four call-ins) worth from $80 to $100 thousand per year when we can maintain public safety for much less?

Entry-level police staff has difficulty affording living in Ocean View and requiring police staff to live in our town would limit applications to fill vacancies. If we continued our take-home policy, we must set a low mileage limit. Fast response and long distances are simply inconsistent. The cost of our current policy approaches $100 thousand a year and that doesn’t even include the costs of the required added cars. That’s a lot; we can and must do better.

Q. There has been controversy over the pay raises given recently to the town manager and other town staff. Do you feel these increases were justified? Do you support the town’s provision of a vehicle to the town manager for his use?

A. Election-season hysteria on this issue diverts from real issues and is not productive. A properly established and managed salary review program and overtime management would have precluded the council’s being in the position of even having to consider these unpopular-to-the-taxpayer raises. He should not have been the fourth highest-paid employee in the town.

What would I have done if I had been on the council? You have to have been in the debate to really know what you would do, but I probably would have supported the salary increase for the town manager as a one-time only adjustment. In the future, scheduled reviews will be the proper mechanism for salary administration. This will be the case in the future.

As for his car, which I understand was suggested by Councilman Wichmann and approved with no dissent, I would have asked a lot of questions and I don’t think I would have supported it. Denton is a long way away. This is fair game for review.

I believe the town manager is doing a good job for us. When compared with similar jurisdictions, he is being paid a fair salary. Remember, salary and overtime mismanagement caused the problem. The next regular salary review is the proper time to consider his salary. Election season certainly is not the proper time!

I strongly believe all department heads are management positions and they should be paid a fixed salary without overtime — except in very special and limited cases. Overtime for department heads should be approved ahead of time by the town manager except in real emergencies. This will keep this problem from coming up again.

Q. What new or expanded services, if any, would you like for the town to provide? What other issues should the town be addressing?

A. Until we get the money right, it is difficult honestly to advocate expanded services without supporting a tax increase. There are things we can do, however. I will initiate close cooperation with the state regarding a walking or jogging path along the Assawoman Canal — at least from White’s Creek to Route 26. I have discussed this with the state and it is in their plans. They are even looking at parking availability on each end. I support this whether it would be on the Ocean View or the Cedar Neck side — a decision not yet made.

Regarding sidewalks, I was surprised at the large number of residents who want sidewalks. I should not have been, but concerns over the combination of pedestrian safety and having a nice place for walkers in our town is understandable.

We will get sidewalks on Route 26 whenever the state gets around to their redo project. Beyond that, Central and Woodland avenues — the heart of a talked-about historical district — should be a priority. I will ask the town manager to submit a plan for phased construction throughout our town with annual costs — not just in the “historical district”. This will be expensive and the town manager’s plan must include all funding alternatives. Are grants available? Low-cost loans? Maintenance costs are part of the equation and must be included. I do not support a tax increase now to provide more sidewalks.

Q. Should the town expend resources to support a town museum at this time?

A. I support the concept of a town museum with a caveat on funding. I applaud the leadership of Councilman Nippes and the committee chair, Janet Batlan. They have done good work.

I have regularly attended historical committee meetings and I have regularly I have regularly attended historical committee meetings and I have regularly reminded the committee that they are in the process of becoming a fundraising committee. Successful fundraising will be the major factor in achieving a successful museum. The committee understands this. While a fully functioning museum is years rather than months away, progress is being made on the first step, getting an IRS Section 501(C)(3) designation allowing tax-deductible donations. Ultimate success must depend on private donations and not significant tax dollars.

Q. Personal conflicts have plagued the council and its meetings in recent years. What would you do to address this issue?

A. It is all about doing the right thing and not about winning arguments. We will make you proud of our town council. What we accomplish, not how, will be the focus of media reports.

The mayor wields the gavel and the council debate will always be a civil advocating of positions — for or against. That’s what makes the system work. Disagreeing agreeably must be the norm. I will foster that attitude as I did years ago as a commissioner of Bethany Beach. I have a good track record on this. Mutual respect will be engendered and decorum maintained during council meetings. The public has a right to be heard and the council has an absolute right to decorum at meetings.

Focused debate by the best prepared member usually carries the day. Poor preparation and emotional arguments without the facts and numbers do not. I will be prepared.

Many disagreements can be avoided by a well-planned agenda with notice to all. Members should not have agenda surprises.

Q. Please address why you feel you are the best candidate for this office and state any elements of your campaign platform that are not addressed by the above questions.

A. Money is a main basis of my platform. Money is Ocean View’s main problem. No. 2 is money. Similarly, No. 3 is money. Nothing works if we don’t get the money right.

We have a FY ’09 budget and we have the first six months of FY ’09 to review where we are. We must and will immediately analyze all budget items in detail — from the bottom up. A fixed agenda item for each meeting will be a review by the finance director and town manager on where we are, where we expect to be and the level of confidence in their projections, their concerns and their recommendations. While the current council has a contingency plan for transfer tax shortfalls, we should work to avoid it — its impacts are unpleasant.

I have pledged that I will not support any tax increase unless there are no acceptable alternatives. I mean that. I do not see tax increases as a panacea for all our money problems. Who could want Pennsylvania or New Jersey tax rates?

I have talked to so many during this campaign who despair over inflation impacts on their fixed incomes. It is real. All alternatives have to be on the table.

Qualifications:

Ocean View is part of me; I am part of Ocean View. My family has an over 300-year history in the area.

I am a seasoned lawyer with special experience in water pollution law, legislative law, ethics and contracts.

I am an experienced chemical engineer with extensive experience in environmental technology. My career included combining law and engineering.

I am an experienced manager — vice president of a Fortune 200 company.

I have banking experience and served as an organizing director and director of Delaware National Bank for 30 years.

I served on Ocean View’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

I served on Bethany Beach’s Board of Commissioners for two terms as a non-resident commissioner where I contributed to returning the commission to a business-like approach.

I have a reputation for getting things done and for ethics and integrity. Even more important, I have a reputation as a good listener who seeks out the views of others.

I serve as a CASA (court appointed guardian for young people in Family Court), as a social member of Millville Volunteer Fire Company in order to provide views on management and legal issues, and as a member of the governor appointed and senate confirmed Delaware Environmental Appeals Board, and I served on the Implementation Committee for the Center for Inland Bays.

Other issues not addressed by the Coastal Point questions:

Annexation: I support developing a clear and comprehensive guide or evaluation framework for annexation decisions. Applicants must know them going in. Why shouldn’t infrastructure, including dedicated land for parks and trails, be a part of annexation decisions?

Annexations can be good for our town, but, near-term, money is the worst reason for annexations. In the long term, the cost of road maintenance, public safety and other service can be expensive. We must know the numbers before we act. We have learned that use of windfall transfer tax revenues for current expenses is usually unwise.

Filling in our crazy-quilt boundaries makes sense. Contiguous neighborhoods depend on Ocean View for public safety services. Annexation or financial agreements with these neighbors is the only fair approach for Ocean View taxpayers.

Mediacom: Our cable supplier’s service (Mediacom) is an issue on my agenda that was not included in the questions.

Are you satisfied with their service? Are you satisfied with longs waits to talk to anyone on the phone? Are you satisfied with not having high definition on two networks? Are you satisfied with monopoly-based and constantly increasing rates? Are you satisfied with the opportunity to watch your favorite teams? I am not satisfied on any of these points.

We will oversight Mediacom performance. We will be in position to negotiate the next contract from a position of strength. Is the $55,000 annual franchise fee Mediacom pays to Ocean View fair? Are they responding to user complaints and channel requests? Are Ocean View residents getting a fair shake? An oversight hearing will be an opportunity to learn more — to hear from our residents and to have Mediacom answer council and residents’ questions in a public forum.

Planning and Zoning: There were no questions from the Coastal Point on a subject so important to our future.

Everyone who moves to Ocean View wants it to stay “like it is now.” This has been the case for years. Why? Because we have planning and zoning ordinances that matter! I support maintaining and enforcing our planning and zoning ordinances and controls. Vacant lots will have dwelling units someday. But new construction, including that in annexed tracts, has to be consistent with Ocean View’s rules. I supported them as a member of our planning and zoning commission and I will do so as mayor. Developers will not purchase full-page ads for me, as one did for my opponent.

Closing: A town council that works together is so important. If you attended the Meet-the-Candidates Night at town hall, you understand which candidates can and will work together. If you read the ads you know who will work constructively on our council. You know I will!

Council Race

Wally Brown

Q. The town is facing a major shortfall in anticipated transfer tax revenues. What would you do to address this issue if you are elected? Should the town consider raising property taxes? What revenue options and priorities would you like to see the town pursue? Would you pursue budget cuts, and, if so, in what areas and to what degree?

A. Transfer tax is an ideal “Rainy Day” tax. As it cannot be predicted to what extent it will be generated (as it will fluctuate with the market), it should never have been entered into the budget as income. It is “found” money.

Revenue options are nil. The prior council has gone to that well too many times to be able to go there for some time to come. As the cost of living is increasing all around us, our residents need to know the council will not be asking them for money they can ill afford to pay. In fact, the council has an obligation to cut its expenses, which in turn will reduce the tax bite.

As a result, to remedy this problem, major cuts in spending are necessary. I cannot answer that the salaries of those employees getting raises should be rescinded. In truth, they never should have been given those raises. Can they be taken away? Where an employee contracts with the town, the answer is yes. Any new contract will see an adjustment in salary downward.

Therefore, let’s start with building plans and save people until last. Effective immediately, all planned improvements, construction and purchases are to be placed on hold. The use of vehicles being used by the employees for travel should be stopped. You and I travel to work on our own dime. So should they, especially in light of their raises.

Next, duplicated equipment, such as the quantity of police cars, should be considered. As we own those vehicles, we should mothball those that will not be needed until they are needed. This will reduce future spending regarding the purchase of new vehicles. The police force is oversized for the needs of the community.

We currently have in place a community organized police auxiliary, which can further reduce the need for police officers performing jobs that are not necessarily “Police” described. For example: Our shut-ins. Presently police officers visit these people. Why them exclusively? CAP can perform that service as volunteers just as easily. In doing so the police would be free to go back onto their neighborhood patrol. Other church and civic groups also exist which can be asked to perform similar services.

We are not in the empire building business, or any business, except to see to the wishes of our residents, as long as those wishes do NO harm to other residents. Those junior officers should be given the choice of being hired as summer help, or move on. A job evaluation should be performed. Where duplication with county or state job descriptions exists, and we already pay county/state taxes for them to perform that job description, we should cut our workforce accordingly.

As people retire, evaluate their job description. For example, the building inspector job description is duplicated at the county level. We used to use that person, we can again.

All told we can save between $300,000 to $500,000 in that alone. If you include no further expenses on building or buying, that would be about another $500,000.

Q. The town has allocated some $300,000 in funds for the construction of a public works building to address the need for space for equipment storage and administrative offices. Do you believe the town should build a $300,000 building, use the money to add on to existing town structures, allocate additional funds for a more extensive project, build a “phased” project starting with the $300,000, or find some other solution? Why?

Q. What do you believe should be done to address the ongoing shortage of space for staff at town hall?

Q. The town’s public safety building has been said to have been built to accommodate space needs some 20 or more years into the future. What do you feel should be done with space that is currently unused at the facility?

A. With the savings mentioned above, we could buy a 60-foot-by-100-foot steel buildng from U.S. Steel (or some such) for about $50,000. This space should be ample for the Public Works Department. They also sell 100-square-foot buildings for about $70,000.

The second floor of the police building has 7,500 square feet of storage space. We could also, by building the larger steel building, use some of that space. Question — Do all the Town Hall secretary needs have to stay at the town hall? Which of those could be relocated to the new space?

For example: Are the building records person and tax records person separate entities? I say yes. With the construction of a new Public Works building, the existing building becomes available. It is located just across the street from the town hall. As it can be utilized as office space, let’s consider that.

By realizing exactly what needs the town hall must have in that building, we could eliminate or free up space for those offices that are necessary to be there jointly. The others can be relocated.

Q. Do you believe the town has enough police? Too many? Is the town spending too much of its revenue on the police department?

A. See answer one.

Q. Would you like the town to pursue an agreement with the Town of Millville to share police officers/staff and/or police space at the public safety building?

A. Millville has led us to believe they want the State Police. But, should Millville contract with us for our police services, it should not be detrimental to our residents. In other words, they would pay the expense of the police officer in total for the period of time the officer is absent from Ocean View, plus a percent. A question we should ask is: Do we want our officer to be off someplace else? No! Are we ready to have our officer in Millville exclusively? No!

They would get the use of the police station by their utilizing our police, and only to that extent. Should they also express an interest in renting space, we could reach an agreement. But, the space is for our use first.

Renting space is not optimal to our peace and quiet. Other “enforcement” agencies would be liable to be open 24/7. The police station was poorly located. It exists in a residential neighborhood. Who wants any noise- or traffic-generating facility next to their house? The jokes about the facility exist exactly because of the lack of these considerations.

As they would in essence be paying for our officer while our officer is in their area (As is only right), why would they do so when for a similar cost they could have their own police? We do not want a joint police department, as it is twice the headache. Many other jurisdictions that have gone that route ended by being “Not Friendly” with each other. Partnerships of that magnitude seldom work properly. There would be too many “cooks” for that kitchen. Remember, we are not in the Empire building business.

Q. Do you support the existing take-home vehicle policy for the town’s police officers? Why or why not? Do you feel the town should make cuts to funding for the policy? If not, how might it raise revenue to pay for it?

A. See answer one.

Q. There has been controversy over the pay raises given recently to the town manager and other town staff. Do you feel these increases were justified? Do you support the town’s provision of a vehicle to the town manager for his use?

A. See answer one.

Q. What new or expanded services, if any, would you like for the town to provide? What other issues should the town be addressing?

A. The town should only have an obligation to provide those services the residents cannot provide for themselves. As we the residents can contract for garbage, electricity, water, the town has no jurisdiction or reason for being in those “businesses.”

The town council needs to learn the constitution. By knowing what it can or cannot do, those situations where the resident’s rights are stepped on would diminish. One way to start this learning is to realize and agree the residents are the bosses, as per the several constitutions.

Q. Should the town expend resources to support a town museum at this time?

A. While it is nice to “know” your roots, how many residents are or will be living here who share this desire, especially enough to attempt making it a taxble item. I believe most residents would not want to pay for it, and believe any money collected should be raised from fundraising efforts.

Q. Personal conflicts have plagued the council and its meetings in recent years. What would you do to address this issue?

A. Personal conflicts arise when any one person (or group) are not willing to accept anyone else’s thoughts on an issue. This can be remedied as stated in answer 9B. The residents are the bosses! We, the members of the council, solely do what they desire, as they desire it. This eliminates ego, council member “wants,” and locates the wrong action onto that person who is acting in conflict to the desires of the residents. The residents jointly can then inform that councilperson of their desires, or start impeachment proceedings.

Q. Please address why you feel you are the best candidate for this office and state any elements of your campaign platform that are not addressed by the above questions.

A. I believe I bring a fresh point of view to the council position. Among the several candidates, that point of view is unique to myself, although it is taken from the founders’ original intent. That point is simply this. The resident is the boss! Were we a business, they would be the owner. The council is only the manager. The manager only does as the boss wants, to that extent possible. Try dictating to your boss. He will soon remind you who owns the business.

Likewise, government is there for the people, to serve the people. In Ocean View of late it has become the people who are there to serve the needs of the council. This is opposite of proper government.

To elect another would be to not have the guarantee that that elected person would follow this philosophy. I might have an uphill fight, but it is a start.

As those are my thoughts, the final thought is… The residents are the bosses. Therefore, anything they desire, as long as they are willing to pay for it, and it does not violate another’s rights or is illegal, I will make every effort to comply.

Joe Martinez

Q. The town is facing a major shortfall in anticipated transfer tax revenues. What would you do to address this issue if you are elected? Should the town consider raising property taxes? What revenue options and priorities would you like to see the town pursue? Would you pursue budget cuts, and, if so, in what areas and to what degree?

A. The very first thing I would do is to review the town budget and look into the fact that we have $4 million allotted to various future projects. I am aware we have a million dollars in an emergency fund and agree this may be necessary. The remainder needs to be looked at with a possibility of trimming these funds to make them available for shortfalls in our current budget.

Q. The town has allocated some $300,000 in funds for the construction of a public works building to address the need for space for equipment storage and administrative offices. Do you believe the town should build a $300,000 building, use the money to add on to existing town structures, allocate additional funds for a more extensive project, build a “phased” project starting with the $300,000, or find some other solution? Why?

A. I believe additional thought and planning needs to be done on the so-called Public-Works Building. I don’t believe we should start with a dollar number. The questions should be, “what are our present needs” and what will “our future needs encompass”? There are questions as to what is the function of the building, do we need it now and how it will best serve the Town of Ocean View?

Q. What do you believe should be done to address the ongoing shortage of space for staff at town hall?

A. Perhaps this question is tied into the previous one. At our Town Hall, I believe we are restricted as to a proper addition. Since there is need for additional space at Town Hall, we may want to combine the (if needed) Public works building into a multi-purpose facility. This would require additional planning and teamwork from our newly elected Council.

Q. The town’s public safety building has been said to have been built to accommodate space needs some 20 or more years into the future. What do you feel should be done with space that is currently unused at the facility?

A. Most citizens have not been on the inside of this building. I, for one, have never read about the square footage of the unused space. How can we intelligently speak of unused portions, without this basic information?

I suggest we convene a Blue Ribbon Committee of unbiased citizens to examine all aspects of the building. I would also suggest a number of scheduled tours for the public and the local press. In this way, we may become more familiar with the building. Only after this has transpired, can any reasonable person suggest a common-sense approach to the question.

Q. Do you believe the town has enough police? Too many? Is the town spending too much of its revenue on the police department?

Q. Would you like the town to pursue an agreement with the Town of Millville to share police officers/staff and/or police space at the public safety building?

A. This question ties in directly to Question 5. There is an opportunity to share all our police force personnel, building space and equipment with the adjoining town of Millville. I have suggested this in the past. There is a real opportunity for both communities to join together in a united effort that can result in a considerable savings and efficiency of services.

Q. Do you support the existing take-home vehicle policy for the town’s police officers? Why or why not? Do you feel the town should make cuts to funding for the policy? If not, how might it raise revenue to pay for it?

A. I believe the take-home vehicle is an inducement for attracting new policemen. I believe, and it’s been proven, a car assigned to one officer, will receive greater care and has a longer life, than one that is shared. Most of us will agree rental cars are not as well taken care of as are privately-owned vehicles.

Q. There has been controversy over the pay raises given recently to the town manager and other town staff. Do you feel these increases were justified? Do you support the town’s provision of a vehicle to the town manager for his use?

A. Our town manager was hired and a short three months later given a 17 percent raise and a personal car. At the time he was an active councilman in the Town of Denton, Md. When I questioned why he received such an increase in salary, I was told they wanted him to be making more money than our chief of police, who had been in his job for eight years. Taxpayers continue to pay for the town manager’s round-trip auto expenses to Denton, Md.

Q. What new or expanded services, if any, would you like for the town to provide? What other issues should the town be addressing?

A. I don’t believe we have tapped into the great number of available volunteers. A quarterly newsletter and a Garden Club are just two areas where volunteers can be most helpful.

Q. Should the town expend resources to support a town museum at this time?

A. I work as a volunteer public relations consultant to the Ocean View Historical Society. Since its inception I believed, its monetary support would come from donations and national grants. I don’t envision the Historical Society as generating expense obligations for the town of Ocean View. I do see the Historical Society as an attribute and attraction to our Town of Ocean View.

Q. Personal conflicts have plagued the council and its meetings in recent years. What would you do to address this issue Ocean View will benefit by the changes brought about by this election?

A new mayor and councilman will instill new ideas and a desire to work in a more harmonious fashion. I would encourage individual contributions from all members of the elected body.

Q. Please address why you feel you are the best candidate for this office and state any elements of your campaign platform that are not addressed by the above questions.

A. My business background and managerial experience has taught me, no one person has all the answers. It is important to encourage participation and contribution from all the elected officials.

There is a considerable need for taxpayers to be more attuned and familiar, both with their representatives and to proceedings in Town Hall. I suggest we schedule quarterly coffee/donut casual meetings between the citizens and the Town Council members. In a recent meeting with Rep. Gerald Hocker, I (jokingly) asked his permission to steal his idea. He encouraged it and volunteered to be a speaker at one of our coffees.

Presently at Town Council meetings, taxpayers cannot contribute their thoughts and are only allowed to speak at the conclusion of the meetings. I would work to do away with this portion of the meeting. “Citizens privilege” greatly eliminates taxpayers from having a voice in government. I would encourage citizen participation during the meetings. An effective mayor and Council can limit citizen responses to three minutes. This would beneficially improve the communications between the citizens and our elected officials.

I am very much involved in the community affairs in Ocean View. I have been associated with multi-billion dollar firms, working with financial budgets and many different type of people. I have actually achieved a certain degree of success and accomplishment, and can use this experience to contribute to the needs of our community.

If elected, I will encourage better communications a more responsive council, a return to trust and integrity, an open and common-sense government. Only when these are satisfied can we achieve a truly financially stable Ocean View.

Perry Mitchell

Q. The town is facing a major shortfall in anticipated transfer tax revenues. What would you do to address this issue if you are elected? Should the town consider raising property taxes? What revenue options and priorities would you like to see the town pursue? Would you pursue budget cuts, and, if so, in what areas and to what degree?

A. Transfer fee shortfall will require that Ocean View must examine all line items in the operating and capital budgets to find savings. We might also look at “zero-based” budgeting procedure, and performance budgeting as ways for the professional management of town budgeting. I would propose the following professional management tools:

• Examining all line items to determine savings.

• Converting overtime of department heads to a salary basis.

• Freezing of vacant positions in the budget.

• Reducing cost of living adjustments.

• Applying cost-benefit analysis to determine where program cuts can be made.

• Monitoring departmental budgets more closely through a quarterly allocation of funding.

• Deferral of purchase of capital equipment in the capital budget.

I believe that budget shortfalls can be accommodated without raising taxes. There is a plan in the long-range budget for a reduction in force in case we face draconian shortfalls, and I support parts of that plan.

Q. The town has allocated some $300,000 in funds for the construction of a public works building to address the need for space for equipment storage and administrative offices. Do you believe the town should build a $300,000 building, use the money to add on to existing town structures, allocate additional funds for a more extensive project, build a “phased” project starting with the $300,000, or find some other solution? Why?

A. The purchase of $300,000 for a public works building will depend upon incoming transfer fees. Assuming these fees are available, I would support this capital project. However, if budget shortfalls become substantial, I would revisit this project to defer it or find another means of providing for storage of Public Works equipment.

Q. What do you believe should be done to address the ongoing shortage of space for staff at town hall?

A. Pending a space/needs study, I would favor using excess space in the Public Safety building for town functions.

Q. The town’s public safety building has been said to have been built to accommodate space needs some 20 or more years into the future. What do you feel should be done with space that is currently unused at the facility?

A. Pending a space/needs study, I would favor using excess space in the public safety building for town functions. Let’s get the facts first and then we can decide.

Q. Do you believe the town has enough police? Too many? Is the town spending too much of its revenue on the police department?

A. A Department of Justice publication estimates the number of police at 2.6 officers per 1,000 population. Using this ratio, the town has more than adequate police staffing for the indefinite future. Currently, the public safety department is budgeted for eight officers, including the chief, which is more than enough manpower to have on officer on duty 24/7. Waging a campaign of fear to hire more police is what my opponents are doing. I would not favor any additional officers at this time. Ocean View should study how current staff is being utilized. I would favor moving desk officers to patrol duty if public safety needs become apparent. I will always be responsive to true public safety needs.

Q. Would you like the town to pursue an agreement with the Town of Millville to share police officers/staff and/or police space at the public safety building?

A. Ocean View should investigate all avenues that will reduce costs. Is this a step toward a regional police force which some want? Our taxpayers have spent $2.6 million on a public safety building. For Millville to use this building without making commensurate payment would not be fair to the Ocean View taxpayer. Further, Ocean View taxpayers have spent more than $1 million on equipping and training a professional police force. For Millville to take advantage of this professional police force without commensurate payment would be unfair to the Ocean View taxpayer. Any agreement with Millville would have to take into account these costs. Will Millville be willing to pay a commensurate our cost for these services? I would want these questions answered before I decide what is in the best interest of Ocean View residents.

Q. Do you support the existing take-home vehicle policy for the town’s police officers? Why or why not? Do you feel the town should make cuts to funding for the policy? If not, how might it raise revenue to pay for it?

A. The Ocean View take-home policy is a very expensive program involving a purchase of a new police car every year. This means that the Ocean View taxpayer could experience a tax increase or severe cuts in services to pay for this program. I would explore other alternatives. A model for the take home car policy would be the one that Bethany Beach has. Their model would much less expensive than ours and could be applied here with increased savings.

Q. There has been controversy over the pay raises given recently to the town manager and other town staff. Do you feel these increases were justified? Do you support the town’s provision of a vehicle to the town manager for his use?

A. I believe that the Town Manager’s salary increase was premature. I would have waited a full year before deciding. What is done is done. Taking away his raise would cause more embarrassment, and it might force him to leave. But that is what my opponents want him to do: quit. His tenure, salary and car have become an issue because he has reduced budget requests for expensive furniture and a new trophy case for the new police station. So the strategy by my opponents, who are protecting the public safety budget, is to “get” the town manager. If he resigned, the town would spend additional tax dollars in recruitment efforts, and advertising costs which it had recently spent to hire him. Why should the Town spend these costs again unless it becomes mandatory?

Q. What new or expanded services, if any, would you like for the town to provide? What other issues should the town be addressing?

A. During these difficult times of budget shortfalls, I would not propose any new services, or expand any services.

Q. Should the town expend resources to support a town museum at this time?

A. I would support a very small amount of “seed money” to enable the historical society to apply for and receive grant money. Grant money is the key to expansion. The current budget has $15,000 in it for repair and maintenance of the Shore House. Even without the museum, this money would have been spent for normal repair on the facility.

Q. Personal conflicts have plagued the council and its meetings in recent years. What would you do to address this issue?

A. It is regrettable that personal conflicts have occurred. I will work with council members and the mayor to prevent this from happening, if I am elected. Under attack during the candidate debate, I chose a positive approach and did not respond. I said, “I was privileged to be in this debate with my respected opponents.” I have run a positive campaign and, if elected, I will maintain a rapport with all council members. One can disagree, but still respect diverse opinions. I have been doing it all my life in a classroom, and I will continue the positive approach.

My four years of service on the Town Planning and Zoning Commission reflects a positive tone. This commission model of decorum should be a model for the council to follow. I will do whatever I can to make sure that model of decorum is followed.

Q. Please address why you feel you are the best candidate for this office and state any elements of your campaign platform that are not addressed by the above questions.

A. I believe that I am the best candidate because of the following experiences: my experiences of 42 years of teaching American government, and state and local government in the classroom, my experiences on the Ocean View Planning and Zoning Commission, and experiences from leading citizen efforts such as the Consumers for Alternate Power, which I organized to get lower electricity rates for our citizens. My education consists of a master’s degree in public administration which gives me the qualifications for the financial management of municipalities.

If elected, I would propose to increase communication between the Town Council and its residents. In addition to keeping my phone line open, I would use the Town’s new Web site and propose a news letter for better communication.

My vision for Ocean View includes beautifying Route 26 with land design standards. My vision also includes other amenities, but obviously they will not happen under our present budget constraints.

I am interested in revisiting recycling for the Town. We have lost our recycling effort in Millville and residents are looking for other alternatives.

As a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, I proposed annexation standards which clearly defined the advantages and disadvantages of annexation. I would like to see to see those recommendations enacted. I pledge that I will not be beholden to any developer, and would avoid any conflict of interest with developers, if elected to the council. I also pledge that I will serve out my full term.

Susan White

Q. The town is facing a major shortfall in anticipated transfer tax revenues. What would you do to address this issue if you are elected? Should the town consider raising property taxes? What revenue options and priorities would you like to see the town pursue? Would you pursue budget cuts, and, if so, in what areas and to what degree?

A. The town has already considered raising the property taxes. Although the details were never discussed in detail with taxpayers, the Five Year Plan calls for property tax increase of 3 percent for years 2, 3, 4 and 5. The present Council approved the plan 3 to 2. If elected, I suggest that the Council, along with the Long Range Financial Planning Committee, hold a public workshop to discuss in detail the suggestions of all the committee members regarding the town budget. I have been told that suggestions by committee members were not even included in the writing of the Five Year Budget Plan. We should not continue to base the financial running of the town on transfer taxes only. We need to prioritize our needs, establish a budget based on those needs and keep to a minimum any tax increases.

Q. The town has allocated some $300,000 in funds for the construction of a public works building to address the need for space for equipment storage and administrative offices. Do you believe the town should build a $300,000 building, use the money to add on to existing town structures, allocate additional funds for a more extensive project, build a “phased” project starting with the $300,000, or find some other solution? Why?

A. We definitely need an improved Public Works building. I question how we can go from a building that was first approved for over $1 million to a $300,000 structure. We paid a consultant to work with the Council on the plans for the building. Now, for some reason, those plans can be reduced to a structure at one-third the cost. I suggest that the Council look over all the information we have from the consultant we paid, discuss the needs with the employees of the Public Works department (they have been with the town for many years), get their input and then come back to the town residents with a solid plan for the type of building we need and the type of structure.

Q. What do you believe should be done to address the ongoing shortage of space for staff at town hall?

A. I feel we need to add on to the existing structure. We have adjacent land that we can expand to. In the interim, we may need to consider using some temporary buildings while construction is going on and to meet our immediate work space needs.

Q. The town’s public safety building has been said to have been built to accommodate space needs some 20 or more years into the future. What do you feel should be done with space that is currently unused at the facility?

A. The remaining space on the second floor of the police station is minimal. Because of the secure nature of this facility, I feel that the space should be used for other law enforcement and or correctional agency use. Possibly we could rent some of the space to other agencies, so that they would have a local office in our area. We must also keep some space available for our evacuation/disaster plans.

Q. Do you believe the town has enough police? Too many? Is the town spending too much of its revenue on the police department?

A. To have 24 hour coverage, which I believe in, you have to have eight officers. Public safety costs money and it generally is one of the largest parts of any budget. The people of Ocean View must decide if they want 24-hour police protection. The Town of Bethany spends $1.1 million on its police force of nine, plus additional expenditure for seasonal summer police. That shows me we are within the ballpark for our public safety costs. We must also remember that Chief McLaughlin brought in $72,000 in grant money last year, which help offset some of our expenses.

Q. Would you like the town to pursue an agreement with the Town of Millville to share police officers/staff and/or police space at the public safety building?

A. I fully agree with a plan to share our police force with our sister town of Millville. Of course, we need adequate compensation to offer such a service. The best person to determine the cost of such a venture is the chief. He should be asked to prepare a cost analysis to provide this service to Millville, the council and town manager should look over his plan, and if approved, an offer should be made to Millville.

Q. Do you support the existing take-home vehicle policy for the town’s police officers? Why or why not? Do you feel the town should make cuts to funding for the policy? If not, how might it raise revenue to pay for it?

A. I support the take home vehicle policy 100 percent for several reasons: less wear on the vehicles, faster response should an officer be needed and he/she is off-duty, deterrent to crime in our town and surrounding coastal towns, eliminates the need to transfer all the equipment in the cars twice a day — when coming on and going off shift — which uses up time the office could be working and reduces possibility of injury from moving the equipment.

Q. There has been controversy over the pay raises given recently to the town manager and other town staff. Do you feel these increases were justified? Do you support the town’s provision of a vehicle to the town manager for his use?

A. I am opposed to any pay raises based on hours the town paid in overtime. I publicly opposed the salary report study completed by the town manager, and suggested that the Council hold off on these raises and utilize flex-time; $11,000 and $12,000 in overtime to attend meetings is outrageous and very poor management of staff. Use of flex-time would have eliminated the need for the overtime pay. I am opposed to the use of a town car for going to and from an employee’s home, unless that employee is attending a meeting the following morning and it is more prudent to take the town car to get to the meeting the next morning. To pay the mileage for 110 miles a day for an employee is improper use of our tax dollars.

Q. What new or expanded services, if any, would you like for the town to provide? What other issues should the town be addressing?

A. I do not want to make up a wish list until we have a thorough understanding of our finances in this town. We hear from some Council members and candidates running for office that we are in financial crisis, yet water sprinklers for the grounds are approved, 110 miles a day in gas is paid, motions to put more town signs on Route 26 with flowers are made, etc., etc. How about trash collection, recyclable collection, to name a few? But all must wait until we have a true picture of our financial standing.

Q. Should the town expend resources to support a town museum at this time?
A. Go after grant money for this, get business to contribute, find creative ways to fund such a venture.

Q. Personal conflicts have plagued the council and its meetings in recent years. What would you do to address this issue?
A. If elected, I want to do some team building, improve the rules of procedure and help develop an atmosphere of respect. We do not have to like everything about each other but we do have to respect one another at all times, both during Council meetings and when in the public.

Q. Please address why you feel you are the best candidate for this office and state any elements of your campaign platform that are not addressed by the above questions.
A. I have been a councilwoman before in Ocean View and my past record speaks for my abilities. I was instrumental in getting a water deal for the town with the federal government that would have been the first of its kind in the nation — a public/private entity, with funding by the U.S. government. Subsequent councilmen voted the plan out. I conducted myself in a very positive fashion when last on the Council, and I was always prepared for meetings, doing extensive research on what we were voting on whether it was annexation, water, Route 26 development, etc. I am a small-business owner since 1985, I know sound business practices and I have served as a state employee in Maryland for 13 years. I know how to work in the public and private sectors. I can honestly say that I am the best to serve at this time as councilwoman for District 3.