On Monday, Dec. 10, the Dagsboro Town Council held its first meeting since council member elections were held the first weekend in December. Council members Patti Adams, Wayne Baker and Cathy Flowers, who recaptured their seats for an additional two-year term, were sworn in by resident and Delaware state Chancellor William Chandler, upon which reorganization of council took place.
Baker, who held the position of mayor for two years prior to the past election, nominated former Vice Mayor Patti Adams as the town’s new mayor.
“Mayor Baker has done an outstanding job over the years. He has worked diligently and put in more hours than people know about. He’s done a lot for this town and brought us forward,” Adams said.
Councilman Terry Hearn declined Baker’s nomination as the new vice mayor, due to personal reasons regarding health and time constraints.
“I do feel, however,” said Hearn, “that the new mayor could use some help from the old mayor regarding a lot of issues that are ongoing.”
With unanimous vote from council members, Baker was appointed as vice mayor. Flowers recaptured her spot by council consensus as secretary, and Stacy Long was once again declared assistant secretary.
One of the items of new business on Monday’s agenda was to discuss cost-cutting measures for the town.
“I think we have two items there that need to be addressed. Both of them relate to the amount of building or the lack thereof that’s going on in the town of Dagsboro,” Baker said.
The two parties to which he referred are the financial planner and building inspector/code enforcement officer.
“Because the amount of monies the town is expected to generate from building, it will increase the income to pay for the positions. Because of the correction of the economy, those monies have not been forthcoming,” he noted.
“The town is probably in a situation where they need to look at taking these positions and making them part-time, on-demand or as-necessary jobs until the market makes a correction and the money becomes available again. The economy, itself is in a downturn. We anticipated a much stronger growth, and I planned for that,” he concluded.
Although the council agreed to temporarily limit the role of the town’s financial planner, the decision to restrict the responsibilities and potential salary of the building inspector and code enforcement officer, currently held by Bill DeHaven, was not acted upon.
DeHaven spoke in defense of his position’s current demands, citing key projects which he helped affiliate and mediate the past year, including the upcoming commercial development, Savannah Square. Planning and Zoning Chair Marge Eckard spoke on DeHaven’s behalf as well, noting him as a crucial aspect of the committee’s accomplishments and for their assistance, too.
The council agreed to analyze the town’s current financial situation to determine appropriate adjustments to the town’s costs.
“I think it’s prudent,” said Baker, “that this body look at all aspects of its expenses and makes whatever adjustments are necessary to come out on the other side of our economy in a positive light.”
The council also made headway Monday night to establish a committee to analyze interconnection agreements between the towns of Dagsboro and Frankford for the area’s water system.
“It’s something we need to be aware of,” said Adams. “A committee can take a look at where exactly we’re at with the process.”
Although he enjoyed his time as mayor, newly selected Vice Mayor Baker said his decision to nominate Adams at Monday’s meeting was an easy one.
“I think the people of the town are ready to see someone new,” he said, “and I think she can do a great job moving the town forward.”
“It might take a little time getting used to,” said newly elected Mayor Adams, who received 116 of the 157 total votes (including of the 11 of the 15 submitted absentee ballots) in the town elections. “But I’m glad I still have Wayne [Baker] beside me. He’s brought this town very far, and everyone we have on council is doing a great job.”
Adams added that she was pleased to earn the seat as mayor of Dagsboro, a position her father had also previously held.