As a business man in suburban Philadelphia for most of his life, Roy Thomas admits that he never had any intention of getting involved in town government.
Even after retiring and moving to Ocean View permanently about five years ago, he didn’t take an immediate interest in the inner-workings of the town. But that was until about a year ago when the town’s finance committee presented the 2006 budget to town Council in March.
Not showing any disrespect, he said, he stood up in the middle of the meeting and voiced his opinion, saying the town needed more responsible spending, calling its budget a “road path to disaster.”
That same night, town officials asked him to join its Long Range Financial Planning Committee meeting. And after serving on that committee for about a year, he said he is ready to take a more influential role in the town’s government. Last week, Thomas officially filed to run for the town’s fourth district seat which Wade Spanutius will leave vacant in April.
“The town has needs,” Thomas said. “I have the skills. “I think the finance committee is an example of that.” Thomas recently presented an alternative budgetary plan for the proposed 2007 budget that was approved by the finance committee last week and calls for more responsible spending in the town to close rising deficits.
He said that the budget deficiencies are the major issue surrounding the town currently, and it was his business background that has allowed him to step in and help. Thomas said it has been a fun experience and he wants to continue to help the town, albeit in an elected position, in any way possible with the help of its citizens.
“If you’re going into government, you have to understand the issues,” Thomas said. (But) this is a small town. We should be able to listen to the people and take care of their needs.”
Thomas, a Pennsylvania native, owned a company called Ensoniq in Paoli, Pa. before leaving the area about five years ago. His company produced sound cards that are used in almost every personal computer in the country, he said, and he sold his product to businesses from across the United States to Japan, where arcade owners used them in games and karaoke machines.
When he left the business shortly after the turn of the new millennium, he left it with about $120 million in sales, hence the budgetary expertise. Now, he lives in one of the first home’s built in the Village of Bear Trap Dunes and he passes time by managing his investments, spending time with his family and keeping busy with his hobbies.
The self-proclaimed carpenter is currently in the middle of an eight-month project, building a house for his son in Ocean View. He is also awaiting the birth of twins from his daughter, who lives in Lewes with her husband.
The twins will be his first grandchildren from his daughter but Thomas’ son and his wife already have two children who will grow up as one of the few but growing number of year-round residents in Ocean View.
His job now, and if he is elected onto the town’s council on April 8, is to make sure the town gets to a balanced budget so his family will not have to be one of the just more than 1,000 residents in the town to pay a substantial tax increase in the coming years.
That is, after all, the major issue currently facing the town, he said, and the one that has prompted him to further his unlikely path in town government.
“I’m for responsible government,” Thomas said. “I want to serve the people of Ocean View and I want the town to grow. But if you want services, they do cost money.”