Berton Reynolds has lived in Fairway Village with his wife, Liz, since they moved to Ocean View in June of 2015.
“I had been coming down to the beach area for literally over 30 years,” he said. “We wanted to get south of the Rehoboth Beach/Dewey area, so we came down this way… We searched around and found Ocean View, and thought, ‘This is perfect,’ because we didn’t want to be right on the beach. We wanted to be a little inland, a little peaceful. And it kind of fell right into our lap.”
Now, having lived in the town for three years, he said he felt it was time to get active in local politics and try his hand at the town council.
“I just felt the need to be involved more. I had attended multiple council meetings. The participation is low, and that’s a shame. We need more of the community to be involved, to express their opinions. I just got the feeling that the council was going through the motions, because there was no true discussion, other than amongst themselves, on what to do.
“That’s not the way the council should be run,” he said. “The council is there to represent the residents of Ocean View. If they’re not hearing from the residents of Ocean View, then it’s only a perception of what’s needed.”
Reynolds is challenging incumbent Carol Bodine in the April election for the seat representing Council District 4. The winner will serve a three-year term on the council.
Reynolds was born in New Yor, but grew up in Arizona. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in aerospace engineering and has lived on the East Coast since 1989. His career has taken him everywhere from Boeing to Pep Boys and, now, Wells Fargo, working in information security.
“I’ve been a manager — whether it’s been of people or systems — I’ve done that for the better part of my entire career. I have the ability to understand how to see into the future, anticipate what’s going to happen — whether it’s personnel-wise, whether something is going to come up that’s going to be an issue,” he said.
Reynolds said he believes the two biggest issues facing the Town are the proposed 100 percent property tax increase and a lack of communication between town government and its citizens.
“We need to keep the town council in check,” he said. “I didn’t even know there was an election, and it was my own district. I didn’t know I had to register in Ocean View, even though I was already registered in the State of Delaware.”
If elected, he said he would try to get more citizens involved in the governmental process, possibly working with HOAs in the town to have them send representatives to meetings to keep their homeowners apprised of town happenings.
“There’s got to be a way to publish it more than just looking it up on the website,” he said of meeting notices. “It shouldn’t be reliant on a weekly paper to get the word out there. There’ve got to be other ways.”
While Reynolds still works fulltime, he said he has plans to campaign, including going to speak to homeowners’ associations.
Having moved to the area from Philadelphia, Reynolds said his stress level has dropped significantly, as he is able to enjoy the laid-back small-town atmosphere.
“I love the pace of life down here. I’ve loved the beach,” he said. “I grew up in Arizona — I didn’t have the beach, I had the desert. There is a big difference. I love being on the beach, I wanted to retire to the beach. I just love the atmosphere here. I love the community that’s here. It’s a friendly town. You go places and people wave, people do say hello. I didn’t get that where I used to live. I plan on being here for the rest of my life. I’m not going anywhere.”
The Ocean View election will be held on Saturday, April 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at town hall.