Frankford council candidates get final say before election

The Town of Frankford is holding its annual election on Saturday, Feb. 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. at town hall.

Five candidates are contesting for three two-year seats on council. Another candidate, Greg Welch, was ruled ineligible, but had an appeal heard by state officials on Tuesday. The State had 48 hours to answer his appeal, and that answer was not given before our press time, so we are including Welch’s answers, as well.

Below are questions we asked of each candidate, and their responses. The candidates are listed alphabetically.

Skip Ash

Q. What town issues do you feel most passionately about, why, and what will you do to tackle it?

A. I feel most passionately about fairness for our town, so that our town citizens have a voice in matters they currently are not given a voice in. I feel this way because, as a town, we do not know what our financials are from month to month; our town deserves financial transparency. To do this, we could have printed financial statements, brief minutes from the past meeting and more than two minutes for citizen comments at meetings.

Q. How do you see Frankford changing over the next decade, and what can/should the town leaders do about it?

A. I believe we still have open areas to annex growth in to better our community. By doing this, we could increase tax revenue and bring more people to our area. This could make way to replace old existing water lines that are 60 years old. We could go about this by extending the lines of town limits.

Q. How do you plan to promote the town and its businesses?

A. I would plan to have more involvement within the town, and growth ideas will come with the residents’ voices.

Q. Can you discuss your stance on citizens having the opportunity to speak at council meeting about concerns within the town that are not listed on a meeting agenda?

A. I believe this to be the most crucial topic that concerns our citizens and the future of this town. Currently, meetings are run not allowing for citizen involvement. Meetings need to be run with transparency and allowing an open forum for discussion.

Q. Why should voters choose you to serve on town council?

A. I have been a resident of Frankford since 1987 and have watched towns grow around us while we remain stagnant with no accountability. I would accept the challenge to work on growth and transparency.

Q. How do you believe the proposed Route 113 bypass would affect the town? Are you in favor of it? Explain.

A. The current information seems limited and skewed. The cost of the bypass, as I have understood it to be, seems high. To endorse a decision on this matter, I would want more factual information.

Pamela Davis

Q. What town issues do you feel most passionately about, why, and what will you do to tackle it?

A. I feel passionately about the water plant. I feel it is very important to see that it functions to meet the current and future needs of the town and its residents.

Q. How do you see Frankford changing over the next decade, and what can/should the town leaders do about it?

A. I would like to see the town grow in services provided and its size, which would encourage future generation to want to live here.

Q. How do you plan to promote the town and its businesses?

A. I would like to continue working as one body of council in being proactive in seeing future growth of the town as a whole.

Q. Can you discuss your stance on citizens having the opportunity to speak at council meeting about concerns within the town that are not listed on a meeting agenda?

A. I feel it is important for all citizens of the town to have their voices heard. Anyone can ask to be placed on the agenda to openly speak about their concerns. In doing so, it gives the council the opportunity to be better prepared to address their questions and/or concerns by having the information available and offering a viable solution.

Q. Why should voters choose you to serve on town council?

A. I feel that, having served on town council, I would like to continue working for the town residents. I always try to be readily available to hear the needs of the people of our town.

Q. How do you believe the proposed Route 113 bypass would affect the town? Are you in favor of it? Explain.

A. I feel that if the 113 bypass were to be built as currently projected, it would hinder future growth of the town. I am open to other viable alternative solutions.

Charles Shelton

Q. What town issues do you feel most passionately about, why, and what will you do to tackle it?

A. I feel very passionate about our Town Police Department. I would like to see that the Town keeps local policing and the staff that we have employed. It’s important in a small town such as ours to have the police staff know the town residents.

Q. How do you see Frankford changing over the next decade, and what can/should the town leaders do about it?

A. I see the town growing. We, as the town council, need to keep focus on growth while protecting our residents’ best interest.

Q. How do you plan to promote the town and its businesses?

A. I want to continue our work as a council together to encourage businesses that may want to come to the town.

Q. Can you discuss your stance on citizens having the opportunity to speak at council meeting about concerns within the town that are not listed on a meeting agenda?

A. I have no issues with the citizens having free speech and addressing their concerns at the monthly Town Council meetings. The reason for a time restraint currently placed of three minutes is to ensure everyone has the opportunity to speak and that the same repetitive subjects aren’t discussed month after month.

Q. Why should voters choose you to serve on town council?

A. I feel I represent the town residents as a whole and would like to continue working to represent the townspeople.

Q. How do you believe the proposed Route 113 bypass would affect the town? Are you in favor of it? Explain.

A. I feel the town as a whole is already small in comparison to other towns and if the proposed 113 bypass were to occur, we would become a forgotten town by cutting them off from the surrounding areas.

Jerry Smith

Q. What town issues do you feel most passionately about, why, and what will you do to tackle it?

A. We need to start with some basics, like our fellow residents receiving timely water bills. Not only would that help them detect a leak earlier than six months, saving wasted water — water they would have to pay for — it would also help them with budgeting and what to expect from month to month by receiving a water bill on a regular basis, something many take for granted.

We need a town council that will not create additional fees and taxes on its citizens for any other reasons than are absolutely necessary, while realizing the impact such decisions would have on it citizens. To heap additional fees and taxes on its citizens when only two or three people will benefit is just not the right thing to do.

Employees should not be entitled to pensions going back seven to 13 years when there were no pensions, making the residents of the town responsible for paying for it. That is like getting a pay raise after 15 years of work and having it made retroactive to encompass those prior 14 years — this is highly unusual.

The council ought to encourage citizen participation instead of creating austere rules to discourage their concerns and participation. For too many years, only two or three residents have regularly attended council meetings.

Q. How do you see Frankford changing over the next decade, and what can/should the town leaders do about it?

A. I can actually see Frankford moving forward to invite more homeowners and businesses, since it has generous acres of unimproved land within its borders. Frankford’s share of Route 113 has only seen one new building open for business in the last decade or two, and that can change.

Frankford is also a place retirees would just love because of its relaxed atmosphere. Beautification of its main street, similar to what Dagsboro has done, as a starter, would make the town just a little more inviting.

I just don’t believe Frankford can continue in the future with inflation and skyrocketing prices without inventing and adding more taxes and fees on the few residents who reside here.

Right now, Frankford has some very old pipes in the ground that have to be replaced, and we’re going to need money for that, sidewalks and other things, so Frankford needs to move in a more progressive direction.

Q. How do you plan to promote the town and its businesses?

A. Here, we could look at and study what other towns have done successfully in this area.

Q. Can you discuss your stance on citizens having the opportunity to speak at council meeting about concerns within the town that are not listed on a meeting agenda?

A. The present policy of the Frankford Town Council — a policy that was apparently made outside of public view and an open meeting — is to have a resident speak at the very beginning of its meetings, with a three-minute limit on things the council hasn’t even talked about or discussed, so that once the council discusses an item or items, and sometimes vote to approve them, that under consideration cannot be questioned beforehand or afterwards.

Also, this format prevents a resident from asking questions or relaying concerns about anything else he or she may have about anything in Frankford at its monthly meetings, such as a six-month-late water bill — “water bill” has to already be on the agenda before he or she can ask about it. The present council, as it is, is not very friendly with the idea of a democratic government. But this is still America, and this has to be changed.

Q. Why should voters choose you to serve on town council?

A. I’ve been attending council meetings since 1997 and keep abreast of how our town functions. Since about 2006 to present, I have only missed six meetings, give or take — less than what existing council members for that period of time have missed. I’m for the people of the town as a whole and don’t favor special and personalized interests. I will represent the collective interest of the people for the benefit of the town, to move the town forward.

Q. How do you believe the proposed Route 113 bypass would affect the town? Are you in favor of it? Explain.

A. As it is now, there is a lot of traffic from Frankford to the Route 20/113 intersection at Uncle Willie’s in Millsboro. During the summers, this traffic comes to a standstill. On the worst days, it could take one at least 30 minutes to get from Frankford through Millsboro on 24, a distance of 4 miles. This problem will not fix itself and will get even worse in the future, so something has to be done.

While the bypass is one option, we have to also protect the viability of local businesses along these routes. I would like to look at other options before ruling in or out the bypass.

Jesse Truitt

Q. What town issues do you feel most passionately about, why, and what will you do to tackle it?

A. I feel most passionate about our Town Park. We have worked hard to renovate the Town Park over the last three years by securing grant funding. In doing so, it provides children with a safe and healthy play area. We incorporated physical fitness and family use into the design layout.

Q. How do you see Frankford changing over the next decade, and what can/should the town leaders do about it?

A. I envision the town growing and, in doing so, think we need to keep focus on building a strong infrastructure/foundation so that the Town can adequately meet future growth expectations.

Q. How do you plan to promote the town and its businesses?

A. I would like to continue the expansion of the Comprehensive Development Plan of the Town by considering annexation of surrounding land, which would promote commercial growth.

Q. Can you discuss your stance on citizens having the opportunity to speak at council meeting about concerns within the town that are not listed on a meeting agenda?

A. Every citizen has the opportunity to have their concerns addressed before council by requesting to be placed on the agenda. The main reason for the agenda posted subjects is not to discourage open dialogue but to be properly prepared on the subjects being discussed.

Q. Why should voters choose you to serve on town council?

A. I feel my 22-plus years of experience serving on the Town Council has allowed me the ability to learn extensive working knowledge firsthand of the Town. I would like to continue working to represent the town residents and would like to move forward with the existing Town Council members to see the town grow.

Q. How do you believe the proposed Route 113 bypass would affect the town? Are you in favor of it? Explain.

A. I think it would hinder the Town of Frankford from future growth possibilities, and I am not in favor of the proposed 113 bypass.

Greg Welch

Q. What town issues do you feel most passionately about, why, and what will you do to tackle it?

A. The management of our water plant is a major ongoing issue. I would enact policy that mandates regular water billing and reconciliation between the amount of water that is being produced and the amount that is being billed. I would the make town water available to people in our CPCN district. This is an area that we have the rights to service with town water but are currently not servicing.

Our town council needs to show more support for the Frankford Library. There are many people in our community that are working hard to support the library. The town library is one of our town’s greatest assets.

Q. How do you see Frankford changing over the next decade, and what can/should the town leaders do about it?

A. I hope the town becomes more community involved, where citizens are more involved with events such as the fall festival and other community events . Events like this should be the community putting effort into having the event more than something that is put on by our government. The town leaders should promote committees to plan these events.

Q. How do you plan to promote the town and its businesses?

A. I would be fair and open to business ideas and respectful to residents. Our town putting a 3 percent gross income tax on rental property is not fair. It was vindictively placed on landlords because they requested regular water billings. Our water meter rates and our water is too expensive for any large water consumer or business to consider.

Q. Can you discuss your stance on citizens having the opportunity to speak at council meeting about concerns within the town that are not listed on a meeting agenda?

A. Our town is employing this tactic to deny the citizens from being informed on issues and addressing grievances. It also denies the citizens the right to inform council members of misrepresentations the council are presenting. Our Town’s record of how it handled the water plant project clearly shows they should not be above questioning.

Q. Why should voters choose you to serve on town council?

A. I have attended the Town meetings for years and I am aware of the issues.

Q. How do you believe the proposed Route 113 bypass would affect the town? Are you in favor of it? Explain.

A. The 113 bypass is a ridiculous proposal. It seems to be the most expensive and destructive way to address 113 flow issues. Our town council was unanimously in favor of this bypass when our state senator and state representative were for it. Now that these officials are no longer in favor of it, neither are our council members. We should not rely just on these few officials to voice our community’s opposition to this project. We should work as a community to let our state officials know how ridiculous of a project this is.