Selbyville this spring once again has a contested election. Three candidates have registered to run for two seats: Richard “Rick” Duncan Sr., Jay Murray and William “Bill” Thompson.

The first two have served on the Selbyville Town Council for many years. The third candidate was also a challenger in 2019.

Voting will be at Selbyville Town Hall on Saturday, March 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both council positions carry a two-year term, starting in April.

Eligible voters must be registered with Town Hall for town elections. (That deadline has passed for the 2020 election.) Absentee voting is not available.

For more information, or to check voter eligibility, call (302) 436-8314. Selbyville Town Hall is now located at 1 W. Church Street.

Coastal Point’s tradition with every local election is to invite candidates to answer a questionnaire to inform voters. In order to give candidates the last word, we will not publish letters-to-the-editor regarding the Selbyville election this week.

Richard ‘Rick’ Duncan Sr.

Q. Why do you want to be part of the Selbyville Town Council?

A. As a lifelong resident of the Town of Selbyville, past fire chief, life member of the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Department, I have been involved into a lot of infrastructure upgrades within the Town. As the executive director for Delaware Rural Water [Association] my position allows me to interact with the federal and state agencies that support the needed funding for such infrastructure improvements.

It’s like you have to be in the right spot at the right time for a lot of the funding. We have a lot of work still needed in the town that will cost lots of money, and we don’t want to raise taxes for those needs. We need to look at stormwater, drainage and making sure equalized water pressure is consistent thought the town. We always need to focus on our protection of our residents, such as our police and fire departments. They must have both now and in the future of the town.

Q. What is your opinion on building development in Selbyville, and what should people know about it?

A. For many years we have discussed slow growth within the town. We have known it would be coming as land becomes available. We have done a great job controlling growth. We were asked over 20 years ago by the State of Delaware “Where do you see the town at in 20 years?” and as the water operator then, we were right on spot where growth is occurring now. Does everyone like [it], probably not, but you just have to do your best in controlling what comes in and where.

Q. What other issues do you hope to address, or what ideas would you bring to the table?

A. Additional funding for stormwater management, funding for drainage, keep meeting fire flow demands, upgrading some outdated equipment as needed.

Q. Why should voters cast their ballot for you on March 7?

A. Water is my passion. I work every day making sure the water you drink is clean and safe to drink. I take my council position seriously. I’m not on council for the name. I am here to help the residents of the Town of Selbyville.

Jay C. Murray

Q. Why do you want to be part of the Selbyville Town Council?

A. I have been on the Town Council for 24 years. I have been fortunate to serve on the council with most of the other current council members for much of that time. We have carefully planned for the future over those 24 years, and I want to see those plans through for another term.

This is a critical time for the Town. We have been able to grow the tax base for the Town in a careful, planned manner. The latest results of that growth and planning has been the continued revitalization of the downtown area. We want to make downtown an attractive area for more businesses — such as the new openings of Synergy Café and Tatum-Poole [Décor & More] that serve our community and create jobs for our community. We have moved Town Hall into the vacant bank, and have seen work and rehabilitation of other buildings in downtown to make it a more attractive place to do business.

Q. What is your opinion on building development in Selbyville, and what should people know about it?

A. I have been part of the council that has planned for the growth we have seen in our town and development that our town has attracted. The building follows and conforms to the Comprehensive Plan that the Town previously adopted. We have worked hard to make improvements to infrastructure and negotiated Certificate of Public Convenience & Necessity (CPCN) agreements for water and sewer services to have the capacity to meet the expansion expected in the Comp Plan.

The Planning & Zoning Commission has established standards and plans that deliver high-quality planned home communities. The homes being built offer a wide variety, which allow the town to attract younger generations looking for their first home, families and retirees.

The planned growth will result in an expansion of the Town’s tax base. This revenue has been used to expand the police force, improve sewer and water infrastructure, and can be used to encourage new business to the downtown.

Growth in the town or surrounding the town is coming and will continue. I believe the council has been and will continue to be proactive to make sure the Comp Plan is followed.

Q. What other issues do you hope to address, or what ideas would you bring to the table?

A. Having been a lifelong resident of Selbyville, we have seen the ups and downs that a small town goes through and can help navigate the Town through them. I want to see downtown continue to be revitalized to bring more jobs, services and places for our community to relax and enjoy themselves.

Q. Why should voters cast their ballot for you on March 7?

A. I was born and raised in Selbyville, in the same house where I live today. I have made Selbyville my home for 67 years. My children and grandchildren live and work in Selbyville. I want to ensure Selbyville provides the opportunities to work, raise a family and enjoy life for generations to come, as it has for many generations of my family.

William A. ‘Bill’ Thompson

Q. Why do you want to be part of the Selbyville Town Council?

A. I will be someone who is open to new ideas and new creative ways to do things. The water billing is a good example. It gives zero incentive to conserve water and causes low-consumption users to pay ridiculously high billing. This will become more of a problem as developers continue to build.

I am a person who is willing to give back to the Selbyville community without personal benefit. Having the same people running any entity for long periods of time can only ensure that new ideas and open-minded thinking will not be considered. It also opens the path for town officials to become beholden to developers that may be very influential. The old way of thinking and doing business needs to change.

Q. What is your opinion on building development in Selbyville, and what should people know about it?

A. Development is never a bad thing on its own. But to add new home development along Route 54 without a plan for the traffic and infrastructure is not in the best interest of Selbyville residents. It may be in the best interest of the developers, however. One only needs to attend town council meetings to understand that their plan is to add new communities and have the Selbyville taxpayer foot the bill for infrastructure costs, rather than the developers.

Why not have the developers pay higher fees to the Town to cover all costs that, as of now, will fall on the current residents? This would not only control developers but also pay for water, sewage, schooling, etc., that are bound to burden town residents in the future.

Q. What other issues do you hope to address, or what ideas would you bring to the table?

A. The biggest obstacle for the future of any community is to determine long- and short-term visions. Short-term visions may include actively pursuing a tenant for the old Georgia House location, rather than wishing someone would take it over, as was mentioned during town council meetings.

The biggest long-term problem will be traffic along Route 54. The council and mayor throw up their hands and say it is a DelDOT issue they can do nothing about. Rather than being proactive with DelDOT, they use them as a convenient scapegoat. The mayor and council could easily hold up developments until the issue with DelDOT is resolved but chose to appease developers then blame traffic issues on DelDOT. The idea of the council shrugging their collective shoulders when dealing with development along Route 54 does nothing to address these coming developments:

• 132 homes in Schooner Landing at the corner of Route 54 and Polly Branch Road (a comment was made by a council member that they hoped this would curb the drug trade along Polly Branch Road);

• 99 homes in Salt Water Landing on the southeast corner of Route 54 and Hudson Road;

• 182 homes in Atlantic Lakes on the southwest corner of Route 54 and Hudson Road;

• 695 homes in Coastal Villages between Routes 17 and 54 and Hudson Road.

Q. Why should voters cast their ballot for you on March 7?

A. Casting a vote for Bill Thompson will ensure an open mind on all issues and have someone on the council willing to not just be a yes-man on every council vote. Just check out all the past unanimous 5-0 votes from the mayor and council. Doesn’t anyone think for themselves? This is just another example of the need for change and maybe a reason to add term limits to the town charter for mayor and council.

Residents of Selbyville really do deserve better. The mayor and council need to be held accountable for the decisions they take that affect Selbyville residents. Adding over a thousand new homes along the Route 54 corridor is not improving the quality of life for Selbyville residents.

Staff Reporter

Laura Walter is an award-winning reporter on schools, environment, people and history. A graduate of Indian River High School and Washington College, she has rappelled off a building and assisted a magician, and encourages readers to act on local issues.