We need to do what we can as county commissioners to facilitate bringing good paying jobs to Kent County. My goal is to help bring and keep good paying careers (not just jobs) to Kent County by both working to streamline the permitting process and funding programs that create a ready workforce of our children and grandchildren. We also need to make sure we continue to have the infrastructure in place to support the economic development Kent County needs to thrive! I support the comprehensive plans now in the works for Little Heaven and South Frederica but also realize there may be other areas of immediate opportunity where we can bring companies in. We need more shovel ready sites ready for approval in six to twelve months as opposed to twelve months to a year.
As your commissioner I would make decisions such as potential zoning changes based on whether it would have a net positive impact on the area residents and whether or not it makes sense for a given property and it does not overburden our infrastructure. We need to explore code changes to promote more economic opportunity and make planning decisions more streamlined. I would work with fellow commissioners and the planning department to find areas of opportunity here. I oppose the recent decision to give power to the county administrator to appeal planning decisions. I do not believe that should be a function of the county administrator and creates a new level of bureaucracy. In fact in the next budget, some of the commissioners are now asking for an Assistant County Administrator position with the price tag of $92,000 a year in salary and benefits.
We need to minimize regulations that inhibit employers from coming here to Kent County and we need to make sure we are planning our infrastructure for future growth needs.
As your commissioner, I would closely monitor levels of police service and push to adjust as necessary. State police troop 3 does a great job for Kent County and we need to continue to support the troop with what they need. Our volunteer fire service does a tremendous job here in Kent County and we must continue to support them in any way we can. We should be giving support agencies such as Kent County Crime Watch the funding they need. In the recommended 2021 budget for community grants Kent County Levy Court is prepared to give $2500 towards their efforts, although $3500 was requested and I believe such an integral support organization deserves the full ask. I do not agree with my opponent that it is a good idea to issue speeding citations by radar through the mail. As Lt. Reinbold of the state police said the goal is behavior modification and fines alone do not work.
I support the addition of a fifth paramedic station on route 8 to serve the western areas of of county. Currently response time to those areas is double that of other areas of the county. I commend the current commissioners for recognizing the need to take this step. If elected I would work to help see it through and continue to monitor levels of service to maintain quick response time. Our paramedics are some of the best in the nation. We will need to add more in the coming years. This will be a challenge in future budgets if we cannot achieve more economic growth.
Kent county like the rest of the nation, is not immune to the effects of the opioid crisis . I believe the county needs to take an active role in combating it. It certainly has led to a spike in property crime that we cannot just arrest our way out of. Most importantly it is destroying the lives of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles ect. I believe education is the key and the county should be involved as far classes and workshops that can be held at our county parks and facilities as well as continuing to support various organizations through community grants. I would also be a supporter of more programs for our youth such as sports leagues and other activities run or facilitated by the county in partnership with non profits.
As your county commissioner I will commit to you excellence in constituent service and responsible management of tax dollars. I believe the government that works best for the people is one that maximizes efficiency by providing essential services but getting out of the way and eliminating unnecessary regulation that can be costly and stifle job growth and prosperity. We should ensure Kent County Levy Court is doing our part when it comes to code enforcement to keep our community safe and protect home values. This does not mean I support excessive fines like my opponent does. It means holding the delinquent property owners ultimately responsible but also giving them necessary time to correct code violations.
The proposed hotel lodging tax as written was irresponsible. It would have taxed each hotel stay in Kent County and the funds would have gone directly to DE Turf in Frederica. My opponent fully supported it as written and was on the record as such. If we were or are to implement a lodging tax, the money should go to the general fund. Then, strict guidelines on how the revenue can be spent should be implemented by Levy Court.
Making sound decisions does not always mean spending less money; as we learned when Levy Court cut ties with the SPCA for animal control because of a price increase in 2012, only to turn to them again in a year due to a hasty decision to offer Safe Haven the contract even though they could not handle it. Even with this realization, my opponent voted to continue on with Safe Haven. My opponent has suggested purchasing $16,000 solar powered workstation tables for our parks in Kent County. While there would be benefits to some, this is an unneeded frivolous expense . As your Levy Court commissioner you will be able to trust me to make responsible decisions with YOUR tax dollars.