Councilman Jason Adkins, a fourth generation Milford resident, was elected the youngest ever Milford City Councilman. Since 2007 he was employed as a commercial insurance agent with L&W Insurance Agency in Dover, DE until he recently decided to pursue a career in law at Widener Law in Wilmington, Delaware. Jason graduated Milford Senior High school in 2002 with honors. After high school Jason attended the University of Richmond, where he earned a double major in Political Science & Spanish. Jason was owner/proprietor of his first business in Dewey Beach which he began and operated during his college tenure.
Q: What were/are the reasons you got involved in city politics?
A: What inspired me to run city council was what I perceived to be an absence of a voice for the younger, working generation in our town. Ever since I graduated from Milford in 2002 I have slowly watched the people I grew up with move out of town in search of employment. From my perception at the time it seemed that the council was focused entirely on the wishes of the retirement population while failing to consider the repercussions on the business community. Rather than sit back and complain I decided the best way to make a difference was to get involved.
Q: What has surprised you the most about the job?
A: By far the most surprising aspect of the job has been the difficulty and emotions involved in many of the decisions. Many of the decisions we make on council are directly (and sometimes adversely) affecting the lives of people. There was a recent annexation vote that brought out the entire surrounding community who were very passionate about the fact that this decision would change their way of life. Even though I believed my decision was the best for Milford as a whole, I never anticipated the difficulty of having to look these people (many of whom I have known all my life) in eye and say that I was going to vote against their wishes.
Q: How do you think Milford is doing?
A: In my opinion Milford is on the right track. The decisions of the council fairly and appropriately balance the concerns of the business community with the quality of life issues that are important to keeping Milford as a desirable place to live and conduct business. Financially, the prudent decisions Milford has made in the past have left us in the stable position we find ourselves today. The city continues to make decisions that focus on the long term needs of the community in order to facilitate responsible and sustainable growth. Most importantly the council appreciates our duty to the city residents, namely to promote and protect the peace, prosperity and property of our community.
Q: What is a challenge that the city of Milford faces?
A: One of the major challenges I see for Milford (as with many local towns) is providing adequate services for our population. It is a matter of fact that our population is growing, and the growth is primarily coming from a retired population. This influx of population is presenting two different problems. One, there will be an ever increasing demand on issues relating to health care. As a city we need to make sure we do everything we can to make sure our citizens have adequate access to care. Our emergency response teams are already facing a burden that exceeds the available resources. Secondly, as a community we should find ways to take advantage of the knowledge and resources many of these new Milfordians bring to our town. They may be retired, but many of them still have a lot to offer which can benefit us all. Too often I hear conversation that is “us versus them” when talking about the differences between the native Milfordians and those that are not. If we can change this mentality (from both sides) from one of opposition to one of partnership, we all will benefit.
Q: What do you see as a success that Milford has accomplished?
A: One of the most recent successes concerns the actions we have taken to stimulate economic growth. It is frequently stated that “if you do not grow you will die,” and the council has embraced this mentality. We have recently enacted a program that temporarily waives impact fees on new construction and postpones any increased tax assessment for renovations. Since we adopted this program last June economic activity has gone from basically nothing to over $5 million in new investments (as other towns have seen negative growth). Outside of the actual economic incentives, the message that the policy has sent to the business community is that Milford is once again open for business. The hope is that when businesses are looking to open in the area, they will see Milford as a viable option to consider as they weigh their decision.
Q: How would you like to see Milford move forward?
A: This question has been answered in many of the responses above. However, I hope that as a city we will continue to make fair, balanced, and consistent decisions that permit a sustained, responsible growth without losing the way of life that makes us all proud to call Milford our home.