by Terry Rogers
On Saturday April 27, the City of Milford will hold an election for a council seat in the First Ward. The election will be held at City Hall from 10 AM until 6 PM and only voters registered with the City who live in the First Ward are eligible to vote. The deadline for registering to vote with the City was March 28. Samuel Passwaters and Daniel Marabello are vying for the seat which was vacated when Councilman Chris Mergner chose not to run for reelection. Passwaters was asked the following questions and his answers appear in his own words.
Q: What are the main objectives you would like to accomplish if you are elected to City Council?
A: My goal is to make life simple and better for the citizens of Milford. In doing so, we will create a community that preserves the integrity of Milford and creates long-term, economically prosperous opportunities for our citizens. I embrace our traditional values:
- Individual Responsibility
- Limited Government
- Lowest Level of Government Intervention (Empower the Community to Grow)
This is how we do it:
- Lower the crime rate by empowering and providing our police with the resources and facilities required in this day and age. The safety and security of our citizens is first and paramount.
- Minimize the inclusion of government as it relates to economic growth and prosperity. We want to inspire and motivate businesses to establish themselves in Milford. We also want to inspire and motivate our current residents to stay in Milford and continue to foster the growth in our community through a strong economic base while simultaneously attracting new residents. With the opening of the new hospital in Milford, we are positioned to market and brand the Milford economic community in such a manner with which we can strategically and quantifiably grow our economy.
- Work strategically with the school board to ensure our youth have the most impactful of educational experiences to ensure their future success and the future success of our city.
- Make Milford a Destination – I want to work with the City leadership to create a community that not only attracts businesses (restaurants, hotels, etc.), but also attracts a professional demographic that will ensure a long-term economic and social growth within the city. “IF you believe it – dream it – do it.”
Q: What do you feel will be your biggest challenge(s) as a City Councilperson?
A: Despite fruitful discussions, I believe our City does not have a strategic dream and vision that has been brought to fruition. In order to create an ever-growing economy and sustainable growth, there are three essential requirements: cooperation, true strategic vision (which not only can the City deploy but also bring to realization), and the ability to inspire. Not only inspire change but inspire the populace to embrace and cultivate this change for the community’s betterment.
Q: The City is planning a new police station. Do you believe that this is necessary? If so, how do you propose to accomplish this?
As it relates to a new police station, I believe that as a community, we need to evaluate the economic implications as it relates to the following: Build a new structure from scratch or enhance our current facility. The decision with which I would vote is contingent upon that which would best serve the current and future needs of Milford. Here are my general concerns: our current facility is not ADA compliant. I want to ensure that each and every citizen has adequate access to our police station. I am concerned about our current facility. It poses a safety risk to our community – an enclosed area for the transport of prisoners d0es not exist. They are escorted through the general parking lot among our citizens.
Additionally, the City of Milford has a financial reserve, in addition to USDA loans and bonds, which could be utilized for either the renovation of our current police department or construction of a new police department. The goal is that the citizens of Milford have the safety and protection for which they are entitled.
Q: The City recently facilitated mandatory rental inspections and hired a new code enforcement officer in order to better address code violations in Milford. Do you agree with these measures and can the City improve in this area?
A: As a landlord and now a current tenant, I am a proponent of the City maintaining a system to ensure the healthy livelihood of the citizens of Milford. In recent years, the City has not fulfilled its promises to both tenants and landlords to follow through on the inspections. The inspections empower the tenants and protect their rights as renters in the City.
Q: Milford School District has made the decision to keep the former Milford Middle School property as a school. Do you believe a new school is necessary and what impact do you feel this would have on the City?
A: This question is inaccurate. My council position does not have a “direct” impact of the school board’s decision to either build a new school or maintain and renovate the existing structure. That being said, I believe in cooperation and the ability and opportunity to support an educational system that will not only foster the future of our children, but also provide a baseline upon which our community’s youth can explore their fullest potential. I want our community to grow and afford the opportunity of our youth (as well as current and future residents) to return to Milford and expand our economic footprint in Delaware.
Q: Milford has been called the “next boom town,” and the City is expected to grow tremendously over the next decade. How do you intend to handle this growth?
A: Yes, Milford has been called the “next boom town.” Question – what strategic initiatives has the City implemented that has spawned this growth? Milford has the fortune of experiencing growth. I am interested in the following: What is the city’s strategic economic vision? What has the City done to implement this vision and what are the quantifiable results? Based upon this plan, what industries have been targeted and what are the quantifiable results? What are the goals, both short- and long-term and where to we currently stand?
Based upon this information (and the current plan as it relates to tax incentives/land, I am assuming such a plan exists), I would want to meet with local and state representatives to discuss expansion of economic and tax incentives to leverage what Delaware implemented in the 1980s to foster an unparalleled level of economic and corporate growth for the past 40 years.
Q: The City recently hired five new police officers, funding them from reserve funds for the next three years. Do you feel paying for the officers from reserves was a good decision? How do you think funding for the officers should be handled at the end of three years?
The safety and security of our community is first and foremost. The decision to hire five new police officers for the next three years was predicated upon the following: requirement to protect our schools, downtown and outlying communities. I want to think outside the box. Our community is blessed to have former military personnel that have served our country in moments of combat. Recent shootings in schools require such expertise. Why not allow such personnel to protect our children at the schools? This would free up the time required of our honored police force to protect our community. Yes, our community requires additional police. We have experienced a spike in crime in the community. Let’s provide incentives to recruit the best of individuals to work for the Milford Police Department and provide peace of mind to our citizens.
After three years, based upon the quantifiable results of their hiring, a decision will be made in a collaborative effort with the City to determine future actions as it relates to their employment. However, based upon my vision as previously outlined, in working in conjunction with the City, our economic growth as the next “boom town,” will accommodate their employment and require additional police personnel.
I love this community. I am not here to talk. I am here to do. I want all citizens to believe in the greatness of Milford (now and in the future) and to know their voice matters, because it does.
I ask this question. What are the dreams and goals of each ward? My goal is that each ward strategically work together to empower our citizens to decide what they want through regularly scheduled town hall meetings to decide how we want to improve our community – empowering the citizens of Milford to decide their future is my ultimate goal through engagement. Hope in a better future.
The town hall meetings are an opportunity for our citizens to voice their opinions and concerns. I want to utilize the townhall platform to communicate positive outcomes versus negative results. Working together, we will create a future that benefits all citizens of our great community. #MilfordProud.