by Terry Rogers
On Saturday, April 23, residents in Milford’s Ward 1 will head to the polls to vote for one of their representatives on City Council. Michael Boyle and Linda Bretzer both filed to run for the seat. Mayor Archie Campbell as well as Councilmen Andrew Fulton and Brian Baer along with Councilwoman Katrina Wilson also filed but will run unopposed for their ward seats.
All individuals registered to vote with the State of Delaware by March 24, 2022 at an address within Ward 1 of the City of Milford are eligible to vote in the election. Residents who need to register should contact the Department of Elections in Sussex County at 302-856-5367 or visit https://ivote.de.gov. Qualified non-resident property owners must be properly registered by the City of Milford by March 24, 2022. To learn if you are a qualified non-resident voter, contact the City Clerk’s Office at 302-422-1111, Extension 1300 or 1303 where they may also register by phone.
Bretzer and Boyle were both provided the following questions and answers that follow are in Bretzer’s words in order to offer voters more details on their platform, what they hope to do on council and what issues they see as important in the city.
Q: Can you give me your background? Education, career, family, etc.
A: I was born and raised in Massachusetts, but I have called Delaware home for the past 17 years. I have a daughter and son-in-law in Laurel, DE, and a son and three grandchildren in Colorado. I have a dog and a granddog. I have an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree. My career is now where the Lord leads me. I am an active member of the Milford Church of God. I am a certified instructor in the U.S. Constitution and hopefully will be able to get my certification in the Delaware Constitution as well.
Q: What made you decide to run for council?
A: During the pandemic, I thought a lot about running for city council. I felt it was time to stand up for a country I love and believe in. It’s time to take a stand and bring back the grassroots of what our country was founded on! My friends approached me to run for City Council and after some serious praying and listening to my friends, I decided to do it.
Q: What are the biggest issues facing Milford today and how do you plan to address them going forward?
A: Traffic issues, housing, affordable housing for seniors, stores more accessible to the disabled and seniors, and more retail businesses need to be built. I plan on taking them one issue at a time and weigh both sides before offering up what should be done.
Q: Milford is growing rapidly. In what ways do you plan to manage that growth?
A: Before voting on a new project, I plan on researching and looking into if it’s the best idea for THE PEOPLE of Milford or just to attract a business here.
Q: Infrastructure in Milford seems to be of concern to citizens. How are you planning to deal with the infrastructure to deal with growth?
A: As a citizen, I notice that it seems housing is constantly being built. Yet, the choices of retail stores, small businesses, and family recreational areas are slim to none. The choices we have are Walmart and nothing else. No family parks with a playground for the kids, wide open spaces to fly kites, play frisbee, etc. and close and easily accessible for disabled people. I believe the city should step back and reevaluate what is truly needed in this city. Certain infrastructure, in my opinion, is very good for the city. However, when it starts to overshadow the people who call Milford home, then I believe it’s time to slow down and listen to what THE PEOPLE want.
Q: Narrowing this down a little, what are the biggest issues facing Ward One specifically and what plans do you have to address them?
A: With all due respect, I truthfully cannot answer this as I have not been able to meet or speak with them. I do intend on being available to listen to their needs and bring their concerns to the council.
Q: The sidewalk project was recently reviewed by council. There are many property owners who feel they should not be responsible for repair and maintenance of their sidewalk. Do you feel this ordinance should be changed in any way?
As a citizen, I feel that if there is grass on both sides of the sidewalk, then it is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep it mowed. I also believe it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to keep the sidewalk clear of snow. I don’t believe a homeowner should be responsible for fixing a broken, uneven or crumbled sidewalk. The city should be maintaining the sidewalks so they are kept safe for those who use them.
Q: Do you feel this ordinance should be changed in any way? Explain why or why not.
I think it should be changed. After reading the ordinance, I think it is the city’s way of getting out of doing what is rightfully a city’s responsibility. Whose responsibility is it to fix the sidewalks on the main street? The city or the local businesses? I recently spoke with someone who lives very close to the main street, but is scared to walk there with her walker for fear of falling. No, I believe it is not the homeowner’s responsibility to pay for a sidewalk to be fixed.
Q: How do you view the current local economy and how do you propose preserving and attracting quality jobs into Milford, especially those designed for young people?
I’m not sure I can answer this. As a citizen, I sometimes find it hard to live within a tight budget. Just recently the drastic hike in the electric bill had me readjusting my budget. I don’t believe the “it has been cold lately” excuse, since I don’t adjust my thermometer in my house to offset the cold. I think that bringing in more retail stores where young people can work and go to school, or summer recreational facilities like miniature golf, a family park for picnics, and a playground. More research would have to be done on it.
Q: Do you believe the current recreational needs of local families, especially those with teens, are being met? Explain why or why not and how you plan to address the situation.
A: I don’t believe Milford offers a lot of recreational outlets for them. First, find out their interest, and second put them to work in the city. One idea would be a summer job where they can work for the city doing odd jobs like painting fire hydrants or fences, sprucing up the downtown area by mowing the grass, picking weeds from the flower beds, planting flowers, or creating murals on buildings. It would help them learn about responsibility, working, and taking pride in the city.
Q: Affordable housing is a problem in the area, especially rental units. How can the council address that problem?
A: I believe demographics would help because it would show where the need is. One major issue is the need for more one level rental units for low-income seniors closer to grocery and retail stores so they can shop for their personal items easier. Instead of brand-new housing, maybe looking into these abandoned homes and fixing them up to be affordable rental apartments. It will not only profit the city, but it will improve the city’s image.
Q: In what ways do you believe the city can use the river as an asset while still promote conservation?
A: The Riverwalk is a great idea. The wooden bridges could be fixed up so a disabled person can use a walker or wheelchair. Another idea might be to make certain days in the summer for young kids, seniors, disabled people, teens to walk it with incentives (possibly from small businesses in the area) if they finish it. Maybe offer tours and historical facts about the city and the river.
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