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January 3, 1997     Cape Gazette
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January 3, 1997
 

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4 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, January 3 - January 9, 1997 Jones, Rogers ready to jump feo00 first into Sussex Council seats JONES ROGERS By Michael Short Finley Jon and Lynn Rogers say they are chompingt the bit to join County Council. The neWest council members have been busy devouring budgets and poring over paperwork while they wait to be sworn in. "It seems like all I do is home- work," Jones laughed. They will get their chanceon Jan. 7 when they are sworn in a the newest members of County Council after being elected in No- vember. "I am ready to roll. I am excited. Personally, I think it is going to be a good year," Jones said. They replace retiring Bill Stevenson and Ralph Benson. Both know the Sussex County land use plan is likely to be the dominant issue in the next few weeks and months. Both are also aware it is the issue that constituents are likely to judge them upon. Jones notes that a state extension gives the county until the end of March to com- plete its proposed land rise plan. "1 am not sure we can have it wrapped up by then," he said. Jones suggests that a committee be de- veloped Co gather more input from people on the proposed plan. "I think we need to invtlve the people," Jones said. He suggests that a possible com- mittee could include farmers, real estate represeotatives and mobile home interests as some of its members. He notes that there were a num- ber of meetings on the proposed land use plan, but said they were u_su'ally not well intended. Because of that, he thinks more input from the public might be called for in developing a plan. "I am not in favor of it [the proposed plan] as written," he said. In the meantime, he does not believe the county should extend the moratorium again in order to complete that plan. The temporary moratorium has ben oeenrder extended until the end of January in to give the county more time to com- plete the land use plan. Rezonings, subdivi- sions and conditional uses are prevented under the moratorium, which wds slapped in place to prevent an onslaught of develop- ment and land Use changes while a land use plan is being finalized. "I personally do not think we should keep the moratorium," Jones said, adding that large projects can be addressed through the county office of planning and zoning during the interim. Rogers also has serious reservations about the land use plan. He said that he is concerned about some issues addressed in the plan, agreeing that strip development and five-acre manufactured home parcels are concerns which need to be addressed. But he asked "What's been wrong with the old plan?" "Everybody has a lot to say about this [plan], but I don't think every- body has been heard," Rogers said. He also is reluctant to support a moratorium extensioia. "I am not for moratoriums," he said. "If at all costs it can be averted, I don't think correspondence, economic development is- sues and county budgets to prepge. "I've prepared myself as much as I can without being on council." "I have no ax/es to grind and no personal ggenda," Rogers said. Whilee has no agenda, he said that  thinks economic de- velopmat efforts at the Sussex Cou!ty Airport can be im- preyed. The airport area is "a flower waiting to bloom," Rogers said. He also said that he would like to see better service for county residents. He said that he was not criticizing the it should be extended." current Sussex County efforts, but he said Both pledge to be active and involved efforts to make servieesmore user friendly councilmen. Rogers said that one lesson h% for county residents can always be im- learned very early on is that he must liste/n proved. Sewer services need to be a joint to the concerns of his constituents. Jo/nes effort of both the state and the county, ac- said that he hopes to use good common cording to Rogers. He also said paramedics sense and not stray far from the home front, and emergency services are other priorities. I work eight to 10 hours a day.../IfI have a Jones said that he thinks that County problem with [an issue], I thin,that an av- Council ought to consider holding night erage run-of-the mill perso might also meetings on some issues. He also thinks the have trouble with it," JoneSaid. issue of what to do with old manufactured Rogers also works long/hours and said he housing will become a bigger issue, which has made a point to rtUrn telephone calls the county must address soon. The key, he and stay in touch wi his constituents. He feels, is making efforts to recycle or dispose has studied rules and procedures, minutes, of such homes cost effective. Cape Regi00)00a lawmakers turning sights toward Dover By Rosanne Pack Sen. Robert Voshell, Milford De- join with Sehroeder and Bunting based on population numbers to of getting lean, state government Tuesday, Jan. 14 marks the opening of the Delaware General Assembly, and elected officials from southeastern Delaware are already in the legislative mindset. Shirley Price, Democrat repre- senting the 38th Representative District, is being sworn in to an elected office for the first time. The MiUville resident admits that it is a thrill to become part of the state's governing body. However, she is also very aware of the weight of the responsibility. Price was elected to fill the seat left vacant when Rep. George Bunting, Democrat of Bethany, chose to run for Sen. Richard Cor- drey's seat. "This is truly exciting," Price said. "My priority is to learn as much as I can and to do the best job that I can for those who elect- ed me. I need to learn to use the system so that I can help my con- stituents." Even though she is new to the elected post, Price said she has two issues that she feels strongly about, and that she will devote en- ergy to initially. "We have to find funding t" central sewer systems. It musffbe made affordable for the av/erage family," she said. "And, mY other primary issue is to find Ways to in- crease affordable houng. Young coupleselderly cou- ples, first time he/me-buyers, there is just not enoggh decent afford- able housingffvailable." Price may be new to the politi- cal routine, however, she zeroed in on the first issue that three other areadected officials listed as their fomost concern. Sen. George Bunting, Rep. John Schroeder, Lewes Democrat and mocrat, all identified finding funding to help pay for the West Rehoboth Sewer District as a pri- ority in their up-coming legisla- tive year. Schroeder and Voshell are both returning to offices that they pre- viously Occupied and Bunting is changing from one side of Leg- islative Hall to the other as he goes from serving in the House of Representatives to the State Sen- ate. The three agreed tha t the sew district cost to property own/Ors must be reduced, and Schr96der and Voshell said that money from the 21st Century fund is/a consid- eration. Schroeder saiftha t, even though the West Re/boboth Sewer District is area sp/ecific, the con- cept and problems will surface in other locations. "It's We Rehoboth now, but the issuepeaks statewide," he said. "West Rehoboth's costs and prob}ems will be, elsewhere thrgtlghout the state. His plan is that area elected offi- Cials will work to get a $10 mil- lion grant to defray, the costs of the district in order to lower what in- dividual property owners must pay for hook-up and service fees. "There are no permanent funds in the Wastewater Advisory Council at this time. One idea would be to take a larger percent- age from the slot machine rev- enues; maybe make it a permanent source of funding so the council could grant money," Schroeder said. "We don't know how much slot machine revenue -will be over the years to come, but we have nothing now. We must at least be- gin a dialogue." Voshell agreed that he would in seeking funding fothe West Rehoboth SeweiDisct. ,, "We can't make(promises, he said, "But, we w/ill 100k at all the options. The 2fist Century money is a consideration." \\; Payingfor growth In disgUssing population grqwth in Sussex, the Milford DemoCrat said lfiat particular issue is tied tb 0other central concern of most live in southeastern Sussex. "Land use is the big issue," Voshell said, "I don'tknow how it will all evolve, but I think that the state and the counties need to work more closely all the time. There is the impact of the elderly moving into Sussex County, other population increases will cause an increase in the demand for ser- vices, there is increased demand on the infrastructure, roads, sewer and water. We can't sit back and wait for things to happen." Voshell said that no one wants the state to mandate costly pro- grams for the counties and cities, however, cooperative planning is necessary in order to avoid more costly stop-gap measures down the road. Schroeder and Bunting both think that the counties have to assume more responsibility for planning and paying for expenses brought on as the result of growth. Bunting said the county approves zoning and development plans that allow for growth and there, fore must take a more active role in finding funding to pay for nec- essary services. "I will be going before Sussex County Council soon to propose that the county take a role in fund- ing more state police for the area," Bunting said. "I think county council should develop a formula help pay for more police. And, I am speaking of state police; we don't need the duplication of forming another police force." In addition to paying for sewer and getting more troopers on the road in Sussex, the new Senator said that he has two or three pieces of legislation that he is already working on. He wants to see a bonus for armed forces veterans d0aaareCent conflicts such as Grena- and Panama such as that al- ready approved for Viet Nam vet- erans.  will be coming in as the chairman of the Senate Agricul- tural Committee so there will be a lot going on there. Agriculture is so important in Sussex County," Bunting said. "I also want to set up a review board to look at how the department of transportation is serving disabled person" On the roads again  The operation of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) was of concern to al the area elected officials. Since the recent announcement that the Delaware Transportation Fund is depleted, local lawmakers, along with many others from throughout the state have a lot of questions. "It baffles me as it does a num- ber of legislators," Schroeder said. "We had seen numbers that showed all was well; then, we hear that the money is gone. "Are there expenses that can be cut? Before we look at increasing gasoline taxes or raising fees, let's look at the expenses. There are a number of us within the' General Assembly who will demand to be shown what has been done to cut expenses." Bunting pointed out that as businesses faced the proposition should do the same. He said some departments, such as DelDOT should do some budgettrimming. "Again, this comes back to a county issue as well," the Bethany Senator said. "The county takes care of no roads, no welfare pro- grams, no prison building and maintenance. We need to reassess this situation if we continue to grow; and if we want to manage it in an orderly fashion." Voshell said that the state cer- tainly might be spending too fast, as in the case of DelDOT. "It's not taken well when the state announces a surplus and then, you hear that taxes and fees need to be increased to make up for shortfalls," he said. "When we looked atthe Trust Fund four years ago, it was anticipated that it would begin to run out. Now, what we need to do is determine how the money is being spent, can it be trimmed, and where can we allocate other money from." Voshell said that there are many complications in deciding how to pnlsaCh an issue such as Del- pending. An obvious solu- te cut some programs, how.- ever, in'creases in population bring increased\\;traffic on roads. "And, yog can't reduce cars without more mass transit, which is, in turn, very costly. That's where Anne Canhy (the DelDOT secretary) is coming from in ask- ing for an increase in gasoline tax or auto registration fees,' Voshell said. The Senator has been chosen for the Senate Majority Leader position, so his job gain addedXtu- ties this year. He said he is alread seeing an increase in requests for meetings, and he must add weekly meetings with Gov. Tom Carper.