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Lewes, Delaware
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April 16, 2010     Cape Gazette
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20 FRIDAY, APRIL 16- MONDAY, APRIL 19, 20i0 NEWS cape Gazetl Phillips files for fourth term on Sussex County Council President promotes low taxes, stability By Ron Mar_Arthur ronm@capegazette.com Vance Phillips has filed to run for a fourth term on Sussex County Council. Phillips' roots in the county run deep; six generations of his fami- ly have tilled the soil in the Laurel area. Phillips Landing near Laurel is named for his great- great-grandfather Isaacs who lived on the spot where the Broad- kill and Nanticoke rivers meet. The Laurel Republican, who has served on council represent- ing District 5 for the past 12 years, is currently council presi- dent. The large district extends the width of the county from Laurel and Delmar to Fenwick Island and South Bethany. Councilman George Cole, R- Ocean View, who has yet to file, is also up for re-election. Cole, the senior member, has served on council since 1986. The dead- line to file is noon, Friday, July 30. Phillips, 47, who grows water- melons and tomatoes, also reha- BOAT HAULING 4 POWERWASHING SHRINK WRAP 4 WINTERIZATION ENGINE SERVICES $ STORAGE CANVAS REPAIR ,t, WELDING Vance Phillips bilitates old homes in western Sussex County and resells them. He is married to Lisa, and the couple have three daughters, Katelyn, Megan and ]illian. He is a Laurel High School and Uni- versity of Delaware graduate. Phillips takes pride that his daughters are also active in the family business and grow and sell their own watermelons each sum- mer. To Phillips, the three building blocks of coun- ty government have re- mained the same since he was elected in 1998: low taxes, limited gov- ernment interference and respect for the U.S. Constitution. Phillips said he looks at his council position more as a facili- tator than a politician. "It's ex- tremely satisfying to help people. There are always opportunities to help folks. I am able to put people in touch with the right county employee," he said. It's not unusual for Phillips to conduct a conference call with a constituent and county staff in his role as traffic cop, as he calls it. Phillips said the new council is hard-working and anxious to fix problems that arise. He also said the major issue facing most gov- ernment bodies is finances. Mid- way through the last budget year, the county was facing an $8 mil- lion deficit. Under Phillips' leadership, council enacted a series of cost- cutting measures to trim the deficit to $1.8 million. "We cut the size of govern- ment 16 percent and reduced the workforce by 10 percent without laying anyone off- that's un- precedented7 Phillips said. "I'm not taking any credit for it be- cause we have good people on council, a great staff and tremen- dous administration. It's an in- credible team." The county offered an early re- tirement option and did not flU some positions. Some staff had to be cross-trained to cover some jobs. According to Phillips, the county's financial status was ap- proaching a critical stage. 'qnat's when our staff stepped up," he said. "County employees were asked to do so much this past year and a half. I've really come to appreciate our county em- ployees so much." Looking ahead, Phillips said job creation is at the top of his priority list. "We can't impede economic opportunities with un- due regulations and taxes," he said. He said a stable government helps create jobs and allows the private sector to expand. And, he doesn't mind a little conflict at the council table. "The most dangerous govern- ment is a unified government. I think this council is as balanced as there has ever been one," he said. Phillips has come under criti- cism for several actions he has taken as president, including car- rying on the tradition of starting each meeting with the Lord's Prayer. "If I come under fire for that, I wear that fire as a badge of hon- or," he said. 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