James Burk hopes to retain his Ward 2 seat on the Milford City Council. John Bechtold is also running for this seat. See Mr. Bechtold’s answers here.
Occupation: Building Inspector II
Educational Background: Cape Henlopen High School, University of Delaware BA History
What do you think of Milford?
“I love Milford! I couldn’t imagine raising my family anywhere else. I hope and pray that my children will decide to raise their families here too. This is a driving force behind my willingness to contribute so much time and energy to the city’s success.”
How can Milford improve? What doesn’t need to be changed?
“More opportunities for the graduates of Milford High School. I would like to see the best and brightest return to Milford.” [What doesn’t need to be changed is] the unique character of our town.”
“Thanks to the hard work and partnerships between Milford’s municipal and business leaders, I believe the city is prepared for the anticipated growth. During the meetings with Bayhealth and Trammell Crow, the Mayor, Councilwoman Peel, and I expressed our wish lists for the existing Milford Memorial Hospital location. I was so excited to hear of the outcome, knowing the hard work that was put in between the city and Bayhealth. The role of the city is to work as a partner with existing and potential businesses to reach results that benefit the citizens of Milford.”
Where do you see Milford headed?
“Just like recent articles have stated, Milford is widely considered Delaware’s next boom town. The recent announcement of the sale of the Milford Memorial Hospital and creation of 300+ full time new jobs is just the beginning.”
How would you describe Milford’s climate toward business growth, job creation and financial stability?
“Milford is open for business! As a member of the Finance Committee, I can clearly state that Milford is financially secure. It is our job as members of City Council to make sure this trend continues.”
With statewide budgetary problems, how do you think Milford should move forward?
“Now more than ever, the city needs to be fiscally responsible. I attended two of Governor Carney’s Budget Reset meetings to learn as much as possible about proposed cuts and tax increases at the state level. These cuts do not happen in a vacuum and Milford’s City Council has been mindful of how we can adapt to these funding challenges. The success in Milford is due to hard work and strategic planning. I am proud of our success and look forward to the future.”
What issues, in your opinion, are most pressing to Milford residents? Why?
“Taxes, public safety, the quality of education, and job opportunities. I have heard these concerns voiced during day to day interactions and while on the campaign trail.”
Tell us about your volunteering and/or leadership roles?
“Knights of Columbus, The Boys and Girls Club, The Salvation Army, Mayor Shupe’s Hungry to Help volunteer fair, Children and Families First, Milford Historic Preservation Group, Downtown Milford Inc., Milford in Bloom, Home of the Brave Christmas Fundraiser, Coaching soccer for Milford Park and Recreation, Treasurer of the Delaware Building Officials Association, Treasurer of the Lower Delaware Maryland Building Officials Association, eight plus years as an appointed member of the Planning Commission including time as the chairman and Milford City Council Ward 2 Councilman.”
What strengths and experiences will you bring?
“I’ve always has a passion for volunteering and politics. I was the vice president of the Student Council in High School, I studied American History and Philosophy at the University of Delaware, and while on Milford’s Planning Commission I learned all I could from fellow commission members. I attended City Council meetings years before I felt I was prepared to run for City Council and learned all I could.”
What are you looking forward to learning?
“I strive to learn something everyday. I’m constantly researching new concepts related to growth and municipal management being employed locally and nationally. I’ve learned so much speaking with my constituents.”
Tell us about something of which you are most proud?
“During last year’s budget, $95,000 was allocated for a police department needs and staffing study. With the help of my fellow council members I was able to identify the company that performed a similar study several years ago. As the chairman of the Police Committee, I contacted the company and was able to negotiate an update to the previous study for $7,500. This was a direct savings for the city of Milford. I was very proud of this accomplishment and will continue to look for savings wherever possible.”
What do you want to tell those in your district?
“I am here to represent each and everyone of you. I take this responsibility and the oath I took very seriously. I am constantly promoting Milford and am here to help in any way possible. I believe Milford is a team sport, everyone has a role to play.”
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