Meet the 2018 Milford mayoral, first ward council candidates

MILFORD — Milford mayoral candidates Arthur Campbell and Todd Culotta, along with ward one city council candidates Michael Boyle and Cindy Schofield, expressed their thoughts Tuesday night during a forum hosted by the Slaughter-Neck/Milford Branch of the NAACP and the Milford Chronicle.

Led by NAACP member and community advocate Michael Duker and moderated by Milford Chronicle’s Publisher Darel La Prade, candidates were formally asked eight questions each with two minutes to respond. Questions from the audience were taken at the end.

Below, you will find  the candidates’ responses. 

Publisher Darel La Prade: “I’d like to note upfront that this forum is non-partisan and our newspaper does not endorse, oppose, or support local candidates or parties. We are here solely to facilitate this discussion and help inform citizens and readers. It our intent in this forum to provide an opportunity for candidates to present their views on important issues facing the citizens of Milford. To encourage a civilized exchange, we have a few basic ground rules.

“For the audience, if you would, please refrain from applauding or in other ways demonstrating support or nonsupport for a candidate. Out of courtesy, I would also ask that you please switch off your cell phones during the forum. For the candidates, each candidate will have two minutes to introduce themselves and make an opening statement. We will do this alphabetically by last name, starting with Michael Boyle, followed by Archie Campbell, Todd Culotta and Cindy Schofield.

“Each candidate will receive two minutes to answer each question. We will give you a warning when you have thirty seconds remaining. . .”

Background and qualifications

Archie Campbell

Mr. La Prade: “Archie Campbell is a candidate for mayor and for the past two years, he’s been a member of the Milford City Council. For the eight years prior to his time on council, Mr. Campbell served on the Milford Planning and Zoning Board. As an elected official, he has supported town budgets, tax decreases, worked for lower electric rates and pushed for the collection of delinquent property taxes. As a member of council, he voted in favor of the payment condition index, this program sets priorities for repairing city owned roads and underground water and sewer lines. In addition to calling for financial stability, code enforcement and investing in infrastructure, Mr. Campbell will, if elected as mayor, provide the Milford Police Department with more resources that are priority.

“Todd Culotta is also running for mayor. He is the owner and president of Baypro General Contracting. Mr. Culotta

Todd Culotta

has 15 years of experience in technology, telephone communications sales and project management. He started his career working for companies such as Verizon Business, MCI Worldcom and Level Three Communications. Mr. Culotta is a 1991 graduate of Milford High School, holds an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management and a BA in Communications from California University in Pennsylvania. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He’s a member of the Milford Lion’s Club, Milford Museum and the Milford Historical Society.

Cindy Schofield

“Cindy Schofield is a candidate for city council and vying for a seat in the first ward. Ms. Schofield retired as a sergeant in the Philadelphia Police Department after 30 years of service. She is currently president of the home owner’s association for Matlinds Estates where she owns a home she bought five years before actually retiring. She holds a master’s degree in strategic leadership and she is an adjunct professor with the University of Phoenix. Last year, Ms. Schofield competed in the senior Olympics as a swimmer, winning two gold medals, along with a bronze.

“Mike Boyle is also a candidate for the first ward seat on the Milford City Council. He and his wife Gerry count themselves fortunate to have three children, seven grandchildren and on great-grandson. Mr. Boyle has done 20

Michael Boyle

years of active service with the U.S. Army and a second career as a defense analyst, supporting several senior pentagon officials in policy research, development implementation and analysis. He’s a graduate of Lasalle University in Philadelphia and the U.S. Army General Staff College. Mr. Boyle has served as an elected member of a school board, served on a review board of a city’s historic district and served on home owner association boards. He is currently a member of the Meadow’s of Shawnee Home Owners Association.”

Opening Statements

Mr. Boyle: “Thank you. I personally would like to thank the Chronicle and the local chapter of the NAACP for hosting this today. This is a bit of a surprise. I didn’t think we’d have the opportunity to talk to members of the community en mass. Before I go on to my statement, I mentioned to Archie Campbell that the last time I was on stage was in Kindergarten, it was a disaster. Believe me. Also, I think what I really wanted to talk about was. . . as a community, Milford is a type of place that’s unique. My wife Terry and I, we were looking for a place to settle. I traveled around for the military and we found Milford was rather unique. It was that hometown atmosphere. The values were here, it was a town that seemed to be on the verge of becoming a more… different kind of community: one that had a great deal of pride in itself and one that really took matters seriously, things that go on in town, things they cared about. That impressed us greatly. And then its location was convienent for us because of our children. . . So, we came here expecting what we found. We’re very pleased with it. Now, my background aside, what I really wanted to do was talk directly to members, residents, of the first ward and tell you what I’m about and what I can do. The only thing I can tell you is I will work very hard for you. I will do my best. If I can’t do my best, maybe next time we’ll get somebody else. I will be dedicated with service on the city council.”

Mr. Campbell: “I’m Archie Campbell. I retired here 12 years ago. I’ve always been very active in places I’ve lived in. I spent…. Years on Wallstreet and with fortune 500 companies. I’m a retired… I travel a lot and if you can see I really love kids. …. Dave Clendaniel … joined the Lion’s. I said to him, let me check with my wife first. He tells that to everyone. I’ve known the guy for 11 years. Four years…. I started out at the boys and girls club, I was their second aquatic director and I co-founded the swim team and I coached that for many years. Then I went to the high school. Stayed there for eight years and then was elected to city council. I feel with my background and my… I make an excellent candidate…’

Todd Culotta: “I grew up here… Milford is a wonderful place. I’ve had the chance to grow up here …. A few years back I moved back to Milford…. It means a lot to me. A lot of opportunity they have in Milford and I’m excited for the role I could play as Mayor.”

Cindy Schofield: “My story is sort of like Mike’s. I lived in Philadelphia for 30 years… pretty fast paced. I came down here often on different weekends where I’d go to Rehoboth some weekends with friends, Lewes some weekends with friends. And it wasn’t until I spent a weekend with friends in Milford that I said I want to live here. This is where I want to retire. So, outside their lawn at a house that was for sale, I grabbed one of those things and I called before I left on Sunday. I put a bid on it and got it on Monday…. And I couldn’t wait to come down here. I retired and came down here. The pace down here… oh my gosh I thought my heart would stop it was so slow. It took me a couple of years to get the hang of it, but now, I don’t know that I could even go back to Philly. I feel like I even talk slower. But I love it here. I’ve found Milford to be extremely charming, I  just love it. That’s why I wanted to be on the city council. It’s just a job I wanted. I felt like it was a way I could give back to the community, so this is what I’m doing. Also, I have thirty seconds, I didn’t know we were allowed to bring notes. So, I’m going to wing it.”

Mr. La Prade: “Thank you, Ms. Schofield. The first question deals with housing, and we’ll start with Mr. Campbell. Each candidate has two minutes to answer. With the growth projected to take place in Milford, what specific steps would you take as either mayor or as a member of the council to guarantee quality housing and appropriate rentals for all income levels?”

Mr. Campbell: “Well, from the standpoint of Milford with the grow, we have on the books 6,000 homes to be built in the next eight to ten years. So, that’s a lot of homes. I think there’s single family homes and condos. To me, that’s home ownership. Bringing income and revenue into the city of Milford. Of course, they pay taxes and transfer taxes. I think that’s makes them… excellent partners. Then there is the low end because then you have to deal with landlords and certain properties. So, in my eyes, I think from the standpoint that we need to have either 6,000 homes or something, thinking that we’ll probably have 1,000 homes in the next two years. . .  And I also agree there are certain partners that will bring a more upscale approach.”

Mr. Culotta: “I think Milford is definitely on the rise. So, more housing and like Archie said, the 6,000 that will come hopefully sooner than in eight years. But, I think we have a lot of work to do in the city of Milford, homes that are going to need a lot of attention whether that’s because they’re older and folks can’t afford to fix them up or they’re owned by absentee landlords, but I think there’s opportunity to improve them. That can’t happen without economic growth. You can be hard on homeowners and property managers. . . But, in order to provide affordable housing, we can’t just keep sticking it to them to improve the housing. The overall economy has to improve itself to dictate the type of housing and luxury apartments and condos and high-density housing. . . that we all need to see. As mayor, I will really work. . . to improve jobs, to improve overall housing. Housing is reflective of our economy and the amount of jobs that are available.”

Ms. Schofield: “Eventually, we are going to have to set down some homes. I was reading in the comprehensive plan that there’s going to be all kinds of homes. Different types: twins, which I thought I’d never see down here, but knocking on doors, I saw a couple of twins that were actually pretty nice. That’s been a great economic growth to our city, but we have to find jobs for these people unless they’re coming here with a job already.”

Mr. Boyle: “We do need some improvement. Right now, obviously there’s going be an economic growth. But with that, we have to keep in mind that one of the problems hurting Milford right now is that we have about 45 percent of the housing units, that’s four-people living, are rentals, and of the single-family homes, about 48 percent are lower income. That impacts the city because our tax base is low. It’s going to hold us back a little bit. So obviously we need to build up the economy to bring us to a different level of income to the town and bring us more tax base to work with. The only way we’re going to avoid that is really to avoid what has happened in the past. If you live in Orchard Hills, if you live in Matlind Estates, not so much Matlind Estates, if you live in Hearthstone, if you live in the Meadows of Shawnee. . . the streets are not as wide as they should be, there’s a lot of things that we’re waiting and of these thousands of homes that are going to come in in the next couple of years, they’re coming back to life because of an enormous [amount of attention]. Everyone we’ve looked at thinks they have a way to do it. We have to stop doing this, we have to build a community where if you have an ordinance, why do you have to have an ordinance if you don’t apply it? If you have to keep an ordinance, go through the community, give everybody a standard they can rely on. So, we need to do that. We need to bring it back. And it’s going to be for everybody, of course. Then we can improve housing, then we can move forward with whatever we need for our tax base.”

Mr. La Prade: “Thank you. The second question has to do with recreation… Fees for programs at the Milford Department of Parks and Recreations appear comparable with the costs at other local municipalities. Nevertheless, even $50 per month is out of the reach for many. Are there steps that you can recommend to make participation more inclusive? And then there’s a second part of this question: Do you have any plans to offer more recreational programs or leagues for adults?”

Mr. Culotta: “Yes, I think from a recreational standpoint, you need to have more open parks and more playing fields, more athletic fields, and as people become active and you get more people in the city or moving into Milford, more sports complexes that have soccer and basketball and things like that are always a nice option. And to your point about fees: Fees, typically, for most people, are a bit, let me think back over the years. . . my parents didn’t let me know about that. But certainly, there are some kids that would have a hard time, or parents having a hard time, of paying those fees. So, I’ve always been a fan of public-private partnership. I think there’s always programs that can be created from the private sector that create funds to be able to help kids who want to participate in sports and I don’t see a reason we can’t help the two. From an inclusivity stand point and activities for older adults, again, back to rec centers and sports centers and stuff like that, I like the I don’t care if it’s swimming, ping pong or whatever it might be, rec centers will provide that for older adults.”

Ms. Schofield: “Fees, I think I bought a membership at the parks; I think it cost me 36 bucks. I don’t know if they times that by four for a family; that’s a lot of money. My problem with recreation in the city of Milford is there isn’t anything for kids to do. Now I know we have recs. I know we have the Boys & Girls Club; we have museums, we have different things that kids can do, but I think there’s an expense. The Boys & Girls Club is pretty expensive. I think that there has to be more events planned in the recs and the parks in Milford. If you can plan some events, I mean, on different things, it would be great to get families involved for just kids of all ages. . . It does bother me that there is truly nothing to do for kids. Also, I don’t know if any of you knows this or maybe some do, the library has an after-school program for 13 and up. It doesn’t cost anything. They hired a teacher, a retired teacher, and they also have a college student there to help. The one good thing that they have there is a 3D printer. I mean, that’s awesome for a kid. They let them make things.”

Mr. Boyle: “Fees are a force for reality anymore since the governor cut back some allocations. . . It’s something we’re going to have to live with, something we’re going to have to factor in. We need to keep it minimal. We need also, again, to have an approval process to make sure it all comes through. . . The city is moving forward in creating the next step of walking and bike trails. It’s going to be a slow process. . . But hopefully we’ll. . . see biking more and exercising more. The other thing we need to do at this time is. .  . start setting aside some land areas for future parks. As we see some developments, as we build up a little bit, we’re going to have to have those designated even if we can’t afford it now to develop it, we’re going to have to do something. . . These are issues we’re going to have to face. Where we used to be 9,000 people a few years ago, we’re approaching 11 and we’re anticipating in the next two years that we’ll be approaching 12,000. These are things we’re going to have to factor in our planning with the city council.”

Mr. Campbell: “From a recreational standpoint and looking at the Boys & Girls Club, also looking at some of the things that are provided in the community… I actually worked at the Boys & Girls Club for a number of years. . . I know people are asking questions about what do you do with the old middle school? I know we used that primarily for teachers’ meetings. My understanding is that it’s not as safe. It was built way back in 1928 or ’29. They’re talking a lot about asbestos there and to actually take that building down, it’s somewhere around $2.5 million. So, I think we should use the . . . fields as far as to play in. I think the Boys & Girls Club is a value for the kids today. Of course, the cost is to be a little higher. I think most families, since we have a 21 percent poverty level in our community, which is very high, a lot of people really can’t afford some of these organizations. And we have a basketball court by the library. . . I think the biggest mistake of all was when we lost the skating rink. My wife and I actually took skating lessons there for our grandkids. So, we need something for the children.”

Mr. La Prade: “Any conversation about transportation is multi-faceted. Some groups and employers are concerned about bus transportation to, from and around the city. Do the current plans that DOT has offered go far enough? What ideas do you have to improving other transportation? How would you implement your ideas? And if you were in a meeting with DOT officials, what would you recommend?”

Ms. Schofield: “I know that there was a lot of concern in the city from people who lived in or about town about transportation, especially when they found out that the new hospital was being built. And they thought, ‘Oh, we can walk to the hospital where we’re at now. But there’s no transportation, there’s no way we can get to the new hospital.’ From what I understand, DART has changed their bus routes, and they will actually be accommodating everybody in the city. So, they have new routes that I think will benefit everyone.

“The one thing that bothers me is the, we’re setting up all these bike paths where for bikers to exercise or get to work and we’re going to have what, 12,000 people next year moving in? The traffic is incredible. We’re going to worry about transportation and buses and what not, but cars and bikes don’t go together. And when you try already to get ready to get out of that parking lot that houses Starbucks, those drivers there will, if they have a hundredth of a second to go, they’re done. Whether it’s a kid on a bike, or a person on a bike, I see a lot of problems. I would recommend some kind of safety issues, safety travel lanes and maybe better planning to get people in and out of parking in spaces where we’re building.”

Mr. Boyle: “Transportation: to address the bus, I was at the DART meetings that they held at the library about it. I think it was Route 210, it’s a circular route that will go from the veterans’ home and work its way through town, loop out to the Milford Plaza back into town and will eventually get to the new hospital. There was a lot of citizen input on that, and I don’t think they’ve settled on it yet, so I would encourage people to go online and to look at this and give some input. They’re still looking for the most efficient route that will service the most people. Initially, they had it going nowhere near the apartments. . . And realistically, we have a bus service. . . right now. It’s not going to happen overnight. We need to make sure, while they do this development and program, that people know about its advantages and use it. The other thing I think is part of transportation is to improve the overall road network and providing support for prioritizing the condition of the streets, probably address that and repaving curbs and repairs. Part of the transportation that I feel isn’t necessarily moving us around is the entryways to the city that we need to encourage to attract more people to the community. So, bus routes, the bike trails we’re going to build, maintaining the city’s streets a little better than they are, or a kind of long range plan that we need to get on, to stay on and work through.”

Mr. Campbell: “As Mike was [saying], we were actually both with DART March 8. And we sat down with them and we gave them feedback we thought was essential. As of, I believe it’s May 20,. . . those would actually happen. So, there will be transportation around the city. And also bus routes. So you can take the bus from the Walmart parking lot and go down to the beach. Now, Lewes has that park & ride feature for free that you can park your car. If you go to the beach, that parking lot is going to cost you $10, but they give you four passes. So, you can use those four passes to go again. As for bike riders, I think, if we look at how the kids ride their bikes in Milford now, I think the bike paths are probably more for the adults than the kids. They just don’t pay attention. We need the ability to have people use their bicycles, stay on the bike routes and, I think with DART, it’s a big improvement for them. It’s going to work well. It’s going to save people of Milford that are going down to the beach, you don’t have to drive your car, you’re not going to have to pay for gas. You get on the bus, you can either go to Lewes or you can go to Rehoboth, you can get on the bus and go around town, or access to the hospital, that’s going to be a big deal. They have changed that and implemented that so it’s going to happen after the meetings we’ve had. It’s positive changes.”

Mr. Culotta: “You know, I would like to see more DART drop off and pick up points in Milford, not just at Walmart. . . It would be nice for them to stop downtown in more neighborhoods, across from Parson Thorne. . . Surely, I would like to see that. . . There’s enough people to use that. There’s enough for every couple of hours to catch a bus. And let’s not forget that we live in a new economy. The new technologies with your phone and things like Uber or Lyft are certainly options that people can use here. As the city grows, there will be more independent contractors that will come in and bring those transportation options for seniors, for anybody. I use [it] all the time myself. So, I would like to see that. You know, most people who are going to retire to from cities are . . . Lyft or Uber is not too financially restrictive. It’s a good option; it’s a convenient option. I think it’s an important one. As our economy grows, we’ll have more of those independent contractors come here.”

Mr. La Prade: “The sad truth is that The Milford Chronicle could publish at least two pages of arrest reports every single week. Half of those undoubtedly would be drug related. Crime and gun violence is on everyone’s mind nowadays. Growth in Milford will have a definite effect on public safety. What steps, if any, can be taken by the mayor and council to cultivate an enhanced sense of safety in the community?”

Mr. Boyle: “I think that overall, the crime rate of the city is not out of control. You touched on the main parts. Basically, it’s the. . . opioids, heroin… One thing leads to the next. You steal to buy drugs, you buy drugs and you go steal again. Now. . . what we need to do, we need to basically work with the police department to increase their capabilities a little bit, they’re really stretched right now. I would support increasing the staffing. . . They’re understaffed right now. Chief only has 32 officers that are available. Once you start taking out that they have to go through training, those are the ones who have to transport prisoners, those are the ones who have to transport patients to the hospital, those that are sick. You can see the pressures that take the police off the streets. We need to get that presence there where there’s visibility where the officers are and so they can interact. The other problems that we’re facing in this town is bilingual in the community. We don’t have any bilingual officers right now. The department has been trying very hard to recruit and hire. And they’re not having a great deal of success. One of the other things not helping with the success is that of all the police departments in this area, the beaches, up to Dover, including the state, the starting salary for an officer in Milford is, on average, $6,000 less than everyone else. So, whoever they get, they train here, when their contractual year is over, you tend to lose half of them because we just aren’t competitive. . .”

Mr. Campbell: “The police department does a great job. They’re very proactive. The chief sits on the council is well aware of what goes on around town, offers suggestions of what we need to do. But, we will have to hire more police officers. .  .at least four to handle what we have now and the growth. . . If we’re not more proactive, then the crime rate is going to go up. As the population increases, we should know that there is going to be, we’re going to have more crime. We need to reinforce the police department. We need to be very proactive. The chief is very knowledgeable of what goes on in town. We have things that we have to do for the police department. . . We need to hire more police officers to handle the crime. Now, Milford Police Department has done some major, major busts, a hundred-thousand dollar bust. . . It’s very important: the chief communicates with all the city council [members] what’s going on if something happens. . . we all get a phone call or a text message from the chief. Crime, it’s not going to go away. We talk about getting more police. . . even if you have more police, the crime is still going to be there. . .”

Mr. Culotta: “The police do a good job here. I know the police chief; he’s a good friend of mine. I do think he does a good job. However, we do have higher crime rates for the size of our city than most towns, you know, of about 10,000 plus. The police can only do so much; they can only be in so many places at one time. So, do I agree with everybody up here that we need more police? Sure, we always need more police. I hope to be able to be the mayor that can help provide that. But I don’t want to do it with a tax increase or anything like that because we can’t keep going to the same people asking for more and more. I think we all want Milford to be a safer town. I think the drug epidemic is certainly in Milford. And I’d like to be able to walk through downtown Milford during the day, and also at night. . . I’m all about making sure the police have everything they need to do their job, but I also think it’s a partnership and the Milford police can’t do it all. They need the state police’s help and federal help. I think we need to reach out to them. Not that we don’t do that already as in some cases, unfortunately, it’s necessary. But, I think that it’s simple: be tougher on the criminals. The police can arrest them, but we put them back out and they do the same thing. So, if you want something done in Milford, . . . I think there’s no reason we can’t take a tougher approach with them.”

Ms. Schofield: “. . . You have a drug probably and a crime problem. Obviously, I’m very good about that and passionate about this. But, right now, the police department building was built in 1979 and meant to support 13 police officers. Right now, we have 32. And, as far as proactive and reactive, he’s only asking for five cops. That’s a catch all, that’s not putting them ahead. We need to have a better facility and I’m with Todd on this. I think they need a new building, I’m not afraid to say it. I think we need to do something, but I think there’s other avenues we can take without raising taxes. You all know we got screwed over that school tax and we kind of don’t want to see or hear the word taxes. I really do believe we can go somewhere else and get this stuff done. I do believe that right now, the police are being reactive, and I think actually more police than five and maybe we can get some bilingual officers. But until we have a department that grows before the city grows, we’re going to be in trouble. Drugs, it’s hard for me to knock on doors and have a platform of drugs and crime when people in ward one don’t really care. I don’t want to say don’t care, it’s that they don’t really experience that like the other people in this city does. But, I try to tell them it’s coming. It will come.”

Mr. La Prade: “How do you perceive the current economic climate in Milford? As an elected official, what strategies do you support to maintaining and improving the current momentum? What do you think is the greatest need for workforce development?”

Mr. Campbell: “Economic development is actually on the horizon right now in Milford. We have Bayhealth. . . We have Nationwide. We also have the DMI organization that’s downtown. [They] get 20 percent grants, that allows them to start things as an entrepreneur. DMI has been a major factor in building businesses downtown. They’re getting grants and they’re trying to bring . . . what downtown used to be I guess. We have smaller companies like LifeCycle which is a bicycle company. Red Bandana. . . Arena’s, of course, everybody knows, we either go there for lunch or dinner. And some of the larger companies have invested into the city of Milford. Seawatch put on a nightshift, Perdue has purchased 70,000 square feet of space for organic chickens. . . If you think about Bayhealth, Nemours and Nationwide, they have invested millions of millions of dollars into our community. Plus, they’re also going to add 200 jobs in the area, so we need to continue what we’re doing. We need to talk and help support these larger companies that are coming in. . .”

Mr. Culotta: “This is the single most important thing we’re going to talk about tonight. Economic development, income growth, job creation, it’s everything we’re talking about tonight; it makes it better. It’s important. I do believe Milford’s in process, there’s no question about that. There’s the new hospital, that’s a great addition, but that’s not where everything is. That’s $315 million investment. We’re developing a whole medical campus out there. Schools, research developments, specialists and things like that. We’re talking over a billion dollars of investments over the next few years. I think that’s very possible. . . So, with that type of thing, Milford is really ripe for growth like we’ve never seen before, never seen in my lifetime anyway. Health care is big, that’s going to be across the economy. Manufacturing. There’s opportunity to grow here. And then retirees, they want services, they want medical services and they want restaurants and things to go to, all that can happen when there’s demand. Demand happens when they move here. We have the space, we have the location, we have the proximity to the beach, we have a lot of wonderful things. It could really take off very soon. That’s why this election is really critical because we can really be successful, or we can really hold things up. That’s why I want to be mayor to be able to work with the city and make that process quick and easy, much easier.”

Ms. Schofield: “There’s a majority of people who are afraid of growth. I knock on doors and people are saying, ‘This isn’t the city. This isn’t what I wanted.’ I think they picture these skyrises and I don’t want Milford to grow that way either. But, I do think that I don’t want to lose the charm that Milford has and if we can build multi-economy of small, medium and large business, I think we’ll see… I mean we can build this, but are people going to stop or are they going to keep on going to Lewes? How about some big signs? That say, hey, welcome to Milford. Stop in, we have this. Or just have nice scenery. If we had that everytime people came through Milford, people could stop or … specialty stops, as well as the hospital that’s opening. That’s 300 jobs right there. And the other thing is the large business. Again, I still kind of want to keep that charm. But, economically, we have to grow and I just don’t want people to be afraid that it’s going to be where you’re not going to be able to see out your windows.”

Mr. Boyle: “Obviously, jobs is the most important thing. Without that, you can’t grow. . . income. We’re going to have a hard time supporting the industry to come. Obviously, you want to attract a company that is large enough to come in and provide opportunities for younger citizens, opportunities to grow and opportunities to be able to stay here, have opportunities to raise a family here in the environment you’d like. The down factor, the hard factor is that every town in southern Delaware is trying to do the same thing. The city isn’t sitting back just kind of letting the town. . . there are strategic plans and comprehensive plans that they are using to move forward and figure out how to do this. One of the things we have in this part of the state is regarding our position and our location to transportation and access to transportation. Land is money. So, we attract big companies to move here. Our taxes are relatively low and that’s another thing. The thing we need to avoid is to kind of throw the ordinances out as we’ve seen in the past and take a balanced and managed approach and the next guy through the door, this is how we manage a city. We had ideas of how we want to grow, we had ideas of how we want to focus our growth. Growth areas, is like, in a city, is basically, I’m in the first ward, we need to make sure their processes are clear, . . . apply these processes fair and equitably, we work with investors who want to come in and build something or those who are already here and want to stay. We want to also leverage, but sound fiscal management practices is what the city needs to grow and to maintain development of a strong economic base.”

Mr. La Prade: “How do you perceive the current financial health of the city of Milford? As the economy grows, there will inevitably be more demand for municipal services and infrastructure. Neither are free. So, how would you meet these needs?”

Mr. Culotta: “I think you’ll find tonight through a lot of the questions I answered… investment in the community is going to solve a lot of our problems, and we’re running for that. So that’s how I see financing the city needs. We have a $42M budget, right around there. The average income in Milford is $50,000 a year. That’s not much. That’s $10,000 less than the national average. So, again, I don’t like taxes, nobody does. I think we all know they’re a necessary evil. But, I don’t want that to be our first choice for increasing revenues for accommodating the city’s needs. I think outside investment, whether it’s big companies, small companies, housing developments, whatever it’s going to be. I think it’s going to allow us to finance the city’s requirements. Things like more police officers, improving roads, improving sidewalks, all that stuff can be solved by these companies coming in. Because they require infrastructure, okay? And they’re going to step up and make it available to themselves by partnering with the city. So, I’m really, that’s my driving force here and that’s really behind everything I’m going to talk about here tonight is investment in our community. Business investments.”

Ms. Schofield: “I really don’t want to take loans. I don’t want to start out that way. I think we can get some federal loans or things. Maybe there’s some rich people out there or maybe Oprah can help. But, I just don’t like to start broke and then be behind. There has to be something we can do to not really have to take loans. Because again, I don’t really want to do taxes. And, I know, it’s like you said, a necessary evil.”

Mr. Boyle: “We’re on the verge on some dynamic growth. . . We need to engage with investors who will assist in planning process. We need to walk through with these people and show them that we are committed to sustaining growth and working to make this a better community. We need to explore some public private partnerships and establish some economic development zones where companies can come in and experiment with ideas of how to grow, products that bring manufacturing. We’re not going to get fortune 500 companies. . . It is that for a lot of reasons, part of the problem is because we’re rural. But we need other partners, smaller companies, that come and do work, something like the telephone centers or something like that. There will be ancillary services related to the hospital. . . Because we are attracting an entire system and attracting how to support the operations. That’s another one. Developments: I don’t want to raise taxes any more than anybody else does, but we need to require developments to do the impact fees to help pay for infrastructure expenses and expansions and we need to support them. We have to work for those who want to come here, we need to encourage them, we need to see that they succeed. If they don’t succeed, we don’t succeed. More importantly, we need to be very open in looking into the future, realize things have got to change and hopefully they’re going to change for the better.”

Mr. Campbell: “When we’re talking about financial stability and I hate the be the bearer of bad news. We were having a council meeting and I asked the question what do we have for taxes? I was in shock that we have people in Milford who have not paid taxes in ten to 15 years. The actual number is five-hundred-and-five hundred thousand dollars that people have. . . owed the city of Milford. We’re talking five-hundred-and-five hundred thousand dollars. I can’t understand it that people have not paid taxes for ten, 15 years. To me, that’s unbelievable. I will share this story: a friend of mine has real estate. And was asked by Terry, the CEO of Bayhealth, and apparently, she was given five or six individuals to show around the city of Milford, what they like, what they don’t like and after they were doing the tour for two or three days, they came back and said the city needs to be cleaned up, it’s dirty. Houses are falling apart. . .  Out of those executives who came down, they went to Magnolia, they went to Milton, they went to Lewes, and that’s where they settled. They said there was no way they were coming to Milford. . . We need to have our code enforcement people to really get on some of the landlords and fix up some of the places. We have one fulltime code enforcement person for Milford for 10,000 people. One. We are in the process of hiring another one. [I see your sign; I just want to finish]. I suggested we go outside and get a third party, of which we have one hired. And that third party is equal to one person. . . I wanted to share that. But I also wanted to share ten to fifteen years of not paying taxes.”

Mr. La Prade: “As an elected official, what role will you take to promote and create a more inclusive community? Please be specific.”

Ms. Schofield: “Well, I guess you want to make everything available to everyone. All walks of life, places, gay, open up Milford to everybody. And that’s all I have. I’m not a politician.”

Mr. Boyle: “I think you have to talk about some things that are happening. Overall, the story is good in this town, it really is. . . We’re not in that bad of shape financially. So, to be more inclusive, I think we need to get that story out there to get the people in the town. And I’m going to poke at you guys a little bit, we need more coverage. I don’t see any longer the town council meetings. I don’t see that showing what’s going on. . . In going around, I didn’t see many people registered to vote. We need to do something about that. This is the first place I’ve lived, and I’ve lived in seven, thanks to the military, seven different states, this is the first state I’ve lived in that I had to register separately to vote in the city election. . . They don’t know. We need to get that out and get rid of the requirement or do a voter registration drive. We need to get more people involved. If you’re not voting, if you’re not involved, things happen and you’re unaware of it. . . I was talking to a lot of people who were unaware of it and people will get left out. The other thing is, and I’m really impressed with having the forum. I’d like to see this before every election.”

Mr. Campbell: “An inclusive community, to me, means we have one Milford. We should learn from the people that live here. We should take lessons from the people that live here. It’s not us and them. It should go away. I agree with Mr. Boyle, Mike, that we need to get out. I mean we have 11,000 people and we only have 2,300 registered voters. That’s sad. . . We need to do away with registering in the city of Milford. Once you get your license and move here. . ., you should be able to vote in any election and we don’t seem to do that. We need to break down that wall of us and them. We need to say we’re all from Milford and we should all be proud of Milford. So, break down. I moved here, I love it here. I’ve been involved for ten years. I think we need to change how we fit… And how we do that I really don’t have an answer because there are some people who are set in their ways. But, I look out in the audience and I see many, many people that have moved here like I did and we still don’t understand . . . and I think that needs to be put aside. We need to register to vote once we sign in to the state and not have a specific election and you have to [register to vote] in the city. I don’t know where that came from and I understand there’s only five or six municipalities in Sussex County that still do that. . .”

Mr. Culotta: “We have a very diverse community now. And any body, when you ride through Milford whether you go out to Rt. 1. or downtown or down by SeaWatch and Rehoboth Boulevard, we have a very diverse community now. . . I really enjoy it. Again, that’s my economic end. More jobs will create opportunities for everyone. A business doesn’t really care what race, creed, color, background or orientation you are. Businesses care what you can contribute, the solution you can provide, the attitude you can bring. And there’s opportunities for those folks that want to work hard. So, that, in and of itself will create a lot of inclusivity. And I look forward to leading the charge to develop the business community that would require and need people to come fill those jobs and provide those products and services and medical things and stuff like that. So, to create an inclusive community, what can we as a city then do to prepare those people for those jobs? We’re kind of outside training for those private/public with the schooling. . . We can prepare to work with the schools to say it’s okay if you don’t want to go to college, to a four-year school. . . Maybe you want to go to a program that teaches you how to be a plumber or an electrician or a radiologist or something like that. That’s important. That’s what creates inclusivity and as long as we can create those programs, anybody that wants to participate can participate. But, I know we should make our elections align with other elections and registration become when you move to Milford and get a license that says you’re from Milford on it.”

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