Milford Chronicle

Ward 2 council candidates share views, prepare for upcoming special election in Milford

Editor’s Note: Milford residents, Todd Culotta and Andrew Fulton, are running for the Ward 2 seat vacated by Jamie Burk who resigned to take a full-time assistant city manager position in Millsboro. The election will take place Thursday, August 23 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at City Hall. For questions or concerns regarding the election, contact the city clerk’s office at 302-422-1111 or visit the Special Election webpage at www.cityofmilford.com/266/Special-Election.


Todd Culotta

What is the biggest concern for Ward 2 residents?           

“Ward 2 is probably the most historic ward in Milford. I think there are many concerns for us that live in this ward, which include much of the downtown area, the old Middle School, and the current hospital that will eventually be a long-term care facility.  Ward 2 also extends all the way down Rt. 113 to include the new Milford Ponds Housing Development. I believe that while we expect and hope to see growth in Milford, Ward 2 will continue to define the look and feel of a small town. I grew up here and over time I have seen some areas decay and in need of improvement, we need to address those areas and improve them. I live downtown and I would like to have a vibrant business district, and a safe walkable neighborhood for all residents to enjoy. Ward 2 is great place to live as well as work, and as a council member I hope to represent my fellow residents of Ward 2 in the matters that the city management and government are involved.”

How will you support the growth and development of Milford? The downtown area?

“I think the most important way to support the growth in Milford is to let business be business. In order to attract investment in new stores, businesses and housing, we will need to work with those investors, developers and small business owners to ensure the process for getting things done in Milford are as easy as possible. I get a great deal of feedback that it is sometimes difficult to get projects moving in Milford, and I would like to represent the city government in attracting new businesses for residents to enjoy. It’s often hard enough to run a business, and we need to do all we can to help business owners be successful in our great city.  I am excited about the future plans that Nationwide has for the existing hospital space and what that can do not only for my Ward, but the city in general. This will be a great boost for our historic downtown, and I am excited be a part of it, and live right in the middle of it. I also want to see the old Middle School used as a school again, and will work with the school district and state to see that something is done.”

How will your past experiences help you as a councilmember?

“I currently run my own business as a general contractor and understand the needs of a small business owner.  I also have experience in working with owners of restaurants and the hurdles they face when trying to open a new establishment. One thing we need downtown is more restaurant and food choices. I know firsthand what will be necessary for that to happen. Prior to moving back to Milford, I had a very successful career in the technology field and know how an organization, or a city government, can use technology to increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs (taxpayer money), and provide an overall better customer service experience for residents.  I am also on the board of the Milford Museum, the Milford Historical Society and am on the planning committee for the Roaring 20’s fundraiser, which in the past has raised money to improve an historic house. I am also a member of the Milford Lions Club.”

What are your hopes for Ward 2?            

“My hope for Ward 2 is that it keeps its charm of which defines Milford, yet improves over time with the proper type of investment that will benefit the residents of our wonderful city.  I want to see the Downtown be as safe and clean as possible and see new and existing business flourish.”

Tell us how the Sidewalk Repair Program and rental inspections impact Ward 2 residents?

“I am getting mostly positive feedback on the rental inspection program.  I do believe there are many rentals that are in need of a great deal of improvement that are not being addressed, while there are others that are not as bad that are being prioritized. I also do not like that there is no definitive list of requirements for property owners to meet in order to have a successful rental. Simply going by a national code for everything related to housing would make just about all houses, including owner occupied, fail an inspection. The city needs to do a better job of making it clear as to what is needed to pass. I also believe much of the rundown housing we can see from the outside can already be addressed by code enforcement doing their job. You would be surprised to see what new exterior paint can do for a property. I would like to see our code enforcement official work with homeowners to guide them on areas of improvement and also refer them to programs that provide grants that might help. I think we all have seen some sidewalks that are in need of repair or replacement. I understand that homeowners are responsible for their sidewalk; however, I don’t believe that the city should be mandating everybody, no matter what level of repair, necessary fix them in 90 days or less or be charged by the city to fix them. That is the heavy hand of government, and I would like to see the absolute worst ones addressed first, and then the ones not as bad addressed later. Many of the worst sidewalks are city owned. How come those aren’t fixed yet?  I want to have a walkable city but we need to work with residents to fix this, not simply mandate they do it.”

Considering the movement in Bayhealth, Nationwide Healthcare Services and other businesses, how do you see Ward 2 shaping up over the course of a two-year councilmember term?

“I am excited for the new Bayhealth facility to open, and for Nationwide to take over the existing hospital and turn it into and long-term care facility. Nationwide has the opportunity to really transform our city, and particularly Ward 2, into a wonderful downtown and overall medical campus. We are seeing a great deal of seniors from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the DC Metro Area, retire here. In order to meet their medical needs, Milford will need to expand those services hopefully attract the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. I really hope they can not only find a career in Ward 2 but also a home. I will work with Nationwide to help where we can.”

What would you like to tell residents of Ward 2 ahead of elections?

“I really love Milford, and not only do I live in Ward 2 close to the downtown, I grew up here, and my family still lives here. Most of you know that I ran for Mayor and while I wasn’t successful I want to continue to do what I can to help Milford grow, while maintaining the charm that is our city. I believe I am the best candidate for what Milford will need in the coming months and years. I hope you will vote for me on August 23rd.”


Andrew Fulton

What is the biggest concern for Ward 2 residents?

“The concerns heard from numerous residents of Ward 2 have had a general theme: infrastructure. The residents I have spoken with were worried about code enforcement, traffic safety (speed and backups), the new sidewalk repair program, the lack of natural gas to neighborhoods, and of course, the future of the closed Milford Middle School. These issues cross many aspects, but the underlying theme is the infrastructure that affects the daily lives of Ward 2 residents.”

How will you support the growth and development of Milford? The downtown area?

“The growth and development of Milford will be in accordance with the strategic plan. This plan was vetted with public discussion and input to provide a direction for the city to follow. Milford is a city that listens to the people to allow fair and equitable development to take place with the goals of increasing jobs, attracting businesses and, of course, taking care of our citizens.  The Downtown area is a fine example of the heartbeat of the city as business development is occurring and code enforcement is taking place. One area in the downtown area that could be looked at is traffic flow and the need for more and improved parking areas.”

How will your past experiences help you as a councilmember?

“I served in the military for 30 years and in that time was responsible for the budgetary and operational needs of numerous aircraft and squadrons. This has taught me how to evaluate the needs of an area, develop plans to meet those needs, and execute the plans to achieve results. Presently, I am on the Planning and Zoning Commission, which has allowed me to take part in the development of the currently published five-year plan. This plan guides the Commission and Council on decisions that need to be made to meet the controlled, yet lucrative, growth that has been foreseen for the future of our town.”

What are your hopes for Ward 2?

“My wish would be that Ward 2 residents have an active part in the decisions made that impact our city. If elected, I plan to institute public meetings to gather input from Ward 2 residents and carry those thoughts forward to the council as a whole. I hope to see the school board come to action on the empty Middle School and for the city to bring engineering answers to the traffic flow and speed issues, provide feedback to constituents on the actual requirements for natural gas to be available on a larger scale, and to have homes that are in disrepair corrected so that property values across Ward 2 can grow.”

Tell us how the Sidewalk Repair Program and rental inspections impact Ward 2 residents?

“The Sidewalk Repair Program is to ensure that our communities are walkable. The program is in compliance with city ordinance 197 (adopted in 2007) and enforces the improvement of sidewalks that have fallen into disrepair. Though the residents who receive these notices are not necessarily excited about having to make the repairs, in the end their hard work will benefit the city at large.

“The initial round of Rental Inspections will take place in 2018 for the Sussex County portion of Ward 2, followed in 2019 for the Kent County side. After that, inspections will take place by ward, with Ward 2 being inspected again in 2021. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure code compliance, protect the health, safety and welfare of residents, and prevent deterioration of the housing stock through proactive enforcement of City ordinances.

“These inspections will enhance our community by providing safer environments and setting a standard for maintaining homes, which in turn will contribute to increased property values.”

Considering the movement in Bayhealth, Nationwide Healthcare Services and other businesses, how do you see Ward 2 shaping up over the course of a two-year councilmember term?

“The movement of Bayhealth Hospital from Ward 2 will immediately have an impact on traffic flow, as current traffic will be rerouted to the new facility. Nationwide Healthcare Services will provide new business that will require services and employees to succeed, and, of course, employees need homes to live in, thus providing an economic gain to Ward 2 and the city in general.  If the current plans of Nationwide continue, we will see training for future staff members taking place and an increased population due to a multi-tiered senior-care facility, as well as services to aid our seniors that currently live independently.”

What would you like to tell residents of Ward 2 ahead of elections?

“I would like the residents of Ward 2 to know that I will not make decisions in a vacuum, I will seek my constituents’ thoughts and opinions. I will balance that input with the current legal limitations of the municipal code. I will be Your Voice and your advocate.”