Rebuilding our Infrastructure, Transportation Systems:
Restoring aging infrastructure, repairing our transportation system and developing new delivery systems to meet growth is critical to the future of the 36th District. Through my work as the Mayor of Milford and owner of two small businesses, I understand the challenges that arise to the public and local economy when systems are outdated. As your State Representative, I will work tirelessly to update our major infrastructure and transportation systems throughout the district to ensure safety and prepare for growth.
Ensuring Clean Water
Clean water is a necessary part of life. Everyone should have clean water, and as your State Representative, I will work tirelessly to see that any water issues in the 36th district are resolved.
As Mayor, I worked with other stakeholders to improve Milford’s infrastructure to supply clean water to over 10,000 residents. Understanding that aging infrastructure and proposed growth were both challenges to the water and sewer systems, our team developed a plan to rebuild and rehabilitate the existing wells, treatment facilities and water towers, and used allocated reserves to build new pump stations and a water tower in the projected growth areas. In addition, we helped create a new ‘smart grid’ that allows the City to proactively monitor water quality and quantity daily. We built a financial plan that ensures that new growth pays for future demands they place on the system, and we facilitated a new semi-annual flushing program of the entire system.
The growing challenges with our water supply in the rural areas of the 36th District are not due to underfunded agencies, but simply that DNREC has not done its job to protect the residents of Sussex County. DNREC has a $100 million+ annual budget, more than $60 million a year for the Environmental Protection Department and millions just for water protection alone, but the agency has failed to perform its core mission: environmental protection. Only after residents and the media took a stand for the protection of their own water sources did the agency begin to move forward on its responsibilities as an oversight agency. This is wrong, and I will strive to see that it is corrected.
I have a record as the Mayor of Milford of ensuring that residents are protected when there is a threat to their safety or quality of life. Our team took on the challenge of unsafe and hazardous rental properties in our town and created a system to enforce the laws that are in the City Municipal Code, without raising taxes. Working alongside community members, landlords and renters, our city has seen major investments in the safety and quality of our housing stock through the work of the planning department, private investment and grant programs. I will bring the same approach to the water issue in Sussex County.
As your State Representative, I will be a voice for our community to demand clean water and ensure that DNREC enforces the laws that are in place. When people violate the laws protecting our water supply, they need to be held accountable. I will hold DNREC accountable to the residents of the 36th District and work with all stakeholders to develop a plan for future water protection as development and growth continue.
Rehabilitating our Roads
Over the last four years, the City of Milford and its state and federal partners have met large infrastructure challenges — including Airport Road, the Route 1 & 14 overpass and the 113 railroad crossing. Prioritizing the rehabilitation of city-owned roads, the City of Milford finalized a 5-year Capital Improvement Plan that will be used to meet growing transportation needs. This strategy created a construction timetable for roadways based on their structural condition while taking political decisions out of the process. Ever conscious of our responsibility to taxpayers, we practiced fiscal prudence through resourcefulness, strategically planning across departments in coordination with planned repair or replacement of underground water, wastewater or stormwater lines. This effort will save the City time and the taxpayers money as the same roads will not be ripped up multiple times to address different concerns.
As we take a look at major infrastructure improvements in our District we must ensure that they meet the needs of the local community. As Mayor, I worked closely with DELDOT to guarantee that the overpass at Route 14 and 1, which is slated to be complete in 2019, serves local needs in several ways. A connector road behind Royal Farms is part of the project that will allow safe passage for high school students and staff as it takes away the dangerous crossing on NE 10th Street that has seen several fatal crashes. The main roadway connects with NE Front Street, which will drive traffic into the downtown area to support small, local businesses. In partnership with DELDOT, the City also conceived of a creative branding opportunity on the overpass wing walls that signifies to travelers that this is more than an exit off a busy highway, it is an entrance to a unique and special place.
As your State Representative, I will use the knowledge and partnerships I have made as Mayor to help rehabilitate our aging transportation system. During our campaign, I have already connected two neighborhoods in the 36th District, one in Milton and one in Ellendale, with state funding resources to help repair local roads. I will continue to work with local municipalities, neighborhoods, and individuals to identify challenges and help develop a plan that best fits the needs of the local communities. I know how the system works, and I will be prepared on Day One to serve the people of the 36th.
Update Planning and Technology
In addition to focusing on physical components, the networks our infrastructure systems rely on must be updated. Under my term as the Mayor of Milford, the municipality developed a citywide GIS system and began the development of parcel and infrastructure databases to be used in the city planning decision-making processes. The implementation of a utility ‘smart grid’ allows the City to monitor, in real time, public utility services to businesses and residents and be proactive in preventive maintenance and management. This new technology also allows residents to monitor their own utilities and become a part of the solution to ensure quality services.
As State Representative I will connect local municipalities and residents with opportunities to enhance planning efforts and technology that drives our infrastructure system forward.
Infrastructure upgrades are wise investments of tax dollars, in terms of safety, quality of life and economic development. The top priority – always – is the health and safety of our neighbors here in the 36th. But properly planned and executed, these investments also help create jobs well into the future. I participated in many infrastructure projects as Mayor, which has given me a unique look at both the “big picture” and the intricate details. I will be ready on Day One to drive more infrastructure investment into the 36th District, connect our neighbors with the agency resources to help alleviate their concerns, and fix the growing water problem in the rural areas of the district. I have the experience to make things happen, and I look forward to using that experience to help the people of the 36th District.