Although they’re all familiar faces, South Bethany’s town council got a shake-up in the 2018 elections held on Saturday, May 26.
Councilman Tim Saxton defeated incumbent Mayor Patricia “Pat” Voveris, 388-238, to claim the mayor’s seat.
Incumbent Council Members Sue Callaway (484 votes) and Don Boteler (446), and former councilman Wayne Schrader (374) won town council seats, defeating incumbent Councilman Tim Shaw (306).
The four winners will begin their new two-year terms on Saturday, June 2, at 10 a.m.
“I’m already working this week on creating the transition and looking forward to the organizational meeting on Saturday, the whole group of us that were elected getting sworn in, and we’re all getting prepared to hit the ground running,” Saxton said.
This election season, candidates had many spaces to share their vision for South Bethany, having completed multiple candidate questionnaires and attended various candidate forums.
“I think they know where I’m going,” Saxton said with a laugh when asked about his plan of action. “We’ve resolved the renovations to the police department building. As a matter of fact, that’s starting today [May 29]. So that’s moving forward and, hopefully, will be completed in a couple months.”
With a background in business, the former Town treasurer added, “I know I spent a lot of time talking about long-range planning, but it is critical to the Town. We need to understand that costs to some of these long-range projects … [and] present to the public so they can help us prioritize.”
The operating budget “works just fine,” but some of South Bethany have dreams of big projects, including dredging or cleaning up the town’s canals.
Other planning topics for the near future include improving beach access and considering initiatives to improve Cat Hill traffic in the west.
“We are, on council, creating a list a list of people who have expressed interest already, and my goal is to have that position filled … June 11,” Saxton said.
Due to conflicting individuals’ schedules, he said the council might vote to schedule the next regular town council meeting for Monday, June 8.
Council meetings are traditionally held the second Friday and fourth Thursday of each month. But that is determined annually at the organizational meeting.
“I want to make sure people can attend the first few meetings in person, versus having to do it over the phone. I’m trying to be flexible for the June and July meetings,” but the council schedule will be more concrete after that, Saxton said.
Outgoing Mayor Pat Voveris served has served four years as mayor, plus three years as a council member, including time as treasurer. She was hoping to serve her third and final consecutive term as mayor, as permitted by town law.
“I was proud to serve our Town and wish the current administration and South Bethany the best,” Voveris stated after the election.
“Pat did a good job for this town, the four years she was [mayor]. She worked very, very hard,” Saxton said. “I do want to compliment that.”
“Our Town was fortunate to have owners stepping forward to participate and serve,” Voveris added in an email to the Town. “Please support our new Town Council as they work towards continued betterment of South Bethany.”
Town Hall staff could not immediately say how many people voted in the May 26 election, wherein residents and property owners all could cast ballots.
By Laura Walter