Four candidates vying for three spots on Dagsboro council

Election to be held on Saturday, Dec. 7

There are three seats on the line for the Dagsboro Town Council, and four individuals are looking to fill those chairs when the election is held this Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department, located at 28331 Clayton Street. The polls will open for voters at 1 p.m.

Three incumbents currently on the council, including the Mayor Brian Baull and fellow council members Pat Miller and Theresa Ulrich, are joined on the ballot by challenger Jim Thompson.

The Coastal Point sent the same six questions to each candidate, and below are their responses for voters to consider before casting their votes.

 

Brian Baull

 

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. I have been a town councilman since 2013, and selected by my fellow council members to serve as mayor since 2016. I am also the president of the Friends of Prince George’s Chapel, as well as a member of the Dagsboro Cemetery Committee and helped create the Dagsboro Business Alliance.

Q. What impact do you hope to make as mayor/returning town council member?

A. We are in the process of finishing our required update of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, a blueprint for the Town going forward. I hope that in the upcoming two years (and beyond) that we can begin to address some of the ideas and suggestions included in the plan. Some items can be addressed in a timely manner, while others will take some time and planning.

Q. What is/are the biggest challenge(s) Dagsboro faces, and how will you address it/them?

A. One of the big challenges in the future will be to grow the Town’s population/tax base, convincing more people to decide to make Dagsboro their home. We need to make sure this growth is done smartly, and in a way that Town resources can handle the increased growth. Sometime in the near future, a possible annexation of land into the town limits will have to be seriously looked at. We need to continue to look at bringing new businesses into the Town, and also make sure our existing businesses have all the tools they need to remain successful. The issue of recent increased water rates will be addressed again in 2020 when Artesian Water Company comes on board with their new facility on Armory Road, which the Town and neighboring communities will all benefit from.

Q. How do you hope to contribute to the well-being of Dagsboro?

A. I hope to create more ‘signature events’ that residents and visitors can put on their calendars and come back to year after year, such as our annual Christmas Parade and Easter Egg Hunt.

Q. What else should voters know about you before Election Day?

A. I am a life-long resident of Sussex County, and have been proud to call Dagsboro my home and raise my family here since 2006. I have been honored to be a town councilman since 2013 and mayor since 2016. I take the job very seriously, and hope to continue to represent the citizens of Dagsboro for another two years.

Q. Why should voters cast their ballot for you on Saturday, Dec. 7?

A. They should vote for me, and my fellow incumbent council members Pat Miller and Theresa Ulrich, because we have a council that is quite a diverse group that works well together. We have council members who come together to do what is in the best interests of the residents of the Town of Dagsboro, and would like the opportunity to do so for another two years.

 

Patrick Miller

 

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. I have served the residents of Dagsboro for the past five years on the town council in different ways. I was a member of the board that hired our town administrator and also on the board that hired our new chief of police. I believe in serving my community, as evidenced by my service in the U.S. Army for over 30 years. I’ve also served the community with volunteer work with Sussex County’s Habitat for Humanity.

Q. What impact do you hope to make as mayor/returning town council member?

A. I would like to see Dagsboro as a destination instead of a pass-through town. Continuing to approve new businesses and assist them coming to our town will encourage people to look at us that way.

Q. What is/are the biggest challenge(s) Dagsboro faces, and how will you address it/them?

A. The town budget is one of our biggest challenges. The best we can do is listen, research and make well-thought-out decisions.

Q. How do you hope to contribute to the well-being of Dagsboro?

A. I feel I contribute in many ways, on the town council, as a resident, as a business owner, and as a member of the Dagsboro Business Alliance. Having this many faces in the town of Dagsboro allows me to get to know my fellow neighbors and business owners on many levels.

Q. What else should voters know about you before Election Day?

A. I have lived here in town for 12 years this month. Though I consider myself to be a “transplant,” I’ve really enjoyed my time here. My family and I own and operate Dagsboro Days right here on Main Street. [Retired Police] Chief Toomey and I served in the same National Guard unit out of Salisbury.

Q. Why should voters cast their ballot for you on Saturday, Dec. 7?

A. I have always tried to be truthful and upfront with all the town residents. I have developed many friendships in my short time here and would like to continue serving my community as a member of the town council.

 

Jim Thompson

 

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. I have 50 years’ experience in middle management and senior management for businesses big and small, public and private. I ran a unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce with supervisory responsibility for more than 1,000 subordinates. I have also operated two businesses of my own including one right now — Oxley’s Extra Company, based right here in Sussex County.

I am a U.S. Army veteran with a service-connected disability awarded in 1968. I hold a U.S. patent based on principles first written about by Sir Isaac Newton in the 1600s. I have run for office before — County Council in Harford County, Md. — in a district where Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 2 to 1. My wife and I have owned 10 homes in five different states, and I have often been elected to lead several homeowners’ associations over the years. My entire family — two brothers, father, grandfather and even my great-grandfather (in the 1890s) have all been elected many times to several offices — politics is in my blood.

Q. What impact do you hope to make as mayor/returning town council member?

A. In the five years my wife and I have owned a home in Dagsboro, I can’t think of hardly any progress having been made in Dagsboro. The same four or five people now on the town council have been there most of that time. Nothing positive ever gets done. Even worse, the current council made a huge blunder last year by removing the 3,000 gallons of water per month that used to be included in the base rate. That raised everybody’s water bill by $12.45 per month. This year, when the rates were raised again, this council had an opportunity to remedy the problem, but totally ignored a proposal submitted by me (the Thompson Plan) that would have reduced water bills for residential and small-business customers and would have made high-volume commercial and industrial users finally pay their “fair share.”

Q. What is/are the biggest challenge(s) Dagsboro faces, and how will you address it/them?

A. For the last four years I’ve traveled around Sussex County and surrounding Maryland counties in my business, and I have yet to hear a single positive opinion of Dagsboro — not one. Many folks think Dagsboro is a “dump” or “dumpy” — their words, not mine. One even referred to Dagsboro as “the armpit of Sussex County.” Hurtful words, for sure, especially since I have Dagsboro, DE, on my business cards and printed on my labels. They cite the vacant land, unoccupied buildings, run-down appearance of other properties, and the general state of disrepair of streets/sidewalks, etc.

Additionally, I’ve spoken with numerous people who just drive through Dagsboro and see it as nothing but a nuisance and/or a speed trap. Fixing these issues will require a fresh new approach to how Dagsboro presents itself to the outside world. I have a plan to breathe new life into Dagsboro, starting with providing municipal parking area(s), as almost every other town around us does.

Q. How do you hope to contribute to the well-being of Dagsboro?

A. Bringing new “business” to Dagsboro hasn’t happened in decades — I don’t think there has been any new commercial buildings built in this century. And it probably isn’t going to work now. Bringing needed community services to the town — doctor, dentist, lawyer, real estate and accounting offices, and a new government-services building housing a new town hall, police department and maybe even a new post office would give Dagsboro a new revitalized look and feel. Then there could be a nursing home, assisted living facility, a family pharmacy — I could go on. These improvements could make Dagsboro stand out, for the simple reason it is not just another commercial venue (a “three-ring circus”) like many other towns in the area.

Q. What else should voters know about you before Election Day?

A. I have a “vision” for a new Dagsboro focused on something no other town in Delaware or on the Eastern Shore of Maryland or Virginia has — the Delaware Botanical Gardens. The opportunities for the Town of Dagsboro are almost endless, but you have to have people with vision to pull it off.

Q. Why should voters cast their ballot for you on Saturday, Dec. 7?

A. None of the above will ever come to pass if the same people keep getting elected and re-elected year after year after year. The incumbents have had many chances to make Dagsboro a better place, but they have failed us all. With my proven leadership skills, I believe I can spearhead an effort to make Dagsboro a nicer place where people actually want to come home to and get away from the commercial activity all around us.

 

Theresa Ulrich

 

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. I have been on the town council for six years. I have lived in Dagsboro for 30 years and have worked for a local builder for 21 years. Those who know me know that I am an honest and caring person that only wants what is best for our Town.

Q. What impact do you hope to make as mayor/returning town council member?

A. I hope to encourage new business and positive growth.

Q. What is/are the biggest challenge(s) Dagsboro faces, and how will you address it/them?

A. The water issues with Millsboro have been ongoing, and we hope to change this with Artesian coming in to provide Dagsboro with another source of water.

Q. How do you hope to contribute to the well-being of Dagsboro?

A. By being involved. I encourage others to come out to the town meetings as well, so they know what’s going on within our community.

Q. What else should voters know about you before Election Day?

A. I am not a politician, I just want to work with the Town to see positive things happen.

Q. Why should voters cast their ballot for you on Saturday, Dec. 7?

A. I have the experience and dedication that the Town needs.

 

By Jason Feather
Staff Reporter