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Dover Post
  • Dover mayoral candidates speak out on budget issues

  • The five men seeking election as Dover mayor on June 17 were asked the following: What would you suggest the city do to cut spending or raise revenue in order to achieve a balanced budget in the future?
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  • Dover will hold a special election June 17 to select a new mayor.
    City voters will choose between five candidates for the office with the winner to serve out the remainder of former Mayor Carleton E. Carey Sr.’s term, which expires in May 2015.
    Eligible city residents may cast their ballots from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, at the Elks Lodge, located at 200 Saulsbury Road, Dover.
    The new mayor will be sworn in on Wednesday, June 25.
    To learn more of their thoughts on the job, each candidate was asked, “What would you suggest the city do to cut spending or raise revenue in order to achieve a balanced budget in the future?”
    The Dover Post will post the election results on our website, doverpost.com, the night of the election.
     
    NAME: Chevis R. Anderson
     
    Having been a proud and licensed member of the banking and finance industry for over nine years, I’ve gained skills and the necessary experience needed when it comes to budgeting, balancing funds, and educating clients to better financial decisions.
    To cut spending I would review current contracts, billings, and services and adjust them to fit the needs of the city. If adjustments can’t be made, new bids will be sought for the matching services with less of cost to the taxpayer.
    Next steps would be bringing the proof of savings to council, distribute to their district and we make a decision on how to move forward.  
    To raise revenue, I would offer new business startup incentives to small businesses coming to Dover and hiring incentives to large companies incorporating in Dover. I also want make sure our citizens are getting the best customer experience by offering a new business platform on the cityofdover.com website.
    There, consumers can search for licensed local business and service providers in one stop.
     
    NAME: David L. Anderson
     
    The city is not broke; there is plenty of utility money. The city does have a general fund problem. The national economy is stagnant, costing the city $3 million in transfer tax revenue alone. I had two financial experts review our budget. They were actually impressed with the city’s restraint the last three years. Health care cost-sharing was implemented, we are dealing with long term liabilities and we froze the growth of government. 
    The question is what belongs in the general fund?
    The enterprise funds benefit from economic growth more than the general fund. They should contribute to the EDD. I propose an economic development fund be set up funded 40/30/30 by electric, water/sewer/ and general.
    Page 2 of 3 - Save police overtime by assigning a desk bound officer to court duty.
    City residents pay 9/11 tax. Why do we double pay for dispatch? Where is our share of the money?
    Street lights had their own fund, now it is a general fund expense.
    All city employees are going through two years of no wage increases. The first wave getting deserved raises this year should be limited to 2 percent, which is inflation.
     
    NAME: Robin R. Christiansen
     
    As mayor, I would work closely with city council and staff to review the annual expenses of the city.
    At this point in time, the mayor has a limited role in the formation of the annual budget. I would advocate maintaining current levels of service while holding the line on spending, wherever possible.
    Secondly, when the budget and those expenses have been thoroughly reviewed, I again would work closely with council to develop new revenues. I would work to keep the impact of those new revenues to a minimum for the taxpayers and utility users. Just as in the past, the city started their enterprise funds (water, sewer and electric) to supplement the tax base to provide a wide variety of services. We must consider any and all possible creative revenue sources to meet our needs today and in the future. I will work for economic development to bring more jobs and more revenue to our city.
    Finally, we must continue to review the efficiency of our daily operations. This is not by reducing staff or services, but by reviewing our policies and procedures. This would guarantee our taxpayers maximum return for their hard-earned tax dollars while achieving “Community Excellence through Quality Service.”
     
    NAME: R. Jefferson Reed
     
    I believe it will take both spending cuts and revenue raising to get to a balanced budget. 
    It will take a joint effort of all concerned to meet the goal. Cutting spending will help, but that could lead to lesser services for the taxpayers. The City of Dover now provides good services, at a reasonable cost to the tax payer. They should not be penalized for the shortfall of the city. It is time to think out of the box on how to increase revenue. I believe the mayor and council can together find this needed revenue. With my background in business I can be of help to the council in this time of need.
     
    NAME: James P. Webster
     
    Page 3 of 3 - Balancing the city budget is the responsibility of city council, not the mayor’s. After attending a couple of city budget hearings, it is obvious to me the members of city council are pros when it comes to the budget. They are veterans of the process.
    There are certainly major issues to deal with during the budget writing process. The council must contend with unfunded liabilities more or less dumped on their laps by previous members of city council.
    But there is no magic wand to wave to make everything all right. Council will probably need to make cuts, delay raises for employees and increase tax revenues − all unpopular actions. If they can do these things without major negative financial impact on the citizens of the city then it’s a job well done.
    Also, the tax-exempt properties, mostly state-owned, within the city need to increase their payments-in-lieu-of-taxes. It is my understanding that over 30 percent of the properties in the city are tax-exempt and the PILOT monies are insufficient. The problem is the state would have to increase these payments. I don’t think there is much the city can do to compel the state to do so.
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