Dover's city council held its annual meeting Monday, May 13
Pomp and circumstance was the order of the evening as Dover's city council held its annual meeting Monday night, May 13.
The council meets twice each month. The first meeting of May is considered its annual session, where its members are administered the oath of office and officers are selected.
Under the city charter, the mayor presides.
The evening's agenda saw Mayor Robin Christiansen taking his oath of office for another term, followed by councilmen Matt Lindell, Scott Cole, and Roy Sudler. Each ran for unopposed for reelection.
The newest member, Ralph Taylor, was sworn in; Taylor, a former city police officer, bested three other candidates in April's election to take over in the Second District.
Councilman William Hare is council president for the next 12 months, succeeding Councilman-at-Large Tim Slavin. Hare was the only person nominated for the position and was unanimously elected.
Slavin said afterward he had stepped down as a way of giving someone else the opportunity to bring new ideas to the job.
Under the city charter, president of the city council is Dover's vice mayor.
In his annual State of the City address, Christiansen noted Dover has made strides toward improving its economy through partnerships with local colleges and universities, Kent County Levy Court and the state of Delaware.
He also noted efforts to house the homeless and provide them with employment and educational opportunities.
Christiansen also announced he will be asking the council to make changes in the law to allow the city to move quickly against landowners who allow their properties to deteriorate and become eyesores and safety hazards.
It takes the city much too long to address these problems under current regulations, the mayor said.
"I am asking for changes in the laws that appear to make the city complacent with blight and its impact on property values across our great city," Christiansen said. "I am asking council to put more teeth in those regulations and ordinances, to streamline and expedite that process."
Instead of the process taking months, Christiansen wants to see it reduced to a few days.
"I am asking that we hold private owners, banks and mortgage companies accountable for the condition of their holdings," he said.