Posted Mar 13, 2017 at 2:34 PM
Kent County Levy Court District 2 residents will go to the polls Tuesday, March 21 to elect a replacement for former district Commissioner Bradley S. Eaby.
Voters will choose between Republican James E. Hosfelt Jr. and Democrat Andrea Kreiner to complete Eaby’s term, which expires in January 2019.
Eaby resigned his seat Dec. 27 to take a position in Gov. John Carney’s administration.
The Dover Post asked both candidates to complete a short questionnaire to give voters additional information about each.
James E. Hosfelt Jr.
Why did you decide to run for Levy Court?
It’s about service, service to our community. This is what I know, it is what I like to do and this is how I was raised. It started with the US Air Force, continued with the Dover Police Department and presently with my service on Dover city council. This is what my family knows best. My wife is a school teacher, our daughter is a nurse and our son serves our country with the Air Force. I see Levy Court as a great opportunity to continue serving, just to a larger constituent base.
What do you consider Kent County’s biggest concern right now?
Aside from the budget crisis that the state of Delaware is looking to make the responsibility of the three counties, the aging infrastructure is a real concern and one that could prove to be costly. Kent County has approximately 400 miles of wastewater transmission lines that are supported by 95 pump stations and some of this infrastructure is nearly 50 years old with no asset management plan in place. The Public Works Department is developing a “Pipeline Condition Assessment” program and as commissioners we need to support initiatives like this so we can prevent major failures. The recent break to a main transmission line that resulted in several hundred thousand gallons of wastewater spilling into the St. Jones River is a perfect example of the problems that can occur with aging infrastructure if not maintained properly.
The proposed state budget recommends counties fully fund their paramedic services and changes how the state shares real estate tax proceeds, which could cost Kent County 2.2 million. How should the county address this possibility?
If the state continues down this path, the cost to the county could be closer to $3.1 million. If the county is forced to assume the state’s 30 percent share of the paramedic program, this equates to $1.5 million and becomes an unfunded mandate by the state of Delaware. Additionally, recent conversations indicate state government is more likely to keep the real estate transfer tax at 3 percent. However, instead of splitting that money equally with the county they may take 2 percent, leaving us, the county taxpayer, with an additional 1.6 million dollar deficit.
As a result, Kent County Levy Court will need to explore cost cutting measures, but quite honestly this cannot be done at the expense of public safety. We also need to look closely at reserve funds and explore what portion of these reserves can be used to offset some or all of this cost. And lastly, streamline processes at the county level to encourage more economic development. I am hearing from businesses and farmers that they become frustrated with the lack of a streamlined process which encourages them to give up on plans.
Why should Second District residents vote for you?
I have always been available to meet with constituents to discuss their concerns and find the solution that best serves all parties. The Second District is a growing and developing district, with commercial businesses, family neighborhoods and an important farm industry. Continued growth is a good thing and something we should encourage by reducing unnecessary regulations. As your Second District Levy Court commissioner, I will remain committed to providing a safe, attractive and an affordable environment for everyone to succeed.