Saturday, June 25, 2011

Our community can no longer depend on some big business rescuing us. I have nothing against big businesses, but micro and small businesses are the future of the American economy just as much as the large businesses. This is why I will work to make sure our local businesses including minority and women owned businesses are given a fair shot at knowing about city contracts bids.
Sadly many new businesses fail very quickly. Why they do not know what resources are available to help them with mentorship, business plans, financing, marketing plans, and expertise to move them through the maze of government regulations.
You do not need to fail. You can succeed. Call the Small Business Development Center before you do anything that you will regret. Whether you are planning a start up or wish to fix your existing business, they can help or 678-1555.
I also encourage you to go to the Kent County Open for Business event at Levy Court near Target on the First Thursday of each month. 8 to 10 AM. "Kent County is Open for Business" is a series of FREE business development sessions . For more information, please call 302-734-7513 or email
The Delmarva Black Chamber of Commerce is another resource. 302-8600. You will want to avail yourself of the networking opportunities available.


I am pleased to report that we are not raising your utility rates, taxes, or fees nor are we going to lay off city employees. We started with a 3.6 million dollar deficit. There were proposals to lay off 1/7 of our police force, slash almost a 1/11 of our workforce without regard to current levels of service and population increase. Another alternative relied on huge tax increases and fee hikes. The third alternative was more aimed at papering over the problems. Under new leadership in the city administration, there has been a new approach which will give us time to make long term changes.
The budget will be voted upon in our next meeting on the 27th.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve you. Together we will restore our city to being a model for the state.
The top priority has to be helping Dover to be open for business. I am working on several areas which will contribute to more jobs and a better business environment. There are many areas to address. First, the cost of power and new dependable sources of
power. Keeping the fuel adjustment cut in the electric rates is important for the average citizen and the job creators, Second ,we need to find new ways for small business to prosper. That is why I brought an export initiative to the attention of our great economic development office. Third, we need to make sure our city looks vibrant and open for business not filled with empty stores large and small. That is why I am supporting a tax abatement program to give credits to fill empty box stores and other initiatives for downtown. We need to keep taxes low for resident and business alike. Fourth, we need to feel secure so bringing our community police units back is a tip budget priority. Fifth, we need to streamline our permit and zoning process so that we do not have unnecessary delays in building a new business. Our planning department proposed a terrific update to our regulations.. It is elegant and efficient. It will help us become the place for business in the long run.
All of this has happened in less than two months. I look forward to much more.

You can see regular updates from meeting with seniors, to investigating the homeless problem, to attending job summits, to victories in replacing basketball courts in Capital Green to the budget hearings. It is all on Facebook. I have a public page on Facebook. Please “like” my page.!/DavidAndersonforCouncil
It gives me one more way to communicate to you and hear FROM you. I cannot succeed without the community. I am only one person. With your support and prayers, I will not fail.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I am pleased that free market and fiscal restraint has taken hold in the Capital city. We are closing a 3.6 million dollar shortfall without layoffs, tax increases, or utility rate increases. We have reduced the amount taken from the electric fund and are giving back money in the fuel adjustment as scheduled.

I am honored to be part of some important committees right in the middle of the struggle to improve our future. Legislative and finance, Parks. Recreation, and Community Enhancement (which includes the federal block grants), and tonight the mayor appointed me to be a director of the Downtown Dover Development Partnership. I also chair the Construction appeals board.

Tonight we advanced some important items. We advanced some pro-growth development ideas. One was to reclaim empty box stores and keep the ones we have with an abatement program which gives tax abatement to improvements or new leases which create long term jobs.

Another which just pleases me to no end is a streamlining of the zoning and permitting process. The only disagreement I had with the final product worth talking about is a reduction of the notification of neighboring property owners in the staff proposal from 300 feet back to 200 feet. I think in the long run, more information builds consensus and it was a small trade off for automatic approvals if the historic commission did not respond in 45 days and extending the time that approvals are valid, and many other provisions. Our zoning process has been killing jobs and now we have a chance. Ann Marie Townsend is my new favorite bureaucrat. My favorites are changing daily because so many of the staff are stepping up. In reality, I have too many favorites to name but here is a start, Donna Mitchell, Bill Neaton, Traci McDowell and of course our new interim city manager, Scott Koenig. I look forward to working with Zak Carter as well.

We are off to a positive start.

There are still tough decisions. There were no raises in the budget except the ones for two unions contractually obligated. Non union employees received no raises. The Police are negotiating for raises this year, but I am not optimistic there is any money for that beyond the generous step raises in their contract. Tonight, we began the discussion about getting the other than pension post retirement benefits under control (OPED). I believe very strongly that we need to stop paying for Medicare Part B coverage. Current retirees do not need to worry. I think there would only be two votes to open that discussion up. It is a non issue. The question is should we continue to pay the premium for non-union future retirees? The unions gave that up and new employees do not get it. It is a two tier retirement arrangement that is patently unfair on its face as well as ever increasing in cost. When I look at proposed changes in Medicare, I get the feeling that premiums will go up an unknown amount and the city giving a blank check to pay whatever to a program that you have no control over is insane. The military doesn't do it. The state doesn't do it. The counties don't do it. The federal retirement program doesn't do it. Even Dover unionized employees do not have this benefit. It was an interesting experiment, but it has proven itself to be problematic. We need to cut our losses and focus on putting money aside to actually fund our future employee retirement benefits in the out years. That is my view. It may have gotten jeering from the employee peanut gallery, but in the long run it is best for both the taxpayers and employees.

We also approved in legislative and finance committee a review of the employee health benefits. Kent County pays less than we do per employee. We may be able to provide the level of benefits we desire to give our employees at a lower cost. We may need to pull out of the state system. We are actually subsidizing state employee's benefits because we do not get any refunds when the costs are actually lower than projected. The money once given to the state stays with the state. I would personally like to avoid degrading the benefit package. We need to find more cost effective ways to provide those benefits. The employees deserve our support, but so do the taxpayers who are often forgotten.

Tax and rate payers, you are forgotten no more.

Councilman David Anderson