Improving Milton's water system is on the agenda for Gwendolyn Jones as she begins her candidacy for town council. She is the third candidate to file, seeking to win the seat of either Stell Parker-Selby and Emory West in the Saturday, March 1 election. Both incumbents have also filed for reelection.
Jones, a 12-year resident of Milton, said she threw her name into the hat to give residents a choice. She said she is happy with the way council has been run since Marion Jones – no relation – became mayor last spring, but felt another election cycle should not go without opposition. Councilmen John Collier and Michael Coté ran unopposed in last year and Parker-Selby was appointed to fill Jones' vacated seat.
“With the election of Marion Jones, I see a renaissance in Milton,” she said. “The feel is so much more positive. I see a bright future for Milton. I look forward to providing a choice for residents. If I'm elected, I will certainly do my best to represent.”
Among the issues Jones wants to tackle is the town's water system. Following two failed referendums to borrow money from the state, Jones said, she believes the town needs to look at other alternatives to relieve stress on the town's infrastructure. Allowing private irrigation wells could be one answer. She said the town has not legalized private wells because it will cut into revenue.
“It's for the profit,” she said. “I don't think they can deny it.”
Jones also thinks Milton should research and possibly invest money in upgrading underground piping. Eliminating dead-end lines will only improve the overall system, she said. Minor upgrades to the system are possible without a referendum, she said.
“There are things they can do without going millions of dollars into debt by taking whatever financial resources are available,” she said. “I don't think they want to be laying down new taxes and fees.”
Jones also would like to have a say in how the town issues licenses, particularly for folks who work at home. People whose business requires no more than an internet connection and a telephone should not have to bear the cost burden, she said.
“On top of a state license, I think it onerous,” she said. “I don't think licenses in Milton need to go away per se, but for those that have no impact to the community, it is excessive.”
She is also interested in continuing Milton's economic development and keeping downtown bright and alive.
Jones is employed as a bus driver and trainer for the Cape Henlopen School District. She said it is a difficult job in which she demands respect from students, but also tries to be fair. She moved to Milton in 2001 from Annapolis, where she owned a successful marine technical services business.
As a Libertarian candidate, she made unsuccessful bids for Thurman Adams Jr.'s senate seat in 2009 and the new District 6 seat now held by Ernie Lopez in 2012. Jones also ran for Milton Town Council in 2012, but was defeated by Councilwoman Kristin Patterson and now-Vice Mayor John Booros.
While this election is nonpartisan, she believes her Libertarian approach will work well in Milton.
“The principles of socially liberal and fiscally conservative are still valid,” she said. “I'm a very principled person.”