Milton Town Council candidate Gwendolyn Jones is challenging incumbents Esthelda Parker Selby and Emory West in an election set for Saturday, March 1.
Jones and Parker Selby answered questions posed by the Cape Gazette in advance of the election.
Incumbent West said he was busy and he didn’t have time to provide answers to the questions.
Gwendolyn Jones, a 12-year resident of Milton, said she is happy with the way council has functioned since Marion Jones – no relation – became mayor last spring.
Jones moved to Milton in 2001 from Annapolis, where she owned a marine technical services business.
Jones, 54, volunteers and is active in Cape Henlopen School District and social and municipal functions.
“I have an eclectic and diverse education and experience. I'm running to provide residents with a choice for a broader, more balanced and representative town council,” Jones said.
She ran unsuccessfully in 2009 for Thurman Adams Jr.’s Senate seat, and in 2012 she ran for the new District 6 seat held by Ernie Lopez.
Jones also ran for Milton Town Council in 2012, but was defeated by Councilwoman Kristin Patterson and John Booros, now vice mayor.
Esthelda Parker Selby, 66, was appointed to fill Marion Jones’ vacated seat. She went to Delaware Segregated School System 196-C, (C stood for Colored) in Milton.
She graduated from William C. Jason Comprehensive High School in Georgetown, received a bachelor’s degree from Delaware State College, now Delaware State University, and a master’s degree from the University of Delaware.
Parker Selby is a retired Cape Henlopen School District teacher and administrator who worked in the district for 34 years.
“My motto for this campaign is Keeping Progress in Motion. My time serving on council has given me a more in-depth view and understanding of the operation and needs to take Milton to the next level in this 21st Century. My experiences and ability to work as a team member will benefit all Miltonians,” Selby Parker said.
Emory West, a lifelong Milton resident, retired from the Department of Transportation, where he worked as a welder and machinist. As a member of the water committee, he has significant input in how the town approaches upgrades to the water system.
He said he looks out for the people’s needs and does what they want.
The town has been examining ways to ameliorate Cannery Village’s flawed street layout to increase public safety. Emergency access to some homes is difficult or limited, and numbered addresses aren’t always logical. How would you recommend fixing the existing situation and prevent similar problems in future developments?
Gwendolyn Jones: “Exploring renumbering and addressing, improving access and using or adapting equipment for use there. Milton needs to keep a tight rein on planners and developers and use all means and measures to bring focused and aggressive action to correct and prevent things like these in the future.”
Esthelda Parker Selby: “The Cannery Village flaws have been a continuous discussion with the Town Council and homeowners way before my tenure, but I have heard and seen enough to understand the frustrations that have been expressed. Not everything is resolved but recently, the signage of the streets and homes has been addressed and there is more to be acted upon. As a Councilwoman and life resident, I am concerned and care about the safety and health of our citizens and I want the best possible solutions for them. This includes many of the items that have been brought to our Council by the Cannery Village residents.”
To continue meeting the town’s ever-increasing water demand, town engineers have recommended alternatives: Improve the existing system; increase the systems’ elevated storage capacity; or interconnect with a water utility provider. Do you support any of these alternatives, and if so why? Do you have alternative suggestions?
Jones: “Interconnecting to handle seasonal peak usage and improving the existing system, which includes permitting private agricultural wells, seems the most responsible and cost-effective way to keep our residents safe and healthy.”
Parker Selby: “Overall, the water situation cannot be looked upon lightly. I have had issues with our water system for years. It is my understanding that the system needs much attention and improvement. We will need to review all options available and, of course, make sure our funds can handle what we need to address. The proposed alternatives are each possible means that could be applicable for consideration. I will definitely look at what will be most reasonable and the best options for Milton’s water system.”
Milton’s downtown area lacks the vitality it had decades ago. Do you have innovative ideas that could rejuvenate and breathe life into the downtown corridor?
Jones: “Milton needs to be more business-friendly, and more customer-friendly. Business fees and taxes need to be reduced and the review and approval process streamlined. Milton police need to stop viewing traffic tickets as a revenue source and present a friendlier view to citizens.”
Parker Selby: “Milton is a beautiful small town that has so much potential. Having lived here since age 5, I’m glad things have changed. There are many exciting things going on now that I believe will lead to more happy and busy times. The town has many talented people who have moved here and along with those who have been here, I believe that together we will move the town forward. Let’s look at the Milton Farmers Market, Music in the Park, festivals, parades, Lions Club, Century Club, Art Guild, Irish Eyes and other great restaurants, WBOC, the ever- popular Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton Historical Society, Milton Chambers, and the list goes on. These are just a sampling of what we have and there are more active groups that are making a difference in our community.”