The 2014 Rehoboth Beach mayoral election could be a rematch, and the issue at the center of the campaign is shaping up to be the proposed $15 million city hall project.
Businessman Tom McGlone filed to run for mayor in the Saturday, Aug. 9 Rehoboth municipal election, his second attempt to unseat eight-term incumbent Sam Cooper.
McGlone came up 182 votes short in the 2011 race, which Cooper won in a 665-483 vote.
McGlone is still developing his platform, with input from a 10-person committee of residents and business owners. One issue he plans to focus on is opposing the proposed new City Hall complex in its current form.
He said he opposes spending $15 million on top of the $30 million in loans that will need to be repaid for the ocean outfall project. McGlone said that much debt could possibly double some residents' property taxes.
"The citizens need input on the priority of how tax dollars are spent," he said. "I would immediately do a survey of our residents with a list of capital improvement projects. This would allow city government to prioritize expenditures based on what property owners really find important."
McGlone said he opposes the concept of the new building.
"The plan for the new city hall ignores an outdated Convention Center and ignores the long-term problem of parking. The convention center and a potential hybrid parking/office facility would generate revenue for the city vs. a pure city hall that is purely a project that generates more expense," he said.
McGlone said he also supports term limits for the mayor and commissioners.
“I learned many things three years ago when I ran for mayor,” McGlone said. “After receiving 42 percent of the vote, I am convinced more than ever that Rehoboth Beach needs a leader. It is time to change from caretaker mode to the mode of working with city commissioners to develop a future vision for Rehoboth Beach while preserving its small town charm.”
A graduate of Drexel University with an MBA degree from George Washington University, McGlone is the owner of Lewes-based financial advisors Heirloom Wealth Advisors. He has served with the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society and on the board of the Rehoboth Art League.
McGlone has been attending city meetings in the run up to filing. He said the meetings cover lots of items that affect the city on a day-to-day basis, but they are too long and few citizens attend. He said many citizens who do not live in Rehoboth full-time would like to have online streaming of city meetings.
“The mayor is the leader of the commissioners. The commissioners need a strong leader who can work with the commissioners to develop a future vision for Rehoboth Beach,” he said.
Cooper has not yet filed to run for a ninth term, but he said he plans to run again. Cooper has held the mayor's seat since 1990.
Also up for reelection are incumbent commissioners Lorraine Zellers and Mark Hunker. The deadline for candidates to file is noon, Saturday, June 7. Voters have until Friday, June 13 to register.