McGlone's 'New Vision' not very informed

July 31, 2014

Tom McGlone's New Vision bears examination as it demonstrates how little he understands about how the city works. This could be forgiven the first time he ran for mayor with no prior experience, but with three years to learn the tenants of the city charter and still not know the processes, demonstrates that McGlone is not ready to be seriously considered for Mayor. Several examples will demonstrate:

1) The city is run by the city manager with the mayor in passing legislation having only one vote, the same as each commissioner. Historically legislation has often been passed that the mayor does not support. The commission as a whole determines what passes and what does not. To attribute what McGlone views as differing from his “New Vision" to Sam Cooper simply shows his lack of understanding of how the city operates.

2) McGlone states that a recent study demonstrates the feasibility and profitability of a parking structure. This study came as a result of former commissioners (over the objection of the mayor) hiring an architectural firm who designed a parking structure as well as a new City Hall, which was, to be kind, in the opinion of most people a waste of time and money. Numerous other studies going back to the early 1980s consistently showed that a parking garage was not economically feasible as it would be used to capacity only on the three major holiday weekends. The alternative passed by the then-mayor and commissioners was the permit system, which generates significant revenue without the capital expenditure and continuing maintenance cost of a parking garage.

3) With the support of the mayor, 306 Rehoboth Avenue was purchased; without his support a 3,750 square foot building was erected thereon. The building housed the Parking Meter Department and the Information Technology Department necessitating the sending of all the information needed by the various administrative departments of the city from 306 to the current City Hall complex by a land line. The system caused constant outages and was, to say the least, inefficient. The building is a significant underutilization of the commercial property.

4) The recently retired city manager wanted to determine how to bring all operations back to the main City Hall campus as he felt the efficiencies to be gained were enormous. To that end, approximately three years ago, the city manager, Mayor Cooper and the commissioners decided to examine the needs of the city for operating facilities, with the initial focus on how to update the existing structure. EDIS and the city engineer were hired to help with the process. Subsequently, a committee was formed consisting of the mayor and commissioners as well as residents and property owners who are architects and planners, a local developer who was born and raised in the city and whose family owns significant commercial property in the city, as well as those who could evaluate the feasibility of the project from a cost viewpoint.

All of the members of the committee served without compensation. It quickly became apparent that the inefficiencies in the existing buildings combined with the impossibility to retro fit the main campus to meet the current much less future needs, necessitated changing the focus to determining those needs, verifying the opinion of the committee that continuing with the current structure was impractical, and proceeding with the preliminary phases on a new structure to the point it could be presented to the mayor and commissioners at one of their meetings. The completed plan with cost estimates will be presented to the Commission after which the plan will be made available to the residents and business community for their review and comment and when that process is complete, the proposed project if approved by the Commission with cost estimates will be put to a referendum for the voters to approve or disapprove.

Again, McGlone shows his lack of knowledge of how the City operates. The new City Hall is not now and never was a decision to be made by Sam Cooper. Again it is amazing that McGlone does not know the process for approval given that it is his second try for mayor. Additionally, all of the meetings were open to the public and advertised in advance so McGlone has no excuse for not being informed on the process.

5) McGlone’s New Vision contemplates sidewalks in The Pines. The residents have consistently opposed sidewalks for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it would necessitate removal of a significant portion of the tree cover in the area. Again, McGlone shows his lack of understanding of what the community needs.

6) Ocean Outfall - There have been numerous studies over a long period of time investigating the various possibilities for Rehoboth disposing of its partially treated waste water. In addition, there was extensive public study by residents as well as the commission utilizing experienced professionals on the best way to resolve the problem. The decision of the professionals as well as the citizens was that the most effective way to meet the federal mandate given the constraints the city operates under is ocean outfall.

The current proposal from Artesian Water calls for flow that is significantly higher than the annual volume generated during the off season and would be very expensive for the city. In addition, Ocean City, San Diego and many other communities have been using ocean outfall for many years without incident. Also, my understanding is that the ocean is deficient in nitrogen while the land may be reaching a point of containing too much.

Where was McGlone while this process was underway? Why did he not participate?

I served as a commissioner in the late 1980s and have always been impressed at the willingness of citizens to volunteer their time to help the city. Given their compensation, I would place the mayor and commissioners in the volunteer category. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for their service. At the top of that list is Sam Cooper who is totally devoted to the city where he has lived his entire life. When McGlone talks New Vision, I ask what is wrong with Sam’s vision as the town is one of the best run communities due in part to the efforts of Sam Cooper. We need Sam’s leadership to continue. I wholeheartedly support his re-election.

Jim Horty
Rehoboth Beach

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