After nearly a decade on the job, Commissioner Patrick Gossett has announced he will not be seeking re-election when Rehoboth holds its annual election later this summer.
Gossett has served as a city commissioner for nine years, and consecutively since 2012. He also served on the planning commission for nine years. He said it was someone else's turn to be at the commissioners' table.
"I think we have accomplished a great deal in those 18 years, preserving what is best in our city while providing for sensible growth," said Gossett in a prepared statement May 31. "Perhaps our greatest accomplishment in those years was the hiring of our City Manager Sharon Lynn."
With Gossett's announcement, it appears the election will have two open seats.
Commissioner Jay Lagree is also up for re-election, but in an interview prior to his November 2017 swearing-in, Lagree said he would not seek re-election in 2018. He was appointed after a seat was left vacant when Mayor Paul Kuhns defeated former Mayor Sam Cooper in last year's mayoral race. As of press deadline May 31, he had confirmed his intention not to run.
The two incumbents may not be running, but three candidates have already filed – former Commissioner Pat Coluzzi, and newcomers Gary Glass and Richard Byrne.
Coluzzi, who was previously on the board of commissioners from 2007 to 2013, filed her paperwork May 25.
"I believe I can still make a contribution to the city," Coluzzi said a couple of days after her filing.
Coluzzi said she would like to help the city fine-tune its tree ordinance and transportation infrastructure to increase safety for pedestrians.
Glass, a property owner since 2000 who splits time between Rehoboth and Davidsonville, Md., was the first person to file his paperwork with the city, which he did May 23. He said he's running for office because he wants to examine residential zoning laws to see if they can be adjusted to account for the recent proliferation of large-scale homes being used as mini-hotels.
Glass said he doesn't believe the government is as open as it should be, and he would like to find ways to open the doors for more resident and property owner participation.
"I don't see that happening the way it should," he said.
Glass also said he would like to see the business community pay its fair share of taxes associated with providing services visitors of Rehoboth Beach expect.
"We have to be able to fund certain services for the city's visitors, and the businesses should have to participate," he said.
Filing his paperwork May 30, Byrne is the most recent to announce his candidacy. He said he's running because he would like to keep the city the gem that it is.
"We can't take the quality of life we have here for granted," said Byrne, a property owner since 2002 and full-time resident for the past nine years.
Byrne said he would like to focus on maintaining as small a government as possible, while still providing the services the city needs.
Byrne said he would like to help the city improve its infrastructure, especially its stormwater infrastructure. In light of the recent study showing how polluted the water is after a big storm, this is a critical issue, he said.
"It's not an impossible problem to fix, but it will take intentional actions," he said.
Byrne also said he would like to re-examine the idea of putting a small parking garage in the parking lot of the new city hall. There are pros and cons, he said, but the city has to do a better job of making parking available for the people who want to come in off the highway.
Potential candidates must file at least 10 signed petitions with the city manager's office on or before 4:30 p.m., Monday, June 4.
The registration deadline to vote is Thursday, July 12. The election will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11, in the convention center, 229 Rehoboth Ave. The terms of office are three years for each position. Any qualified voter may request an absentee ballot to vote by filing a written affidavit no later than noon the day before the election, Friday, Aug. 10.
For more information, refer to the city charter, available online at www.cityofrehoboth.com or contact Donna Moore at 302-227-6181, Ext. 108.