Citing a desire to continue the good energy within town council, Dewey Beach Commissioner Gary Persinger has entered the 2022 municipal election, set for Saturday, Sept. 17.
First elected in 2016, Persinger filed to run for his fourth term as a non-resident commissioner July 21; his campaign paperwork was received by the town July 27.
“I enjoy it, and there seems to be such good energy in town, and I want to be part of that,” Persinger said. “There is also good energy within the members of town council. We have adequate opportunities for disagreement and respectful debate, and many times we reach consensus on issues.”
The town had a good year financially, largely from a booming real estate market and transfer tax, as well as the town’s focus on accommodations tax collection, he said, also noting the positive direction of a recently created capital improvements budget and fund.
Six months of operating expenses are reserved in a rainy day fund, Persinger said, and by keeping an eye on finances and living within its means, the town will continue to be in good shape financially.
In addition to tracking town finances responsibly, Persinger said he would like to work with the new climate change committee for a broader understanding of the risks faced by the town and to learn what other coastal towns have done to mitigate risks.
As an example, Persinger said, the town might consider changing the freeboard requirement from 1 foot to 2 feet, or even more.
Some confusion still exists in town code and these inconsistencies need to be addressed, he said. Language in the code is not readily interpretable, he said, and he would like to work with citizens to clarify the code.
Persinger, who has owned property in Dewey Beach for more than 30 years, serves as commissioner liaison to the audit, comprehensive development plan, and climate change committees, and often attends other town committee meetings as well.
Offering citizens the ability to participate in town meetings virtually is a positive, Persinger said, and the town has worked to increase its communication efforts with the creation of a monthly newsletter and regular email correspondence pushed out to property owners.
The town successfully secured a $3 million grant toward the replacement of town hall and the police department, Persinger said, and a possible additional grant may help close the gap, but some debt may need to be incurred to fund the project.
Focusing on making the town attractive will bring more visitors to town, Persinger said, and all restaurants have upped their game in terms of food so there’s no reason to leave town to have a good meal.
“We have the benefit now of a good town manager doing a solid job across the board,” Persinger said. “I’m constantly amazed by what he gets done.”
Town leaders have established qualifications for a new police chief, and the hiring process will be as open and transparent as possible, he said.
“There are lots of opportunities for good things to happen in Dewey Beach,” Persinger said.
In addition to Persinger’s seat, a two-year seat held by Mayor Bill Stevens also expires in September. The candidate filing deadline is Thursday, Aug. 18; as of the Cape Gazette press deadline, only Stevens and Persinger had filed to run.
The voter registration is also Aug. 18, and the election is set for Saturday, Sept. 17. Eligible voters can check the town website to see if they are registered. For more information, including how to vote by absentee ballot, call Dewey Beach Town Hall at 302-227-6363 or go to townofdeweybeach.com/departments/boardofelections.