Dewey’s 2017 municipal election set

Five candidates vie for three seats in Sept. 16 contest
August 18, 2017

Story Location:
New Orleans Street
Dewey Beach, DE 19971
United States

Two incumbents, a longtime property owner, a member of the town’s most influential family and a Dewey political newcomer have filed as candidates for three seats in the 2017 Dewey Beach Municipal Election.

The filing deadline was 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17. The election is set for Saturday, Sept. 16.

Longtime property owner Paul Bauer filed Aug. 14. He has owned a property for 15 years and said he’s been coming to the town for 27 years.

Bauer, 58, said most of his time is spent in Dewey, but his Delaware driver’s license says Wilmington. He works as a business development executive for Staples Commercial & Enterprise Division. He is a member of the Dewey Beach Civic League.

Bauer said lawsuits from personnel issues, bayside flooding and overall infrastructure needs are his top three issues facing the town. If elected, Bauer said his background in coaching and business will benefit town council.

New to town politics is Jill Compello, who filed Aug. 15. She’s been a property owner in Dewey Beach for almost nine years and has been coming to Dewey Beach her whole life. Her permanent residency is Newark.

Compello, a researcher and manager of a research grant at the Center for Research in Education and Social Policy at the University of Delaware, said it is time for fresh leadership in the town government.

“The residents and business owners in Dewey Beach deserve leaders who can act appropriately and decisively and with transparency,” she said.

Compello said she would support considering term limits for town council members, changing the charter to give voters the right to petition for referendum and returning the millions in unused beach taxes to the property owners.

TJ Redefer, owner of Rehoboth Bay Realty Co., filed Aug. 17. He is a member of the family that owns and operates Rehoboth By the Sea, a leased-land development started in 1925 that encompasses a significant portion of the north end of town.

Redefer said he’s been contemplating running for some time, but the recent issues between Town Manager Marc Appelbaum and town employees cemented his intentions. Council needs a new perspective to help lead the town, he said.

Redefer said he wants to ensure property values in town. The lifeblood of Dewey is real estate, he said, noting revenue from realty transfer taxes, building permits and other building-related monies.

Redefer said the history component of his background is very powerful. He’s had other family members serve on council, and he said, there’s an understanding and knowledge of town that can’t be overlooked.

Incumbents Mayor Dale Cooke and Commissioner Diane Hanson have also filed. Cooke, a commissioner from 2002 to 2008, was elected again in 2015, serving the last year as mayor. Hanson has been a member of council since 2008, serving as mayor from 2010 to 2016. Both filed Aug. 9.

Commissioner Mike Dunmyer, who was elected in 2015, is not running for re-election.

Candidates’ forum Aug. 26

The Dewey Beach Civic League will hold its annual Dewey Beach Candidates Forum from 4 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Dewey Beach Lions Club, 115 McKinley Ave.

Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. Light refreshments and open conversation will continue after the forum.

Election information

Absentee voting begins Aug. 28 and can be done 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2 and Saturday, Sept. 9, at town hall, 105 Rodney Ave. Absentee ballots will not be mailed after Wednesday, Sept. 13. Absentee voting ends at noon, Friday, Sept. 15.

The election will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, in the Dewey Beach Life Saving Station, 1 Dagsworthy Ave.

For more information on the election, contact Dewey Beach Town Hall at 227-6363.

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