Commissioner endorses Mills, Gossett, Lagree

July 23, 2020

The annual election in Rehoboth Beach this year is more important than ever. 

The health and safety of our community are paramount, and we must remain vigilant in our recovery process. We must focus on financial stability. Economic development during a pandemic requires protecting our key assets, maintaining infrastructure, and reining in spending. The post-pandemic economy will reshape the way we live, shop and get around.  Our focus needs to be on our homeowners and on our small businesses. 

We will also begin to implement the new Comprehensive Development Plan while the pandemic still remains a threat to our health, safety and economy. How will we make ends meet while creating a vision for the future? We need strong leaders who share our values and who will make smart, careful decisions about defining that future.

At a recent candidate forum, I was surprised to learn from Mayor Kuhns that Sussex County plans to come back to the city within the next year to reopen discussions of taking over our wastewater treatment plant, and that he is open to revisiting that proposal! As a commissioner, I should know about these ongoing discussions! 

Last year, citizens overwhelmingly rejected giving up control over one of our most important assets. We cannot give up control over what is pumped into our ocean! Nor should we be giving up a significant untapped revenue source, particularly in the face of economic challenges. But Mayor Kuhns and his running mates want to bring that plan back. 

I enthusiastically support Stan Mills for mayor. With Stan at the helm, I know city business will not be done in the shadows, but will be fully transparent, and that public input will be encouraged, not ignored.  

Stan Mills is a proven leader who brings people together to find common ground and work for the greater good of the city. He served 12 years as commissioner, four of them as vice president of the commission, under two different mayors. That speaks volumes about his knowledge of and value to the city.  Go anywhere in Rehoboth, and you can’t miss the work of Stan Mills - from total reconstruction of the Boardwalk, recycling programs, and ADA accessibility to stormwater management and other capital improvements. 

I would also love to work with Patrick Gossett and Jay Lagree as fellow commissioners. They bring the knowledge and experience we desperately need right now on the commission.  With no incumbents running for the past three years, we’ve had a complete turnover in city government, along with a loss of institutional knowledge of how our municipal government works. Unlike the other candidates for commissioner, both Patrick and Jay have a thorough knowledge of the city’s budget, infrastructure, natural resources, city services, and comprehensive plan process and priorities. They’re also strong, independent thinkers who will do their own homework and come prepared to seek solutions, while hearing and respecting citizen input. 

Throughout the candidate forum, I heard all three of these individuals talk about the common values that we all share - the need for economic stability, continued investment in our downtown to maintain key assets that bring people here, and providing amenities for our visitors. I heard their visions of Rehoboth Beach: recognizing our unique sense of place, protecting our “brand,” preserving walkable neighborhoods with tree-lined streets, welcoming downtown development in keeping with the scale and character of the city, and implementing environmental initiatives to address our challenges now and into the future.

A noted urban planner once said: “Economic development in the absence of environmental integrity is not sustainable.” On the recent Comprehensive Development Plan survey, 94 percent of you said protecting our natural environment was an important goal, and 93 percent of you want to maintain our small-town atmosphere. But recent trends in the city suggest we may be headed in the opposite direction. 

I trust Stan Mills, Patrick Gossett and Jay Lagree to provide forward-thinking, hit-the-ground-running leadership to meet your goals. I’ll be an even more effective commissioner for you with the complementary skills they will bring to the table. 

I am also disappointed with the divisive atmosphere created over the past three years. I believe in bringing people with different perspectives to the table, then listening carefully to all of them. I want to be inclusive, not divisive, and I want to focus on the needs of our own taxpaying citizens. We take an oath to serve you! 

Please join me in supporting Stan Mills, Patrick Gossett and Jay Lagree so that we can move forward together. Thank you again for the overwhelming support last summer and the opportunity to serve you.

Commissioner Susan Gay
Rehoboth Beach
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