Posts Tagged ‘Councilman Sam Wilson’

Glad to live in Sussex

June 24, 2010

You really have to be there to appreciate it. Some of the strangest conversations and comments emanate from the Sussex County Council chambers.

Take for example comments from the June 15 meeting.

During a debate about a time extension for a project, Councilman George Cole became perturbed with President Vance Phillips.  Cole wanted council to vote then and there against granting another time extension, but Phillips pushed for a deferral because one member of council was on vacation.

Cole went along with it and said, “I don’t want to see standards lowered any more under your reign of terror.”

Phillips just smiled.

Then there was talk about the camel. Councilman Sam Wilson said the state is like a camel sticking its nose in the tent, which is the start of the camel wanting to come inside the tent. The tent, of course, represents Sussex County.

Cole agreed, but went a tad further during a discussion of pending legislation that would require the county to submit all zoning ordinances to the state Office of Planning Coordination. He said the camel’s ears, neck and nose are already in the tent as they look at ways to take over land-use decisions from the county.

During the June 22 budget public hearing, Wilson took exception when a taxpayer questioned why her annual sewer bill was more than $500 when others were paying less. She was also confused about why she paid a front-foot assessment fee on land she doesn’t own.

It gave Wilson an excuse to vent because it appeared his comments had been bottled up inside him for quite awhile.

Wilson disagreed that her sewer fee was an exorbitant amount. He said putting in your own system and maintaining it would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

“I hear you, but you are almost getting a free ride,” Wilson said, adding the manufactured homeowner pays about $40 in annual property taxes (with school taxes of about $500).

Wilson also had words for those who complain about the county. “People come here, and they want more services and more government. I tell them to go back home, and then they’ll come back and be glad to live in Sussex County,” he said.

Don’t bet on council vote

February 22, 2010

The gambling issue refuses to leave the hallowed halls of Sussex County Council.

For the third time someone from the Georgetown area showed up at the Tuesday, Feb. 16  council meeting asking for a resolution against the expansion of legalized gambling in the county.

So far, no council member has been brave enough to make a motion to that effect. Sam Wilson came close during the meeting when he offered kudos to those who spoke.

Wilson hinted he’d like to see council take a similar stand as the Indian River School Board when it issued a resolution against a casino built near any school.

One has to wonder if the council even has the legal precedent to take such a vote, but a vote would be extremely interesting. It’s not a county land-use application in question, but a moral issue.

The guy leading the charge, Eric Bodenweiser, twisted the issue from moral and ethical to one the county has dealt with before when he said county councilmanic grants have gone to support programs dealing with addictions.

In the game we play of predicting council votes, I wouldn’t dare to even take a guess at this one.

On one hand, the jobs created by a new casino in Sussex County would help boost the economy, but on the other hand the social ills created by gambling addiction can’t be discounted either.

No matter which way members voted they would be in a no-win situation, and that’s not a gamble I see county council taking.

Sam calls it as he sees it

January 21, 2010

You may not agree with Sussex County Councilman Sam Wilson, a Republican from Georgetown, but you have to agree he keeps things lively in council chambers.

The right-winger wears his conservative values on his shirtsleeve and is not afraid to snap back when he feels backed into a corner. You have to understand that he has lived on the same farm outside Georgetown his entire life.

Sam Wilson

His comments go from the outrageous to down-home common sense. He says the only way to protect what happens next to your property is to buy it, and he didn’t make many friends in Lewes when he called their actions mob rule. He muttered under his breath that he probably shouldn’t have said that.

He couldn’t get elected town street sweeper in Lewes, but what he stands for must be all right with those who live in and around Georgetown. That shows how divergent opinions are in Sussex County.

Sam calls stormwater management “bunk” and urged people with water problems to pray to the Lord for relief because he controls it all.

In the face of hundreds of people claiming traffic would be appalling in the Lewes area if the Village Centre project were approved, he said he wasn’t convinced there would be traffic issues.

He and Councilwoman Joan Deaver, a Rehoboth Beach Democrat, not only sit on opposite ends of the council table, they are light years apart on just about every issue. When Joan says the sky is blue, Sam says it’s white.

It doesn’t take long to discover that Sam believes a man’s property is his own, and he can do pretty much whatever he wants with it. He has voted for nearly every subdivision, rezoning and conditional-use request that has come before him.

He’s tough when it comes to handing out county money and struggles with just about every councilmanic grant given out at the end of each meeting. When he was first elected he, as well as Deaver – they did agree on at least one thing – questioned many of the grants. He has since learned the grants are political leverage and he goes along with the rest of council, although his grants are usually small compared to others.

And here is the real kicker. All of the tidbits above were not compiled from months worth of meetings; they took place during the Tuesday, Jan. 19 meeting.

All you have to do is sit and listen.

Some Christmas wishes come true

December 17, 2009

I’m betting that Sussex County Councilwoman Joan Deaver is the first to publish an official Christmas wish list.

Remember, this is the same councilwoman who tried to get the council to remove the phrase Easter vacation from its annual calendar because it alienated her Jewish constituents. She has since apologized for the action.

Casting that irony aside, it’s impressive that she bothered to send Santa Claus a list for the benefit of those who live in Sussex County. She has included some wishes from her constituents as well.

Deaver has some great “wants” on her list. Included are the following that I would put at the top my list as well: a county board of ethics, with rules outlining when a council member should recuse himself or herself for  conflict of interest; and providing more detail for agenda items to alert people about pending applications – at least offering an address and a better description of a project.

I would include the board of adjustment and planning and zoning under code of ethics review as well.

You can see a complete list of Deaver’s wishes on her website at www.councilwomandeaver.com. You really need to check out her list.

Here is my Christmas wish list:

Councilman Sam Wilson would sit closer to his microphone so he could be heard.

Council watcher Dan Kramer would break his silence and speak at council meetings. He will speak during public hearings but not during council meetings since council adopted a new public participation policy.

Council and planning and zoning would institute a policy that all speakers sign in with their address and make that list available to the press.

Councilman Mike Vincent would stop tabling issues. Prior to his election, the table process was rarely used. He has used it at least twice in the past few months.

Do you doubt that any of these wishes will come true? They do. One of my wishes came to fruition last year. Thanks to Council President Vance Phillips and Chip Guy, director of public information, the council now provides a packet of pertinent information to the press for each meeting. The packet has become an invaluable tool to help disseminate information to the public.

Better ways to get to the beach – maybe

October 30, 2009

Sussex County Councilman Sam Wilson was the first to stand up and ask a question, or make a statement, following the talk by Delaware Economic Development Office Secretary Alan Levin Wednesday, Oct. 28, during the 16th annual Today and Tomorrow Conference at Delaware Tech College.

Levin spent several minutes during his speech talking about the importance of tourism, especially to Sussex County. His office has expanded staff and efforts to promote tourism.

Wilson, who sometimes looks at issues from a different perspective, said that perhaps the county could not handle an increase in tourism because of the lack of infrastructure – mainly roads.

Levin agreed with Wilson’s take on the problems with roads. “Delaware needs better infrastructure, but the only way to do that is to build on the tax base,” Levin said. “We are exploring other ways to get people to the beaches.”

He’s talking about new and improved mass transit. One of those ways is by train, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done.

Levin said the rail lines south of Dover are antiquated and there are still some manual switches being used that date back more than 75 years.

Levin also had a word or two of caution for everyone looking ahead to the next state budget year. Even though there are a few signs of economic recovery, the state’s financial picture will not improve next year. “The easy cuts were last year; now we are faced with the painful cuts,” he said.