Changing Dover’s government not a priority for residents

 

DOVER— For over a year city council has been back and forth regarding the city’s form of government.

Currently, the city manager, controller, city planner, city assessor and city clerk will report to council. All other city department heads report to the city manager. The police department and economic development office report to the mayor.

It may have seemed to be an important issue to resolve amongst council members, but residents felt otherwise, as they had a chance to voice their opinions about the city’s form of government during a special council meeting Wednesday night.

Most of the their concerns were focused on other issues instead such as tax increases, economic development for the city, business closure procedures and having an effective government moving forward.

Dover resident and former Councilman Thomas Leary believes it’s time to put the discussion of the city’s form of government to bed.

“There’s not a human cry out there about the city’s form of government,” Mr. Leary said during Wednesday night’s meeting.

“There’s a human cry about the city’s fiscal affairs. We have streets that need to be paved. We need to get to work on some things.”

“This last budget cycle was handled very admiralty, but I think the next one is going to be as equally as hard. Let’s put this to bed and get to work on things people really want hear about,” Mr. Leary added.

Councilman Scott Cole agreed.

“I feel like people want us to take care of the real issues,” Councilman Cole said. “They want us to focus on crime or any other concerns that they may have. The meeting showed me that they care about those type of things rather than what kind of government that we have.”

“When were elected we said we were going to be transparent. I hope we’re still doing that for them.”

All of the councilmen got the opinions of their constituents in different ways regarding the matter.

They held community meetings, went door to door or used social media to hear from residents about their thoughts on the subject.

Many of the councilmen expressed that residents wanted the form of government to remain the same.

“There was a consensus to maintain the responsibilities of the mayor like it is now,” Councilman David Anderson said.

“The residents understand that we are trying to listen to them and accommodate their needs.”

During Wednesday’s meeting Mr. Slavin said if any councilman believes the form of government should be changed then they should have a strong proposal moving forward.

Councilman Anderson believes there shouldn’t be a sudden change, as it should be a slow progression.

“I think we can make some improvements,” Councilman Anderson said. “But I don’t think it needs to be urgent. I think the process does matter, but I think it doesn’t need to operate in a knee jerk fashion to make changes.”

“The people care about their public safety, the economy and the youth of the city,” Councilman Anderson added.

“I think we need to get back to focusing on those issues and then slowly make improvements to the city’s form of government.”

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