Banta seeks to hold office for sixth consecutive term at Levy Court

 

DOVER — Commissioner P. Brooks Banta, the Democratic representative for the 1st Levy Court District, has been serving on the court for 20 years straight. He’s also been a resident of the 1st District for more than 50 years. Before serving on the Levy Court he held a position on the Clayton Town Council for 14 years, spent two terms as mayor of the Town of Clayton, 10 years on the Smyrna School District Board of Education,10 years as a non-resident commissioner for the Town of Dewey Beach and served as a four-year appointment to the Kent County Regional Planning commission.

P. Brooks Banta

P. Brooks Banta

In his professional life, Mr. Banta ran a wholesale distribution business with his father in Smyrna. He later sold the business in 1986.

During a question and answer session, Mr. Banta cited what he thinks makes him a good candidate for the Levy Court seat:

Q: Why are you running for re-election?

A: “This position takes time and dedication to do correctly, for example, during my time here I have made and or received in excess of 39,000 phone calls on Levy Court business. Some folks think that the Levy Court just meets four Tuesdays per month, but there are so many more meetings and responsibilities than that. If you’re doing this job correctly, it’s a bare minimum of an extra 30 hours per week. It’s even more for me because I’m the president as well. You have to have an exceptionally varied background in management skills and budgeting for this position. You have to be accessible as well, you have to be able to interact well with home owners associations volunteer fire companies and town councils to name a few. Most of why I am running though is because I enjoy public service, period. Just being available to the people is a great feeling for me. Everyone should run for public office once in their lives, it’s important.

Q: What important skills from your background will you bring to the Levy Court?

A: Over a lifetime of public service, about 51 years all together, I’ve gained skills that I feel make me eminently qualified to continue serving. With my time on the Levy Court, I have developed an efficient and cost-saving government for my constituents. With my background in business as well, I know the importance of cost containment, where to invest money and where to cut costs.

Q: What are the past accomplishments, in your work with the Levy Court, of which you are most proud?

I am very proud of the combination effort that we’ve done with the Boys and Girls Club on the rec center. It has received national recognition and it appears as though there may be some awards for it as well as time goes on. It won’t be awards just for the Levy Court, but the Boys and Girls Club too because it doesn’t happen often that a public and private partnership like that forms. It’s a great step in the right direction.

Also, I’ve been very pleased with our involvement with DE Turf. That program, once it’s finished early next spring, is going to bring an additional $18 to $22 million per year into the state and county, which is great.

Also, I can’t say enough for our paramedics. They work night and day and their response time is between 3 and 6 minutes depending on where you are, they’re incredible. We just opened up another paramedic unit down in Frederica which takes care of that southeast quadrant which hasn’t been serviced well for quite awhile.

Q: What issues facing Kent County need the attention of the Levy Court?

A: “One of the biggest issues the Levy Court is going to face is rising healthcare costs. It’s a situation that has to be dealt with. Last year the health insurance for county employees went up $650,000. We had to try to figure out a way to augment that. The employees unfortunately had to kick in a few dollars out of their paychecks to pay for healthcare. But, by and large we have a really good healthcare plan and we’re pleased with it. We have started to look again though for alternative ways to keep our healthcare costs down though.”

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com

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