Christiansen: Looking forward to second term as Dover’s mayor

DOVER — Mayor Robin R. Christiansen was somewhat reflective as he presented his annual “State of the City” message at the annual Dover City Council meeting at City Hall on Monday night.

Maybe it was because just minutes earlier, he took the oath of the mayor’s office with several members of his family at his side after running unopposed this year. He was first sworn in as mayor of Dover on June 25, 2014 — and now he is preparing himself for four more years in the mayor’s seat.

“It is again a great honor and extreme pleasure to be able to deliver the address on the ‘State of the City of Dover,’” Mayor Christiansen said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine many years ago as a child, when I had the honor of meeting the late Mayor Crawford Carroll, that one day I would stand here as he did – to share with all of you the ‘State of the City of Dover.’

“As mayor, I believe this is the best job that any public servant could ever have to make appositive difference in the lives of our citizens and in the future of our city.”

Mayor Christiansen touched upon a number of topics during his brief address, including the retirement of Dover Police Chief Marvin Mailey at the end of this week, before thanking police and volunteer firefighters for their diligent service, city employees for their tireless efforts to keep the city on track and heralded business initiatives to bring more industries to Delaware’s capital city.

“Our efforts for economic development have and will continue to move forward vigorously,” the mayor said. “Through partnership with the Kent Economic Partnership, the Greater Kent Committee, our friends at Kent County Levy Court and other municipalities we now have a focused game plan to market Central Delaware as well as the city of Dover to bring jobs to the area so all of our citizens can share in the economic prosperity and the American dream.”

He added the city will continue to work hand-in-hand with the institutions of higher education in Dover, including Delaware State University, Wesley College, Delaware Technical Community College, the University of Delaware and Wilmington University, as well as local school districts to bring a highly qualified workforce into Central Delaware.

Mayor Robin Christiansen
Mayor Robin Christiansen

Mayor Christiansen said he and many others are still battling the homelessness issue in and around Dover.

“We must continue to look for workable and realistic solutions to the issues of affordable housing and the issue of homelessness,” he said. “The Mayor’s Task Force works diligently to do just that and has come up with several recommendations to address the matter.

“A quick read of those proposals shows that the focus of that effort is to permanently house, counsel and empower people to change their circumstance rather than continue and prolong their unfortunate plight.

“No one has all the answers, but between the efforts that the Mayor’s Task Force has made and the dedication of the State of Delaware, we remain confident that this most important issue of homelessness and rough sleeping will eventually be resolved.”

During the mayor’s “State of the City” address, he added that one big thing within the city of Dover that he’d like to see addressed quickly is to make a concerted effort to end blight and abandoned houses and structures in Dover.

“I am asking for changes in the laws that appear to make the city complacent with blight and its impact on the property values across out great city,” said Mayor Christiansen. “I am asking council to put more teeth in those regulations and ordinances, to streamline and expedite that process.

“I am asking that we hold private owners, banks and mortgage companies accountable for the conditions of their holdings. I am asking that we expedite this process.”

Mayor Christiansen ended his address on an optimistic note.
“The city of Dover is a thriving community,” he said. “Our city is filled with history, beauty and promise and has so much potential for each of us to share with others. Please join me in the next chapter of this great adventure called Dover – 302 years young and still growing strong – and city whose best days are ahead of us.

“I know some people tire of hearing this, but I believe in Dover, and I hope you believe in Dover, too.”

Hare elected council president
William “Bill” Hare, a 2nd District city councilman, was elected to serve as Dover City Council President/Vice-Mayor at Monday night’s annual meeting.
Councilman Tanner Polce nominated Mr. Hare to the council president position that had been held by Tim Slavin and was seconded by Councilman Fred Neal.

Nobody else was nominated and the motion to appoint Councilman Hare to president/vice-mayor carried.

“I certainly will have some big shoes to fill,” Councilman Hare said. “I’ll see if I can run the meetings as professionally and as good as Mr. Slavin did.”

Four are sworn in
Besides Mayor Christiansen, Ralph L. Taylor Jr. was sworn in as a city councilman for the 2nd District after winning the Municipal Election among three other challengers back in April.

Matthew Lindell (1st District), Scott Cole (3rd District) and Roy Sudler Jr. (4th District) were also sworn in after they ran unopposed in the election.
Mr. Taylor thanked his family for their patience.
“My wife has tolerated me and my political aspirations for quite a while now,” he said, with a laugh.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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