Dover council salutes past, looks to future

DOVER — Change was in the air at the annual reorganization meeting of Dover City Council at City Hall Monday night.

Mayor Robin Christiansen also delivered an optimistic state of the city address that looked forward to future progress.

At the meeting, James Hutchison Sr. stepped down from his seat as a 1st District city councilman after more than 40 years of public service to the city of Dover and newcomer Tanner Polce stepped in.

Mr. Polce was eager to get to work after he and four other city councilmen took their oaths of office in the council chambers. The Honorable Jeffrey Clark, a Superior Court judge, administered the oaths.

Mr. Polce (1st District) was sworn in along with incumbent election winners Tim Slavin (at-large), William Hare (2nd District), Fred Neil (3rd District) and David Anderson (4th District).

Mr. Polce, who was elected as councilman on April 18, took over the chair that was previously held by the retiring Mr. Hutchison and was the lone newcomer sworn in on Monday night.

“I’m going to listen to start,” said Mr. Polce. “I think our community, especially in the 1st (District), is a community that is slightly more unique and I just have to listen to the constituents who now have entrusted me to represent the district.”

Council President Slavin was nominated by Councilman Brian Lewis to serve again as president of city council/vice mayor and was unanimously voted another term.

Mr. Hutchison received resolutions from the City of Dover, Kent County Levy Court and the Delaware Senate for his remarkable career, which included stints as a Dover policeman, chief of police, mayor and city councilman, among other jobs.

“It is indeed an honor to stand here tonight to thank all of you for being a part of this city for as long as I have,” Mr. Hutchison said. “It’s amazing when I think back as a young person at the age of 24.

“When I came to become a city of Dover police officer we had a total of 24 officers. The city of Dover was 12,000 people. U.S. 13, on the east side, was not in the city of Dover.”

Mr. Hutchison said times have certainly changed since those days when he first started by making $78 a week as a police officer.

“If anyone should be crowned ‘Mr. Dover,’ I think Hutch should be in that line,” said Terry Pepper, vice president of Levy Court.

Brooks Banta, president of Kent County Levy Court, added, “(Mr. Hutchison) is certainly a man of high honor and dignity.”

While the city of Dover saluted its past and acknowledged the career of Mr. Hutchison, Mayor Robin Christiansen then looked to the future as he delivered his State of the City Address.

“Tonight we stand on the threshold of a new era in the history of our city,” Mayor Christiansen said. “As we celebrate 300 years of Dover history and the innumerable contributions that we as a community have made to this country, we face the next 100 years with optimism and enthusiasm acknowledging that our best days are ahead of us.

“Are there challenges ahead? Yes, certainly, but we have a city council who partnered with our employees and our citizens, can overcome any challenge with confidence and resolve. With their strength and determination, we can meet the needs of the future and all that we may face.”

Mayor Christiansen then thanked all of the various departments scattered throughout the city, thanking them for their long hours that they work and for all that they do to make Dover “the great place that it is.”

The mayor received loud applause when he thanked the members of the Dover Police Department and said, “Let it be known now; that this, a renewed notice that guns, drugs and gangs are no longer welcome on the streets of our city.”

Mayor Christiansen concluded his State of the City Address by thanking the community of Dover.

“Finally, a grateful and hearty thank you to the citizens of Dover who as taxpayers and customers allow us to serve them daily,” he said. “Your confidence and belief in the future of this city gives each of us the energy to work diligently on your behalf each day.
“My hope is that we meet and exceed your expectations. I believe in Dover, do you?”

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

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