Four candidates stood to run in the Milton mayoral election, with two candidates for council seats and two candidates to run for mayor.
In the mayoral race, Mayor Ted Kanakos will face Councilman John Collier.
Kanakos has served on Milton City Council since 2015 and was elected mayor in 2016. He was re-elected unopposed in 2019.
“I feel the challenge is still there,” Kanakos said. “I feel the city and the council are doing a good job.”
One of the biggest challenges, he said, is the future of the city’s sewage system after the sale of Tidewater Environmental Services, the city’s wastewater provider since 2007, to Artesian Wastewater. . The city is currently trying to appeal the Delaware Public Service Commission’s approval of the sale, although Kanakos said the city and Artesian were working on an agreement to settle contractual obligations for which Tidewater was responsible.
Kanakos said that when he became mayor, the city had no police chief or chief executive. Now, he said, Milton has a nine-person police force and has become attractive to developers who want their properties to become part of the city by annexation.
“They want to annex to something that has great water infrastructure, great police force, for sure,” Kanakos said.
He said annexations are partly a way to defend the city, because they allow the city to participate in growth and development, whereas if developers build within county jurisdiction, the city does not have its word to say.
Collier was elected to city council in 2020, his second round on council after serving from 2013 to 2014. He left at that time to take up a position as city project coordinator, a title he held until in 2019.
As for why he decided to run for mayor, Collier said, “I believe it’s time for a change. Too many items in this town, the can continues to be thrown on the road. I think it’s time to put an end to it. »
Among those elements, Collier said, are sidewalks, railroad crossings, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, and planning for growth.
“I don’t believe that right now the current leaders are looking at it that far down the road. We have a lot to be proud of in this city, but if we allow new growth to come in and eclipse which we have to be proud of, it just becomes the rundown side of town, and I don’t want that. If we don’t start today, we’re going to have problems the day after tomorrow,” Collier said.
He said the city has been fortunate so far to receive federal funding for infrastructure projects, as the city would be responsible for meeting the capacity needs of new growth.
“If we didn’t have that money, we would have to think long and hard about whether to accept these annexations that we are accepting now, because if we were to service the entire Granary plot tomorrow, we could not do it. . And with these additional apps, we have to look even further,” Collier said.
Kanakos and Collier said despite being political opponents who have yet to work together on council, the mayoral race is unlikely to affect their working relationship.
“I have known John for years. It was something that was a personal choice on his part, and we will continue. I can’t wait to be there,” Kanakos said.
“At the end of the day, I still represent the same people on council that I would represent as mayor. I have no intention of letting the board table become a forum for a campaign. When it’s meeting time, that’s business,” Collier said.
In the council race, Annette Babich and Councilman Larry Savage were the only people to file, so they will win the two available seats. Longtime adviser Sam Garde chose not to run again. Babich and Savage will be sworn in at the April board meeting.
Savage will serve a full term after being named to the board in May to serve the remainder of former councilor Michael Coté’s term following Cote’s death in April 2020.
“It was a privilege and an honor to complete Mr. Coté’s term,” said Savage. “I love what I do and would like to serve three more years.”
Savage is an Army veteran who spent 39 years with the Wilmington Trust. He has lived in Milton for over 40 years and has held various positions in the town: Treasurer of the Milton Community Foundation, member of the Milton Board of Adjustment and Chairman of the Town Board of Elections.
“This town has really grown,” he said. “I would like the city to keep its small town feel, but at the same time we need growth.
Savage said he would like to do more work to help low-income families in Milton and continue to learn more about the wants and needs of the community. He said he wanted to encourage more small business development in downtown Milton and he thinks the town needs to come up with a solution to find more parking spots downtown.
Babich moved to Milton from Brooklyn, NY in 2018 when she and partner Mal Meehan established the Inn The Doghouse bed and breakfast on Chestnut Street. After arriving in Milton, Babich helped establish the Dog Days of Summer festival and she sits on the board of the Milton Theatre.
“I really love Milton and intend to stay here long term and call it my home. Having lived in a big city, I deeply appreciate the beauty and charm of a small town; friendly , a simpler, safer life and all the activities of the city,” she said.
Babich said she had three major issues she wanted to address on the board. First, to continue the development and promotion of Milton’s commercial district, including the revitalization of Front Street, as set out in the town’s comprehensive development plan. She said she would like to establish an economic committee to promote and facilitate responsible growth in the business sector.
Second, Babich wants to establish an arts and culture committee to promote and develop the arts in Milton. She would also like to build a community center in town.
Finally, Babich would like to create an events committee to work with community leaders to promote Milton and help attract visitors.