Sussex County Council

delritesussex7.28.15sussexseal    What is the Sussex County Council?

To understand what the Sussex County Council is, you must know what it was, and always has been. A government entity, which creates revenue to sustain itself, and creates the need for its existence, through the imposition of regulations and codes.

So, the Council gets to impose regulations, which forces people to come stand before them, and ask permission to build or develop on the land they either already own, or which they seek to develop at a profit. The citizen has no choice but to come stand before the Council in order to gain approval of their plans.

In other words, a citizen who wishes to utilize their resources, in a lawful manner, are required to surrender themselves before the Sussex County Council to gain approval. Until that time, a citizen cannot take advantage of their own freely held properties and resources.

This brings me to this past Friday morning, which I spent, as I spend most every Friday morning, joining an ever, ebbing flow of friends, and acquaintances for breakfast. Mostly, we are the background noise for the Dan Gaffney Show, live at the Lewes Diner currently.

It is the political season, and we have seen many of our elected, and wanna be elected friends and neighbors join us as well. The discussion is lively, the topics unlimited, and the challenge is to be heard.

This past Friday, 10/3/20, Councilman Doug Hudson came by, and was on air discussing Sussex County and the unique challenges of doing County business in the age of COVID and the Governor’s State of Emergency. He clearly stated,  the Council was setting aside certain applications, due to their nature.  That being, due to their complexity, and or the need for public input. Due to COVID and the limit on the number of people “ALLOWED” in a gathering, Mr. Hudson indicated the Council was currently unable to facilitate certain applications. However, other less complex  projects and applications were still able to be processed.

My question to Mr. Hudson was, how is it fair and correct by law, to set aside one application, and move on to the next in line? If a citizen makes application, and has met all requirements, up and until they are required to come before the Council, then their application should be processed in the order it was taken, and at the earliest date possible.

To do otherwise seems to infringe upon a citizen’s 14th Amendment right of equal protections under the law. It would also seem to open up the Sussex County Council to yet another law suit, they will likely lose.

But instead of protecting and advocating for the property rights of the citizens, by simply doing their job, the Council has chosen to be the enforcer of John Carney’s business killing regulations.

The Sussex County Council has also deemed to become lord and master, of all lands in Sussex.  From paying into farm preservation, to buying up “open space”, to partnering with private companies. The Council can now buy land, make a decision about how the land can be used, and profit from it. Profit to the tune of almost two hundred million dollars in surplus from over taxing the citizens.

First, the County should not buy one acre of land it does not need for current operations. To buy and hold land is called land speculation, it is done in order to sell it higher, later. When the very government entity which decides land use, is also land speculating? How do private developers compete?

But nothing ever seems to change about how the Council does business. Historically, they raise fees and permits, and create new ones, in order to be able to say they didn’t raise property taxes. Recently they raised the lodging tax, again while holding hundreds, of millions, of tax payer dollars in surplus. It passed in a five member unanimous vote. All five members were Republican, and not one of them could find it within themselves, to vote no against a tax?

The use of the revenue from the tax is to be determined at a later date, by? You guessed it, The Sussex County Council! They raise a tax with no current need or justification? Really? And everyone is okay with that?

Unfortunately for some of the members who voted to raise that tax, they will not be around to decide how to waste it. I said nothing changes about how the Council does business, but we are in a political season, and we have had a primary which has decided at least one seat, and another which is all but  decided.

The era of Sam Wilson has ended with his son, Robert Wilson’s primary run for that seat. Wilson and Lisa Hudson-Briggs were defeated by current, Register of Wills Cindy Green.       Many will tell you that there will be little difference between Mrs. Green, and Sam Wilson’s view of governing. Time will tell. I will tell you this, I have known Mrs. Green for close to twenty years, and while she may wear her emotion on her sleeve, I have never seen her back down on anything she felt strongly about. I believe the people of her district, and the County have gained an advocate for real property rights. And will all be better off for it.

The other GOP primary for Council saw I.G. Burton defeated by former Kent County resident Mark Schaefer. Schaefer is now facing a write in opponent in the general election. Unfortunately, Mr. Schaefer will see little need for changing the direction the County has been going in, in the past, more of the same old, same old. Build on the east side, stack the developments on top of each other like Legos, just so you can plug them into the revenue generating sewer system. DENSITY! DENSITY! DENSITY!

The final race of this political season for Council will be in the general election, between current Council President, Mike Vincent. Vincent, the long time Republican seat warmer, has become far too comfortable in his position, and is currently being reminded, his is an elected office. He is required to run for re-election. His Democrat challenger is a young man named Hunter Hastings. Mr. Hastings has been involved in local politics for several years now, and has run for office previously. And while Mr. Hastings is young and inexperienced, the fact he is willing to stand up and challenge the status quo, is worthy of support.

The Sussex County Council is either at a cross road of change, or a dead end of stagnation.




2 Comments on "Sussex County Council"

  1. Frank Knotts says:


  2. I have never run for office before. This is the first time I’ve threw my hat in.

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