To My Esteemed Fellow Residents of the Town Of Cheriton
As disappointed as I was seeing the intentionally misleading campaign signage distributed by four candidates acting as a group, I was simply appalled at the blatantly dishonest advertisement they chose to run in the Eastern Shore Post on April 27th, 2018. Doubling down on their fear-mongering, divisive tactic of “The taxes are coming! The taxes are coming!” to retain their positions on this representative body is distasteful at best and deceitful at worst.
What they aren’t telling you:
* Cheriton’s existing town ordinances allow for a personal property tax and real estate tax which have not to date been levied. No candidate for council has forwarded any plan that would result in the activation of that existing code. It is misleading to an offensive degree that these four candidates continue to campaign on the implication that their opposition intends to levy real estate and personal property taxes.
* The proposed budget for fiscal year 18-19 shows a profit, not a deficit, even with the loss of income AND expenses related to citation revenue from the Northampton County Sheriff’s Department.
* The newly formed Cheriton Police Department and its related start-up expenses were approved unanimously by the seated council, in multiple sessions. A local police department of our own opens doors to our town in many ways, including the ability to expand our borders.
These types of political posturing tactics may be routine in places like Richmond, but they do not well reflect the values and ethics of our dear Cheriton.
It is impractical and unsustainable to place the burden for the majority of the town budget on the shoulders of a single employee. “Policing for Profit,” an avenue being directly ordered by several members of the current council including the candidates who ran the Post advertisement, is an ugly practice; it undermines public trust in law enforcement, it damages open communications between citizens and their police, it discourages tourism and removes necessary safety resources from the streets of our town in the name of convenience. The current council is either unwilling or unable to envision any different plans of action for revenue generation and are reluctant to go out and get personally involved in developing any. We must be honest with ourselves; if our town is not providing specific services and amenities, funded by multiple revenue streams, why are we a town separate from the county government at all? To that end, we must plan and budget accordingly. This means getting creative with solutions for a fast-changing world while keeping our small town charm intact. It CAN be done!
I and several of my fellow new candidates have some exciting ideas for revenue generation that we believe will work for everyone’s best interests. I’ll be happy to discuss them at length and listen to your concerns about the current issues and future direction of our town at the Meet The Candidates event ( Candidates Forum ) on Sunday, April 28th, 2018 at the American Legion Hall from noon to 3 pm.
Your council was never intended to be a group of persons working towards their own goals and purposes. Your council’s objective is to be a body of individuals, elected by YOU, who represent YOU! Somewhere along the line, I believe some members may have lost sight of this perspective. Your voice and your interests must come first, with an eye always towards the service of the greatest good and best benefits to all citizens.
I’ve traveled extensively and lived in many locations but never chose one to settle until purchasing our home in Cheriton. The diversity in our community, the sense of belonging, the friendly faces I see every day; this is where my family chose to put down roots and we’re in it for the long haul. I’m a wife, mother, and volunteer for several community organizations including our local fire department. Seeing the potential for a more vibrant commercial zone I relocated my small business here too. I’ve invested in Cheriton, heart, and soul. And seeing for myself how much of the town government was conducted behind closed doors in secret executive sessions and unannounced meetings without opportunity for public participation, I chose to become more involved.
I am confident that my experience with the Main Street program, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, for revitalizing historic districts will be of great value during my service to you on the council. The principles of design, organization, promotions and economic development are custom tailored for towns just like ours. I look forward to using these skills successfully as I have in the past to make our Cheriton a safer, brighter and more beautiful place to live, work, visit, shop and enjoy.
Donnella (Dannielle) Romeo
Candidate, Town Council
Romeo and many of the non-incumbent Town Council candidates have been a breath of fresh air helping to clear the miasma of petty infighting, character assassination, and good-ol’-boy governance that’s had a stranglehold on Cheriton for months. Council members Downing, Lewis, and Spencer seem to think they’re local royalty who are kind enough to let the rest of us live in their town. They do little actual work other than show up for monthly meetings and scheme to drive out town employees they personally don’t like. One of them who is on the budgeting committee declared, “I don’t do numbers.” Unreal.
Rather than plan for Cheriton’s future, they reply on policing for profit via traffic violation fines. In the proposed fiscal year 2018-2019 budget, FIFTY-TWO PERCENT of town revenue is to be generated by ONE TOWN EMPLOYEE: the Chief of Police. I do not fault the Chief in any way; he serves at the leisure of the council. I presume that the Chief has informed the current council and the mayor of the risks and ethics of policing for profit and that his counsel has been ignored.
This graphic illustrates how much Cheriton relies on traffic violation fines for revenue. http://bit.ly/cheritonneedsleadership
Neighboring Cape Charles is growing by leaps and bounds. Cheriton is primed to take off as well, if only we had leadership with the will and vision to try. I encourage all Cheriton residents to vote on May 1 for council members who are willing to think big and work together.
David Boyd says
Any idea what this means?
“A local police department of our own opens doors to our town in many ways, including the ability to expand our borders.”
Nioaka Marshall says
Boundary adjustment or expanding borders. Can we say… Annexation?
David Boyd says
Yes Nioaka, but who and where?
Been there, done that.
Annexation is not at all what Ms. Romeo is talking about. There was a lot of good discussion at the OPEN candidate forum yesterday. If this was a concern either of you have as Cheriton residents then coming to talk to her in person and the other candidates would have provided the information you are looking for. Making comments like the one you have falls right in line with the scare tactics of the taxes. Before making off hand remarks maybe you should take the time to educate yourself and get factual information.
David Boyd says
Aren’t we touchy? I can see why you won’t sign your name.
I was at that open candidate meeting yesterday, but had to leave early to take my daughter to an event. I did not hear this discussed while I was there.
The article above specifically states “A local police department of our own opens doors to our town in many ways, including the ability to expand our borders”, so I don’t think asking what is meant by that statement is in any way a scare tactic.
It also implies policies that will have a direct impact on persons who are NOT residents of Cheriton, should they happen to live in an area being considered for a boundary expansion.
Cheriton has considered this tactic in the not too distant past.
Cosmo DeLuca says
This was in regards to annexation of more highway frontage and being able to collect the sales tax from the current businesses, as well as bringing more business in. It really would only affect a few residents, and not by much.
David Boyd says
Thank you for the reply
I live in Tower Hill and we do not want to be annexed.
Cosmo DeLuca says
I imagine that will eventually be incorporated into Cape Charles. That side of the highway was not on this candidate’s agenda. She was strictly speaking of the highway frontage between the traffic lights.