Letter: Mayor Kuhns continues to flout the law
January 18, 2019
During the town hall in Rehoboth Jan. 5, where 200 citizens opposed Mayor Kuhns’ proposal to give away the city’s wastewater treatment plant to Sussex County, many of the public and several commissioners called for the appointment of a citizen committee to advise on the future of wastewater treatment in Rehoboth.
Mayor Kuhns moved only a little in that direction. He has now established a committee with himself as the chairman, and Rehoboth’s city manager and its director of public works at his side, plus three citizens. Far from a true citizen committee, this committee is going to be completely under the mayor’s thumb.
Delaware law prohibits the mayor from participating in Rehoboth government matters in which he (or any business in which he or a close relative has a financial interest) stands to benefit more than others. Mayor Kuhns is a co-owner of the Summer House restaurant and Arena’s Deli, plus other commercial property in Rehoboth. He and his businesses stand to benefit enormously - while non-restaurant other businesses and most residents will disproportionately bear the costs - under his proposals to give away the city’s wastewater treatment plant to the county, and his alternative proposal to institute flat-rate billings.
Mayor Kuhns should comply with the ethics law and recuse himself from these matters. By continuing to insert himself into the middle of this issue, he is flouting the law.
In addition, Delaware law requires open meetings for all public bodies, including this committee on the wastewater treatment issues. Public notice of all meetings must be given, and the public must be permitted to attend. However, word on the street is that Mayor Kuhns already has started having meetings of this committee, without any public notice at all.
Mayor Kuhns should abide by the open meetings law and invite the public to attend these committee meetings.
Have you noticed the ugly cell tower that has been constructed on the Boardwalk in front of the Atlantic Sands Hotel? Mayor Kuhns wants to put these all over town, and this is the kind of thing that he has been doing unilaterally, on a no-bid basis, without proper notice and input from the public, without input from the Boardwalk committee or the streets committee composed of concerned citizens, and without even including the other commissioners in the decision to proceed.
His whole governing style seems to be that if he thinks it is good for business, then it must be good for Rehoboth and he is not interested in input from anyone else. However, Mayor Kuhns’ style is not compatible with Delaware law and our democratic traditions in Rehoboth.
Please write to the mayor and commissioners to tell them how you feel.