Councilman Tony Wilson Lays Out Plans in Re-election Bid

first_imgCouncilman Tony Wilson, standing at center, is joined by, from left, Councilman Michael DeVlieger, Councilwoman Karen Bergman, Mayor Jay Gillian, Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, Councilman Keith Hartzell, Council President Peter Madden and Councilman Bob Barr on March 11 when he turned in his petitions. By MADDY VITALEOcean City Councilman Tony Wilson said he has a lot more he wants to accomplish on the governing body when he laid out his re-election plan in a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday.Wilson, 50, a lifelong Ocean City resident who owns Wilson Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, is seeking his third term as the Third Ward councilman.He is being challenged by Boardwalk businessman Jody Levchuk, who filed his nominating petitions to run on Monday.In speaking about the Third Ward race being the only contested one out of the four wards in the May 12 municipal election, Wilson said it is clear he has a proven record of accomplishments in his tenure on Council.“There is no one who works harder,” Wilson said.Should he win a new term, he wants to continue doing what he has been for years, he said.“We are trying to continue with the momentum we already set up,” Wilson said of Council. “We have a great synergy up there.”He has the backing of his colleagues.Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, who was the Second Ward councilman before winning election to the state Legislature, Mayor Jay Gillian and all of the members of Council came out to show their support for Wilson during his press conference.Councilmen Bob Barr, Michael DeVlieger and Keith Hartzell, Council President Peter Madden and Councilwoman Karen Bergman filled the room and held up a “Tony Wilson” magnet.The work to pump more sand onto the beaches in Ocean City in a replenishment project is a top priority for Wilson and other city officials.Wilson said during his time on Council, there have been some notable achievements that could only have been done with the working relationship of the current governing body and mayor.If re-elected to another four-year term, Wilson, who is currently serving as vice president of Council, said he would continue to focus on issues that matter most to residents and business owners.“We have to make sure to keep taxes low. The most important people are the taxpayers,” he said. “We are keeping taxes low and getting the most bang for our buck.”He wants to continue the projects to dredge the back bays, replace bulkheads, and work with county and state officials to ensure that all of the roads that need repairs or repaving are done.Wilson pointed out that improving and replacing what he called “antiquated” drainage pipes was paramount to the future of the community.“Replacing the dilapidated infrastructure is vital to providing new infrastructure for generations to come,” he explained.Wilson says maintaining the Boardwalk is vital to the tourism economy.Replenishing the beaches as well as reconstructing and modernizing the Boardwalk are also important projects to help retain the beauty of the coastal community and bolster tourism, Wilson said.“We are doing tip-to-tip beach replenishment to protect properties and homeowners and make sure visitors have a place to sit on our beautiful beaches,” he said.Another major area of concern for the community and city officials is the tract of land between 16th and 17th Streets bordered by Simpson and Haven Avenues, next to the Ocean City Community Center.Wilson said the Council and mayor want to protect that area, which encompasses an entire city block in the Third Ward.He would like to see the city acquire the land and use it for green space. Negotiations are underway for the city to buy the property from private developers who are looking to build a 22-lot housing project there.“I’ve been fighting to make sure we procure that spot to keep open space for future generations, not only the Third Ward, but the entire community,” Wilson said.“If we could keep that large tract for open space, we could have a continuous stretch of city-owned land from 15th to 21st Streets. That would be unprecedented,” he added.An architectural rendering shows the proposed housing project slated for a large piece of property the city is looking to buy to protect it from development.When asked about construction and housing stock, Wilson said there needs to be a middle ground.“It’s a delicate balance,” he said. “You need to make sure to update the continued housing stock and keep with the traditions of Ocean City upheld.”Wilson has two children, Anthony, 20, who is in college, and Julia Marie, 17, an Ocean City High School junior.He is involved in a number of community groups throughout town, including the VFW and the American Legion. He is also an avid fisherman and serves on the board of directors of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.Hartzell described Wilson as hard working, works well with Council, and is concerned with keeping taxes under control, and continued improvements to the city’s infrastructure.“When Tony got on Council it was a pivotal time. We started working on infrastructure. He hit the ground running,” Hartzell said.Hartzell said the current Council has a good working relationship to get the job done. Wilson, he said, is a big part of that.Third Ward Councilman Tony Wilson is accompanied by his children, Anthony and Julia Marie, during his swearing in by Municipal Court Judge Richard Russell after the 2016 election.last_img read more