By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(Sept. 22, 2022) When asked what makes him the man to lead Berlin’s District 4, incumbent Councilmember Dean Burrell didn’t miss a beat.
It’s his life experience.
“My love and devotion to this town and my understanding of what this town needs, both residential and commercial,” he said. “We have a vibrant downtown and I would not be in favor of anything I felt threatened that validity of downtown Berlin.”
Burrell has been in Berlin for 25 years. He’s a college graduate who majored in sociology. He’s worked as the director of the Head Start Program for ShoreUp! Berlin and now works full-time at Atlantic General Hospital in the patient accounting office, after years of volunteering there. He is married with three children, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
He said he sees several issues that he’d like to continue working through if reelected.
Burrell brought up what he described as “environmentally friendly and planned development” in the town.
“Berlin cannot stay the way it is if it expects to flourish,” he said. “We need environmentally friendly growth that will benefit the folks that come here and who’s already here and the folks who own property here. The residential areas are very important to me because I think people that live in the Town of Berlin expect a certain quality of life and I feel that is one of the responsibilities of the mayor and council to ensure that folks here can have a peaceful and serene life in the Town of Berlin.”
Burrell’s opponent, Tony Weeg, has been a vital cog in the effort to bring a skate park to Berlin, an endeavor that over the summer has become one of the hot-button issues for the town. Burrell said he isn’t against a skate park at all, but he’d like to see it serve the community well — especially concerning where it goes.
“A location for one is more than just ‘I think it should go here or there,’” he said. “There needs to be a deliberate and planned residential input into those types of decisions and above all, there needs to be engineering input into those decisions because the stormwater management of the town is very necessary and you never know … we don’t have the knowledge or expertise to know how a skate park would impact how we manage stormwater. Therefore we need engineering input.”
Burrell also brought up the importance of funding the town’s fire and EMS departments.
He’s also heard the chatter about improving government transparency, which he said is concerning.
“I know for my involvement with the mayor and council of the Town of Berlin, those folks, we are a council that is people who would not stand for things not being done right,” Burrell said. “Sometimes our decisions in the town and the council come into question but I believe each person on that council when they cast a vote, they’re doing what they feel is best for the Town of Berlin.
“No, we don’t always agree but that is expected because we’re all different from different backgrounds and life experiences. I would be suspicious of a council that always agreed and always had those discussions. But I know that folks on this council make decisions on what they feel is in the best interest of the town of Berlin and that is expected.”
Ultimately, Burrell sees his worth to the town coming down to where his heart is.
“I’m the one for the job because I have a vision and that understanding (of what is best for Berlin’s residents). My motives for running for the council seat of District 4 in the Town of Berlin are not selfish ones. I sit here ready to give myself to ensure the wellbeing and love of our town.”