After 27 years working for the federal government, Anthony Sinibaldi believes he has developed the knowledge and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed as a city councilman.
Sinibaldi, 57, is running against Jay Bancroft for the District 3 council seat in the July 28 election. The winner will replace Jen Wallace, who did not seek a third term. District 3 covers the southwest part of Newark and includes Devon, Binns, Arbour Park, Barksdale Estates, College Park, Newark Preserve, Abbotsford, Twin Lakes and surrounding neighborhoods.
A Newark native, Sinibaldi attended Downes Elementary, Central Middle and Newark High before graduating from West Nottingham Academy in Colora, Md. He earned an associates degree at Delaware Technical and Community College and then joined the Navy Reserves.
He served as an equipment operator in the Navy Seabees and later joined the Delaware Army National Guard. In 2003, he spent a year serving in Iraq, where he was stationed at the Baghdad Airport.
He has worked for the Veterans Administration for 27 years, currently serving as an education specialist and mediator at the VA hospital in Elsmere.
After spending some time living elsewhere in the state, he moved back to Newark a decade ago and now resides in the Binns neighborhood.
“The last 10 years, I’ve been following the local politics and I was growing more concerned with each passing year with some of the decisions that were made and some of the things that we’re spending money on,” Sinibaldi said. “If you want to affect change, if you want to be part of change, you have to get involved. I’m active in my church, and I equate the same concept to the community. If you want to be part of your community, you got to get involved.”
He called for more fiscal responsibility, criticizing council’s 2014 decision to spend $180,000 on solar-power trash compactors for Main Street. The trash cans have been a popular target for critics ever since, though officials say they reduce labor, saving $25,000 per year in avoided overtime costs.
“I’m not trying to Monday morning quarterback it, but I think fiscal responsibility on the front end certainly pays dividends down the road,” Sinibaldi said.
If elected, he will get a chance to apply that fiscal discipline early on because one of his first major tasks will be participating in the 2021 budget process, which will begin this fall. The pandemic has already cost the city nearly $14 million in lost revenue, and next year’s budget is looking rough as well, officials said.
Sinibaldi said, if necessary, he would look to cut services rather than raise taxes.
“I’m not saying most people in District 3 are retired, but there’s quite a few of them who are on fixed incomes,” he said. “Even a small tax increase is going to be significant for them. So I think that should be our last resort to raise taxes. We just raised taxes with the last budget.”
He said he would have to look at the budget more closely to know what cuts to make.
“Being a new council member, I would have to lean on my other colleagues and certainly the mayor and the department heads within the city to see what cuts could be made and which ones make sense and would be the least painful,” he said.
Another of his priorities is updating the codes and regulations surrounding development projects. For example, he said, many of the residents in his district were not happy about Lang Development Group’s hotel on Main Street. Perhaps that project could have been prevented if there were more stringent restrictions on height and other factors, he said.
“The city was hamstrung. There was nothing they could do about it,” Sinibaldi said. “They can’t keep doing what they’re doing. They’re getting outmaneuvered.”
One area where Sinibaldi strongly disagrees with Wallace and Bancroft is on police reform. Wallace has called for a task force to look at ways to rethink policing in Newark, and Bancroft said that, if elected, he would continue that effort.
Sinibaldi said he doesn’t see any need for reforms.
“There’s an old saying, there’s no bones in ice cream. Don’t go sniffing around for something that’s not there. I don’t understand what her motivation is, other than the fact it’s kind of the me too mentality,” Sinibaldi said. “It’s catching on like wildfire. It started in Minneapolis and now it’s spreading all over the country to Portland and Seattle. I don’t necessarily understand it. I don’t think you should throw the baby out with the bathwater, because someone has to be around to uphold law and order.”