Referendum vote a sign of informed residents


The Town of Selbyville held a referendum on July 20 on a resolution to authorize the issuance of up to $1.4 million in bonds to provide for the installation of new drinking wells.

This stems from a study in 2009 that discovered a well in the town to be over the state-regulated limit of a chemical known as MTBE — a chemical, by the way, that gasoline companies add to gasoline. After that test, the town began working with the Delaware Division of Public Health and Social Services, and subsequently applied to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program for funding for new wells.

Through that program, Selbyville will be given a $1.4 million loan at zero-percent interest. Not a bad deal, right? Well, the real kicker is that the town will not have to repay that loan once the project is finished.

Clean water. No public monies. Win-win, right?

Well, the people of the town certainly appear to agree. After the votes were tallied, the final numbers were announced: 201 votes in favor of the resolution.

And that’s it. There were 0 votes against.

Keep in mind that there are only about 430 registered voters in the town. That means nearly half the registered voters in Selbyville showed up to vote for this referendum, and every single one of them agreed that this was a good thing.

We might be on the brink of something spectacular here. When was the last time a vote was taken, anywhere, that was this completely one-sided? Granted, this was a no-brainer, as a no-cost well that provides clean drinking water should pretty much be a no-brainer. But you still have to be impressed by the turnout for a town referendum and the result.

We want to take a moment here to applaud the efforts of Selbyville officials to identify the problem they had, publicize it very well to the town’s residents and explain the situation in its entirety. That effort by the town led to the residents being informed of the situation, which in turn led to a 201-0 vote on the issue.

Many of the people we talk with at the paper complain that their towns do not do a good enough job of informing their residents of what’s happening. Granted, that frustrates us, as well, as it is also our responsibility to inform people of the things that impact their lives.

Perhaps this illustrates what can happen when town officials work together for a common cause — the people they were elected to represent.