Plans now in hand for Selbyville water plant

Selbyville made headway on the new water filtration system that will fill a whole building.

Town Council approved the winning bid for a system intended to strip gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether) from town tap water.

They got four bids, ranging from $2,221,000 low to $2,765,000. Council voted on March 14 to award the contract to apparent low bidder M2 Construction of Landisville, Pa.

The price-tag is within the expected range. In a 2013 referendum, residents approved a $2,526,300 loan from Delaware Drinking Water Revolving Fund. With zero-percent interest and principal forgiveness upon project completion, this is basically grant money.

Bidding occurred about one year later than originally expected, since design and state permitting took longer than expected.

Fortunately, the digging of new town wells has already improved Selbyville’s water source in the last year. Resident Lucille Creel told Town Council the water has tasted better lately. That’s because the water is better quality and needs fewer chemicals, said Councilmember Rick Duncan Sr.

This is a one-year construction contract, whenever it begins. There’s still paperwork to do, and actual construction could begin, at the very least, in two months.

Town budget approved

Town Council unanimously approved a budget for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2017.

“It’s just a guideline we go by to kind of keep us in line,” said Councilmember Clarence “Bud” Tingle Jr..

Budgeted income and expenses both equal about $3.89 million, an increase from last year’s $3.6 million.

Compared to last year’s budget, some major income increases include Realty transfer taxes, expected to jump by about 50 percent to $225,000, and licenses and permits increasing by about 40 percent to $230,000.

Between increases in sewer billings, licenses, permits and commercial user fees, total sewer income will increase by 18 percent to $1,579,620. That’s about 41 percent of Selbyville’s income.

Water Department income will increase by about 10 percent to $697,000.

Selbyville will continue to receive $57,000 in Municipal Street Aid from the State of Delaware.

Town salaries cost about $1,135,300. Police wages are about $489,900, which is a similar number for all other police-related expenses.

The sewer system (not salary-related) costs about 30 percent of the budget. That $1.155 million is up by about 30 percent from last year.

Water expenses (not salary) also increased to $468,000.

The budget is posted at Town Hall, where detailed financial statements are available for public viewing.

In other Selbyville news:

• Selbyville Public Library is completing a Needs Assessment Study. The public survey can be completed online at or in person.

A public brainstorming session will be held April 4 at 6 p.m.

“This is the time to dream big,” said Director Kelly Kline of potential expansions. “Anything on the wish list could be considered. So please come out.”

• The new police officer is patrolling the streets and doing well, said Chief W. Scott Collins. A new vehicle is about to come into service, too.

• The Youth Art Month reception was another successful event. Creel told the story of a little boy, years ago, who was “walking taller than ever” because he got to meet the mayor at the show. “So you don’t think you’re very important, but you are,” Creel told council.

• Because Selbyville is participating in the state program, people and sub-divisions can request spraying by Mosquito Control Section to reduce bugs and larvae. Just call Town Hall.

• Planning and Zoning has some action as a developer revamps some old plans.

Selbyville Town Village annexed into town years ago, but the housing project never began on Route 54. Now that Selbyville has new zoning options, the developer intends to re-draw its plans for a more interesting land concept (Town council will vote on the new plans later). Construction would happen in phases.

“The good news is we’re moving forward on that project,” said Councilmember Jay Murray. “It’s been around here a long time.”

The developer is asking for a change in zoning to reduce the 30-acre neighborhood businesses zone to about 6 acres. Town council had a straw vote of approval, but will ask the town solicitor’s input before voting officially.

• With state approval, Town Council passed a resolution to annex land on Cemetery Road into town. It’s currently owned by Eugene R. Parker, formerly owned by the O’Neal family. Council also voted to amend the Comprehensive Plan to place this in the R-4 Residential District, rather than the commercial district in which the area was originally envisioned.

• The next regular Selbyville Town Council meeting is Monday, April 4, at 7 p.m.