Ocean View makes $160k grant to Millville fire department

The Ocean View Town Council unanimously voted last week to grant the Millville Volunteer Fire Company $160,000 to help pay down the principal loan monies owed from the purchase of two new ambulances, and one new traffic control unit, that are currently in service and operated by the company.

Bob Powell, public information officer for the MVFC, explained on March 8 that, in July 2014, the company had put the two ambulances into service.

“Running the fire company is not something that is inexpensive,” said Powell. “Each one of those ambulances cost $295,000… We also needed the new fire-police vehicle because we were actually using an old piece of fire apparatus… We needed our fire police to be very well equipped, so when we get into a working situation where traffic needs to be flowing smoothly… this truck allows us to do that.”

The council voted 4-0 to grant MVFC $160,000 out of the Town’s Emergency Services Enhancement Fund.

Mayor Walter Curran said that perhaps, at a future time, the council would want to discuss putting a cap on the granted amount or make additional stipulations.

“It’s something to think about,” he said.

Curran also briefly discussed the potential $35 fee to be charged by Towns to support the ambulance service provided by MVFC.

“At the last meeting, there seemed to be a sense of urgency. In one respect, there is, but by the same token, some of us were under the impression it would be in our fiscal year, which is different than the calendar year,” said Curran.

“Turns out, we have until the end of 2016 to finalize that. Everyone can take a couple of deep breaths and look at it. Our council is working on a proposed contract. We do have time. We don’t need to rush into that. No need to do that at all.”

Resident Gary Cordier said he understands the notion of emergency services and doesn’t want to be short-sighted but asked the council to take its time in deciding whether or not to enter into a contract with MVFC for the ambulance service fee.

“I’m not sure we’ve done the necessary due diligence as a town,” he said.

Cordier referenced a letter sent to the Delaware State Fire Commission mentioning five material weaknesses in the financial reports, specific to MVFC.

“This is about making sure we understand where our dollars are going and that they’re being spent accordingly.”

Curran recognized Cordier’s concerns and said the Town has “very rigid parameters” for where its grant monies go.

As for the possibility of a mandatory ambulance service fee, Curran said the Town has a whole year to look at whether they will go along with the service.

“Again, I’m not against the concept — I just want to make sure we’re doing the right thing,” said Cordier.

In other Town news:

• The council introduced the budget for the 2017 fiscal year at Tuesday night’s meeting. The draft budget, which must be adopted in April, currently does not project a tax increase. Citizens wishing to view the proposed budget may do so by visiting the Town’s website or stopping by the administrative offices in the Wallace A. Melson Municipal Building.

• Resident Bob Bacon resigned from his position on the Town’s Board of Adjustment, due to personal reasons.

“I, for one, would like to thank Mr. Bacon,” said Curran. “He has served for quite a few years in this capacity.”

• The Ocean View Police Department’s newest officer, AnnMarie Dalton, graduated from the Delaware State Police Academy in February and has begun her 10-week field training with the Town.

OVPD Chief Ken McLaughlin said Dalton received the Core Value Award at her graduation, which is presented to the “recruit who most exemplifies the spirit of both the division’s and the academy core values on honesty, integrity, courage, loyalty, attitude and discipline.”

McLaughlin also noted that officers Nick Harrington and Justin Hopkins were recognized at the Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards in February for the heroism they displayed when responding to an incident in which a young child had been shot.

• Plans for the Town’s annual Homecoming are moving along, with the event scheduled for Saturday, May 14. The event currently has four sponsors and 10 crafter/vendors signed up to participate.