Code Red: Selbyville approves new emergency notifications

When an emergency strikes a town, from severe weather to a burst water main, town hall needs to contact residents in a timely manner. But what is the best system to do that?

The Town of Selbyville will expand its notification system this fall to include telephone alerts, as the town council voted on Oct. 5 to try a trial year of the CodeRED automatic alert system.

Officials at town hall or the Selbyville Police Department will be able use the system to send automated phone calls to all landline phones in Selbyville. All residents’ landlines will be automatically enrolled, since CodeRED contracts with the State and already has that information. Citizens can also add cell phones or other contact information, if they so choose.

If an alert only affects a certain neighborhood, the Town can also specifically target residents of that street or area.

If no one picks up the call the system will leave a message if possible, or retry the call if the line is busy or without an answering machine.

At $2,000 for the first year, this is less expensive than similar services, since CodeRED already has the data, said Police Chief W. Scott Collins.

Selbyville currently uses Nixle email alerts, but only 46 people have subscribed, Collins said.

Modular models, maybe?

The Town of Selbyville has received a request for approval for two display model homes to be located on Route 113. Brett Reilly of TAPA Homes is renting office space in the Sandy Branch shopping center on S. DuPont Boulevard. He requested to display two modular homes on the property.

That would require a temporary foundation, electricity and temporary stairs. He said he does not want the houses to be lived in, so there will be no plumbing. Sheds and construction materials will not be stored there, either.

TAPA Homes sells and assembles Pleasant Valley modular homes, which would be shipped to Selbyville in four truckloads, for a one-story and a two-story structure.

The houses would likely remain on the site for 18 to 24 months at a time, until a homebuyer decided to purchase and move them. The house styles may change in that time, as manufacturers keep up with new trends and building codes.

However, the Town needn’t fear his “jumping ship” in the middle of the night, Reilly said, since he’d rather sell the models and then leave.

Reilly said TAPA had a Dagsboro outpost before the recession, but decided to “cut costs” at the time. But that didn’t include the model home setup he’s now proposing.

“I’ve never done this before,” Reilly said.

“We haven’t either!” Mayor Clifton Murray and Councilman Clarence “Bud” Tingle Jr. said simultaneously.

Council members seemed open to the idea, but they must check zoning codes, signage, allowable uses and the tax structure to see if it is even allowed.

In other Selbyville news:

• The Selbyville Police Department is still short-staffed, as one officer was injured and another plans to move at some point in the near future. Collins is using some officers who were hired to cover Mountaire to help on night shifts.

State Probation & Parole officers will also provide extra coverage on parade and trick-or-treat nights.

• Collins gave an update on the perceived speeding problem on Gumboro Road. Last month, residents had voiced concerns about cars and tractor-trailers speeding on the residential road.

When SPD monitored the street, Collins said, only five or six vehicles out of 130 were clocked at 10 mph or more over the speed limit.

Although Mountaire-owned trucks aren’t supposed to use that road, Mountaire’s Jay Griffith said hired contractors can take any route they want. However, “When they’re pulling our trailers, then we can control it.”

• Though it’s now on a very delayed schedule, Selbyville’s new water filtration system is still on the horizon. The design has taken a long time to get through the state approval process.

“I understand the issues. I’m not happy about this,” said Jason Loar, the principal/engineer of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc.

The new building will contain towers that strip gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether) from tap water. Council members noted that some aesthetics of the project may be on the chopping block as designers try to cut costs. However, the towers could be enclosed under a more attractive rooftop in the future.

The project could go to bid in December, nearly one year later than the original target date.

• The Town’s wastewater treatment center will be needing more repairs and upgrades in the coming months, from dealing with a corroding set of water gates to replacing the old disinfectant system with sodium hypochlorite (basically, bleach).

• The Lions Club’s Selbyville Halloween Parade is scheduled for Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.

• The council voted to donate its usual amount of $400 to the Friends of Selbyville Public Library.

The town council’s next regular meting will be Monday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m.