County gives engineers go-ahead to prep for sewer expansion

The Sussex County Council voted this week to allow the county engineering department to prepare and post notices for the proposed expansion of the Millville Sanitary Sewer District to include an additional 82 parcels located along Route 26 that are contiguous to the existing sewer district.

John Ashman, director of utility planning for the county, said core reason for the request is to get ahead of the DelDOT mainline improvements slated for that same area.

“The primary reason for this request is that the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has identified the Route 26 Corridor from St. Georges Church to the canal for widening and improvements. In order to be proactive and complete our mainline regional work in this area prior to the DelDOT disturbance, we need to begin working on the installation of the gravity lines and forcemain in the Phase III area of Route 26,” he said at the Oct. 2 council meeting.

“Once DelDOT has completed its work it would be approximately five years before they would allow us to re-disturb the area,” he emphasized.

Ashman said the engineering department has been coordinating with DelDOT on their plans for the Route 26 corridor and have incorporated the realignment of the St. George’s Church intersection and various other portions of the project area when developing their plans for county services in that area.

The expansion would consist of approximately 335 acres, and the owners of the parcels would be responsible for system connection charges of $6,164 per equivalent dwelling unit (EDU) based on rates from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012. He said they hope to have a public hearing scheduled for January.

County Engineer Mike Izzo said that, if they wait until after DelDOT’s improvements, costs could be “astronomical,” and if they do it now, they could possibly “fold it into” DelDOT’s project, saving money. He also said they have been contacted by Blackwater Village, a development of mostly quarter-acre lots with individual septic systems, which is farther west of St. George’s on Route 26, saying the property owners in that community had a possible interest in county sewer.

“There is a benefit to that project, as well, if this becomes a reality,” he said.

The county council also heard from Brad Whaley and Brandi Bennett of the county community development and housing department about, a new tool for property owners and seekers of affordable housing, designed to connect property owners with would-be renters or buyers. The site has been available in Sussex County since last week and has 12,000 units uploaded already, with more coming online every day.

Rentals can be posted by a landlord/property owner for free and will be available to anyone looking to view a rental in any price range. Sales listings will include publicly assisted and other affordable housing units. The site also includes a calculator to assist in finding the appropriate amount of rent or mortgage for a certain income.

Finally, the Sussex County Council this week granted $1,100 to Beebe Medical Center for their 25th annual Beebe Ball and $2,000 to the Town of Georgetown for the mayor’s Return Day reception.