County to finally add four troopers under contract

The Sussex County Council announced on Aug. 21, that the County would resume terms of their contract with the Delaware State Police and would add four additional troopers in the coming year.

Under a 2007 agreement, Sussex County pays for additional officers to be assigned to patrols in the county. The County pays for a portion of the salaries of the 40 additional troopers, above the normal complement already assigned to the three DSP troops in Sussex. Under the contract, four more troopers were to be added every year after 2007, but County and State officials agreed in 2009 to temporarily delay adding those officers until economic conditions improved.

Officials announced on Tuesday that the number of troopers assigned to Sussex under the contract will finally increase by four officers, to 44 additional troopers, by the spring of 2013. The new officers will begin training at the State Police Academy this fall.

“Our citizens want to feel safe in their communities. They expect that, and they expect government to provide enough police, paramedics and firefighters to keep their families safe,” County Council President Michael H. Vincent said. “This renewed commitment today is an investment in public safety, one that strengthens the law-enforcement presence and, hopefully, reminds criminals that Sussex County belongs not to them, but to the people.”

County Administrator Todd Lawson said the additional officers will cost the County about $49,000 each, but that will decrease to about $44,000 in the third year.

Lawson also reported on Tuesday that there was “very little change” in the County’s requests under the draft of DelDOT’s Capital Transportation Program requests — including improvements to the county’s east/west routes and improvements to local roads because of increased use and traffic. He said that, in light of the Phase 1 runway extension at the county airport, the County also remains supportive of the Park Avenue/Truck Route 9 realignment, which will be a “true bypass around the town of Georgetown.”

He also mentioned Councilman George Cole’s request for DART bus stop selection and improvements and Councilwoman Joan Deaver’s request for bicycle safety.

He asked that, if county council members had any changes to make to the draft, that they give them to staff in the next two weeks, while council is on a break from meeting, and said staff will present them at DelDOT’s public workshop in Georgetown.

The DelDOT hearings provide an opportunity to review current and suggested transportation projects. The hearings also include capital investments for DART First State public transit and will be used to satisfy the public involvement requirements of Federal Transit Administration Section 5307, according to DelDOT.

The public hearings will be held in an open-house format, with a court reporter available to take public comment. The public is also being encouraged to submit written comments during the public hearing process. The Sussex County hearing will be held on Sept. 13, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the DelDOT South District Administration Building, 23697 DuPont Boulevard, Georgetown. Project information will be displayed, and there will be opportunities for discussion with DelDOT and County representatives.

To view the entire Draft CTP for 2012 through 2018, visit the DelDOT Web site under Publications.

In other news from the Aug. 21 council meeting, the council made some changes to pension plans, per a recommendation from the Pension Committee, and Julie Wheatley announced that the Sussex County Economic Development Office has a new and improved Web site where people can learn about the services and loan products that they offer. That Web address is County Finance Director Susan Webb explained that they have made three successful loans since 2004, and Deaver asked if they were doing enough.

“It seems like a great opportunity” Cole said of the loans.

“Hence the advertising on our Web site” replied Webb. “And with the pre-application acting as a filter — the application is 16 to 20 pages. It is not for fly by night companies.”

“A lot of people weren’t aware of it,” noted Vincent.

“This is the first step,” offered Lawson. “The information has been there. It just hasn’t been publicly known.”

Cole then asked if the County couldn’t also sponsor a job fair, saying he knows the County participates in them, but council members get asked what the County is doing about jobs. Wheatley said that while they participate in them, it was a possibility that the County could host one, as well.

For the complete council packet for this week’s meeting, including Whealtey’s presentation on economic development and Webb’s full report on the pension committee recommendations, go online to, go to “online services,” then “agendas and minutes,” click on Aug. 21 and then click “packet.”