Farmer's market discussions continue in Millville

Millville Town Council members continued to discuss farmers’ markets at a workshop this week. David Smith of the Department of Agriculture came to talk to council members and answer questions they had about the proposed market at town hall.

Smith stated that the idea of having a market is growing. There were 16 in the state last year, bringing in $1.8 million (with the Lewes market alone making approximately $500,000), and there are 22 or 23 markets scheduled to operate this year.

He said one of the best things to do to start a market is to find a “reliable, trustworthy” market manager to run the market. Councilwoman Joan Bennett said they have a couple in mind, Linda and Harry Kent.

Councilman Jon Subity asked what specific expenses start-up markets have, and Smith answered that, for the Town of Millville, which already owns the land where they envision the market, the costs would be minimal — mainly marketing and advertising. He added that the Department of Agriculture takes ads out in print media, listing all the markets across the state.

Smith also suggested things that other markets sometimes do to bring variety to market days, such as acoustic music or cooking demos to bring people in each week.

Bennett said she believed it was “time to say yea or nay on it, because of getting in the publications and our budget deliberations coming up in March.”

The town council this week also discussed once again getting water supplied to the town hall for a potential sprinkler system in the second floor of the addition.

Councilman Richard Thomas said Tidewater’s fee would be $3,900 per year, plus the cost of running a pipe from Windmill Avenue. He said he did think they would waive a $12,000-plus hook-up charge but wanted to also look into the possibility of the town having its own water tank. Mayor Gerry Hocker noted that, at his family grocery store, they have a 30,000 gallon tank, and the cost to maintain it was not more than the yearly $500 inspection fee.

“We really can’t do anything with the sprinkler contractors until we establish a water supply,” said Thomas. He asked Code Enforcement Officer Eric Evans to look into whether the town’s generator could handle an additional 75 amp load for a tank and pump.

Also at the Jan. 23 council workshop:

• The council discussed the status of a “policy” manual for the Millville Volunteer Group. All agreed it does need modification and eventually decided that a memorandum of understanding between the town and the group could be all they need to clarify their relationship as either “formal” or “informal.” They decided they would work on it in-house and have Town Solicitor Seth Thompson review it so that all volunteers and all town council members would be clear on the relationship between the two entities.

• The council decided to place on the agenda for their next meeting the training of town staff in the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System, a free system that would allow them to better prosecute code enforcement fines and penalties.

• Robert Gordon and Eric Evans and two volunteers were certified as Ham radio operators.