Ocean View awards grant to MVFC, swears in new council

On April 26 the town of Ocean View awarded Millville Volunteer Fire Company with a grant of $68,000 from their Emergency Services Enhancement Fund.

“They do an outstanding job,” said Mayor Gordon Wood.

MVFC Chief Richie Walls accepted the grant and thanked council for their generous donation. He said that approximately $14,000 will go toward purchasing new gear for firefighters, while the remaining monies will go toward the company’s fund to purchase a new ambulance.

Last year the town awarded a similar grant to MVFC and Walls gave council a brief overview of what they were able to purchase with the funds.

“We ended up buying the 20 sets of fire gear, 10 new fire helmets. We bought five sets of new boots for the newer members coming in or for the ones that needed to be replaced. And between the rescue gloves and the firefighting gloves, which are two different things, we ended up with almost thirty sets,” he said. Adding, “It was a big help and I do very much appreciate it.”

He noted that the cost for fire gear, from head to toe costs approximately $9,000, while the just the coat and pants run about $2,000.

The town also held its reorganization meeting where Ocean View Police Chief swore in Mayor Gordon Wood for his second term and Tom Sheeran as District 3 councilman.

Former councilman Perry Mitchell was recognized by council for his service to the town and gifted a plaque and gift certificate to the Café on 26.

“Having people willing to provide time and talents to our town is a valued asset here in Ocean View… being willing to subject one’s self to the uncertainties of an election is also something of value,” said Wood. “Perry, thank you for your willingness to listen and for your service to Ocean View. I think we’ve accomplished a lot in three years.”

Following, councilman Geoff Christ nominated councilman Bob Lawless to remain Mayor Pro Tem for the next three years. He was appointed with a 3-0 vote.

Wood noted that since the announcement that town manager Conway Gregory would not be renewing his contract with the town that he had been approached by numerous people regarding a search committee.

“It caused a lot of thinking,” said Wood. “It’s a little bit like putting the cart before the horse. Before you can start a search committee you have to know what you’re looking for. There has to be a good look at the job description and should it be revised.”

He suggested that council take a “good look” at the town’s management structure.

“All of the department heads are extremely capable. We may want to look at what role the town manager plays in the overall supervision of those departments,” agreed Christ.

Wood said that he had put in a call to University of Delaware President Pat Harker to ask if there was someone there who may be able to guide the town through such a process and is waiting for a response.

“I think it’s really critical at this point we have specific capabilities of our town manager. We have extraordinary capabilities in our finance director. Going forward, looking down the road, three, four, five years hence, do we need exactly those skill sets or should we be looking at alternatives,” asked Lawless.

“I think this is an opportunity for us without the pressure of immediate need to replace, for us to take a careful look at what skills do we need to have managing our town. This discussion should be as open and as free and seeking of input of our citizens as our budget process was.”

In other town news:

• Wood announced the town received notice that the lease for the land owned by the Freeman Companies behind the Wallace A. Melson Municipal Building for a Public Works building has been signed by the Freeman Companies and their bank. Council voted to allow Wood to sign the lease on behalf of the town.

“This is a wonderful happening as far as our town is concerned and we are yet again greatly indebted to the Freeman Family. We will be able to proceed at a proper and appropriate pace to meet our Public Works Building needs,” said Wood.

Lawless requested that a time be set up for council to meet with Michelle Freeman so they may publically thank her.

• Council adopted the meeting schedule for the upcoming year with a 3-0, holding council meetings on the second Tuesday of each month and workshops on the fourth. One minor change being that The regularly scheduled May 10 meeting was rescheduled to May 17 at 6 p.m.