New Millville council prepping for Cedar Drive project

Phase I of the streetscape project on Cedar Drive sidewalks will be starting soon, said Millville Town Manager Debbie Botchie at the Millville Town Council meeting this week.

Botchie said that DelDOT representatives had told her that they would be going door to door to ask for “donation easements” for sidewalk there. She explained that it was important for all property owners to be on the same page for the project to move forward.

“If one declines it, it will crush the whole project on Cedar Drive,” she emphasized, explaining that the reason for that is that is it is not a state-mandated project.

The Millville Town Council also swore in two new members this week — Robert Gordon, who also accepted the appointment of secretary, and former council member Joan Bennett.

Longtime councilman Richard Thomas, council treasurer, was sworn in again, as well. Councilman Gerry Hocker was appointed mayor and Councilman Jon Subity was appointed deputy mayor.

The town’s Planning and Zoning Commission will be looking for another member soon, as James Koozer will be resigning, said Hocker. He pleaded with Millville residents to show an interest and volunteer to get involved.

Along those lines, Bennett asked if changes in residency requirements would be considered, to make the pool of volunteers larger. In October 2010, Millville council members had looked at possibly changing residency requirements because, currently, Millville Planning and Zoning Commission members don’t have to be “bona fide” residents of the town, only property owners there.

After much discussion, no changes have been made.

Botchie explained that, because various boards and committees in the town have different language referencing eligibility rules in the town code and charter – some referencing appointees having to be property owners, some residents – they would most likely look at the subject again in a workshop environment, to clarify everything.

Hocker on Tuesday announced that the town employees will be moving over to the new town office building this week. There will be an open house April 12, before the council meeting, from 4 to 7 p.m., for anyone interested in viewing the addition.

Also on March 8, Thomas reported that the town’s February revenue was $15,558, while the total was $33,102, both for expenses for the general fund. Restricted funds came in at $7,506 on the revenue side and $95,246 for expenses.

Thomas explained that the expenses included a payment for the new town office building, so it might seem high, but he noted that they were “still well within budget.”

Botchie added that, for February, the town was over budget on the revenue side by 115 percent and still under on the expense side, at about 71 percent of the budgeted amount. She said the cost of the addition to the town hall is still less than $400,000 ($514,000 was approved).

To end the meeting, Subity, Hocker and Thomas formally welcomed Bennett and Gordon to the council and said they look forward to working together.