Millville officials discuss design costs, Beebe

The Millville Town Council discussed spending $5,000 to draft Design Standards for Millville as specified in the newly instated Comprehensive Plan during their July 28 regular council meeting.

Councilman Michael Jeffers believed the draft would be a proactive step in light of expected future development. Treasurer Richard Thomas voiced his reservations on the issue, expressing concern about the effects on existing businesses. The Council is set to vote on the draft during their August meeting.

The Council also discussed the acquiring a property adjacent to Town Hall. The property, which is currently owned by Thomas, would be used for parking expansion. The property was appraised by Millville by the Sea at $110,000. Thomas also had the cost of clearing the property and the placement of gravel estimated at $40,000. The property includes a well with a .005 iron level which could also benefit the town. Councilman Gerry Hocker was interested in the property, stating it would be an advantage for future expansions. Jeffers was also interested in the property for parking expansion — however, he expressed concern regarding the estimated clearing cost.

The Council did not vote on the acquisition of the property. A vote will be taken at a future meeting once the property value and proposed clearing costs have been reappraised.

However, the Council did vote 5-0 in approval of the “Consent and Confirmation of Town of Millville,” which acknowledged the current status of Beebe Medical Center, Inc. as a public entity, allowing its current and future property to be exempt from taxation and assessments. This includes special development district taxes, and the ability to make voluntary contributions to the special development district.

Two Millville properties were discussed as dangerous buildings. The house at 530 Atlantic Ave., across from Casapulla’s, is overgrown with vines and weeds to the point where it is barely visible. The town contacted the owners, who reside in Maryland, and they are in the process of getting estimates to tear down the house. Another property, at 523 Atlantic Ave., has been classified as a dangerous building; however, the Council was unsure if it was an aesthetic or structural issue. Eric Evans of URS, Corp., an engineering and construction firm who consults the town, had sent letters to the property owner, who agreed to get estimates on removing the building. In July the owner informed the town that he lacked the funds to demolish the house. The Council appointed Kyle Gulbronson of URS to discuss the situation with Evans before the Council votes on forming a Dangerous Building Committee.

Millville’s grant covering free curbside recycling will expire Oct. 31. The town currently has 125 residents using the curbside recycling system under its Clean and Green Initiative. The town will send out a letter to residents, asking them if they would like to continue voluntary recycling, at a cost of $78 per year. The service includes 26 pick-ups per year, free containers provided by Delaware Solid Waste, if requested, and complimentary pick-up at town hall. All were in favor of the program and see it as an opportunity to solicit more participation from the community.

The Council also discussed having an exclusive solid waste contract. Advantages mentioned of using one waste removal service include:

• Keeps one truck and one day for pick-ups in subdivisions and residential areas;

• Preserves the roads in subdivisions (not DelDot standard);

• Safety: one truck per week in a subdivision;

• Aesthetics: one trash can out at the same time each week; and

• Conserves fuel

Trash pick-up would be voluntary. However, if residents do choose to use a hauler, they would be required to use the one provided by the town. No vote was taken on the issue, which will be discussed further at another town council meeting.

The Council reviewed and discussed a Gross Rental Receipt Tax of up to 5 percent, which the Council would set annually. The Council discussed amending its own ordinance to guarantee future revenue, should the state legislature try to appropriate it. This ordinance would give the township priority over the Gross Rental Receipt tax, with the state receiving the surplus.

Exemptions to the tax would be owner owned and run businesses, such as Lord’s Nursery, Bank’s Spirits and Bennett’s U-Haul. Proponents of the ordinance believe that this will provide the town with a permanent source of income, encourage small business owners to purchase their own property, provide more safety funding in the business community, and preempt the state from collecting the tax first. A draft of the ordinance is to be made, and discussed at a future council meeting.