Frankford citizens who want to vote in town council elections this year, or who want to run in those elections, need to move quickly, as deadlines for voter registration and council candidacy are near.
In fact, Friday, Jan. 9, is the last day for would-be voters to register or re-register with the town. They must register by the end of the business day, at town hall. Like many local towns, Frankford is supposed to clear its voter registers of those who haven’t voted in two consecutive elections, but since Frankford hasn’t held elections in four years, that mark will go a while back.
Currently, the town has only 86 registered voters, reported Town Manager Terry Truitt at the council’s Jan. 5 meeting. She noted that she has kept the voter register updated as she has become aware of residents’ deaths and moves outside the town.
With its small roll of registered voters, the town has also traditionally had scant interest from council candidates, with some council members having served for multiple decades and elections being the exception to the rule.
This year, the seats currently held by Council Members Vincent Leon-Check and Cheryl Workman are up for re-election. Both confirmed on Monday that they intend to run for another term.
Elections are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. at town hall. But if no one else files to run against the two sitting council members, the town would have no elections for the fifth year in a row and Leon-Check and Workman would simply retain their seats.
Would-be candidates need to file a letter of intent at town hall no later than Jan. 15. Candidates must be at least 21 years old, Frankford residents for at least 30 days and citizens of Delaware.
Truitt recommended renters bring in a lease agreement as proof of residency, but she generally has paperwork on file for most new homeowners.
Council members on Monday also reappointed members of the town’s existing election committee to serve as the Board of Elections for the 2009 elections, on a unanimous vote.
Police station renovations near completion
Also on Jan. 5, Police Chief William Dudley reported on significant progress on the town’s planned new police station as they have an existing building remodeled to become the new home of the town’s resurrected police department.
Currently, Dudley shares space at town hall. But he reported that the town had lucked out with some unpaid construction assistance on the renovation project in recent weeks, thanks to an offender who owed the town some community service time.
Dudley said the man – a carpenter by trade – had already put in 35 to 40 hours of work hanging drywall and, depending on his luck in finding a job, might continue to help out with the project as part of his arrangement with the judicial system.
“It’s almost done,” Dudley said, adding that with some final work by electricians and a little more construction help, all that would be left to do would be the painting.
“And Jim and I can paint it ourselves,” Dudley added of Frankford maintenance supervisor Jim Reardon.
Police work in Frankford remains relatively quiet, with Dudley reporting only six traffic arrests and a handful of police calls in December. Delaware State Police handled a few calls for Frankford in December, while Dudley was on vacation.
Dudley also warned citizens on Monday to beware of roaming animals in the area. He said an incident in nearby Dagsboro involving a rabid cat had led seven people to be treated for possible infection.
He particularly admonished citizens to stay away from any raccoons they might see out during daylight hours and to keep their own pets from roaming, lest they become infected with rabies and pose a subsequent risk to humans.
Dudley urged anyone seeing an animal they suspect might be rabid to call police immediately, so that officers can deal with it.
New water plant
ready to be built
Frankford is also looking forward to a new water plant, with the contract awarded and construction expected to start early this week, reported Reardon.
Reardon also noted that the town had been forced to relocate its salt storage for the water system to inside the old water plant, after the salt stored in an outdoor location had been stolen.
Town employees also made repairs to damage at the town park from the New Year’s Day storm and to two of the town’s holiday lights after strong winds snapped the metal straps that hold them on utility poles.
Workman noted that she had some concerns about the need for repaving on at least one state-controlled road in the town. Truitt said she was aware of the problem but that state officials had not yet approved repaving in the area, after ranking roadway repairs based on need and available financing. She said the town’s ongoing water-system repairs had exacerbated the problem, since the roads had required spotty repaving after the repairs were made.
Council President Greg Johnson said he was also frustrated with the state of a vacant home where the property is currently up for sale. He noted that the doors on the home have been left open regularly and that many of the windows are broken. Reardon offered to just go and board up the windows and doors, but Truitt said she would try to follow up with the Realtor on the property first.
Finally, Truitt proclaimed the 2008 Town of Frankford Holiday House Decorating Contest as “honestly, the best year yet.” She noted a number of long-time participants, positive comments from non-residents who drove through the town and five new participants.
This year’s “secret” judges were State Rep. John Atkins (D-41st) and his wife, Heather.