Millville considers county numbering

In modern-day Millville, development seems to affect everything. One week after Ocean View held a public hearing to consider the adoption of Sussex County’s 911 five-digit house-numbering system, on April 4, Millville officials plan to do the same, at their council meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11.

According to Town Manager Linda Collins, they plan to do so because addressing all of the new homes set to be built in the town is too big of a task for the town staff. And, she added, the county will perform the duty for free.

“It’s such a big job,” Collins said, “And they’ll do it for nothing. We’d be crazy not to take the resource.”

The house-numbering would not affect current residents, however, who already changed their addresses when the town sent its information to the county to be entered into the 911 system, about two years ago, according to Millville Mayor Gary Willey.

Like Bethany Beach, Millville opted to send its own addressing system into the county, rather than have the county readdress the town’s with five-digit addresses. Dagsboro is the only town in the immediate area that has allowed county officials to completely readdress its structures.

When a satisfactory system (one that leaves room for growth, for example) is sent to the county, Sussex officials enter it into a county-wide map. Once updated, county officials send the map to the Emergency Operations Center in Georgetown, where it is used to screen calls. When an address is entered into the system, emergency callers no longer have to provide the dispatcher with an address. They don’t even have to be able to talk when calling for emergency assistance.

A grid system in the center shows the location of the house when the call is made, making it easier for emergency officials to find the house that has the emergency, speeding response times.

“It allows us to locate someone a lot quicker,” said Joe Thomas, the director of the emergency center.

Millville is only considering the five-digit system — rather its own — for new homes because of the amount of new homes planned, town officials said.

Although they are not yet approved, about 3,000 are homes going through the planning system in Millville. Millville by the Sea builders alone will place about 2,500 new homes in the town, which might, by 2015, overshadow burgeoning Ocean View.

“That’s why we’re doing it,” Willey said. “They have offered to do it for free, and we’d be silly to pass that up. It takes a lot of time.”

County officials started readdressing the unincorporated parts of the county more than eight years ago. While the county has not yet received all of the county towns’ information, all of the rural areas in the county — besides some parts outside of Bethany Beach — have been readdressed.

Donna Pusey, the county’s 911 addressing supervisor, said the goal is to have 95 percent of the county’s addresses on the county’s system. Half of that goal has not yet been accomplished, she said.

“Once we get that information, we can key it into our database so at least we have some reference points (for the dispatchers),” Pusey said.