The Dagsboro Town Council held a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 22, to listen to residents on their support or opposition to the proposed change in the water rates.
After close to 30 minutes of discussion, council members unanimously voted to approve the proposed water rate to a $35 monthly charge for all users, and a usage charge of $4.15-per-1,000 gallons used.
This was a change from $40 per month, with a 3,000-gallon usage allowance.
The new rate change was proposed following a study done by Jean Holloway of Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc. Holloway was in attendance to answer additional questions from council, and to clarify some issues brought up by residents in the audience.
Several residents that were in attendance voiced their support, while there appeared to be just as many who were not in favor of the new rates.
“I’ve attended all the meetings so far regarding the water, and after hearing the presentation, I am in favor of the change,” said Cathy Flowers. “I think it will really be beneficial for those people that don’t use a lot of water, and it won’t change the rates very much for those of us who use the normal 3,000 gallons.”
Nancy Marvel was the first to speak up to oppose the rate change.
“I’m at the end of the (water) line, and I am against the rate increase,” she said. “Nobody’s fixed my water yet. I have the worst water you can possibly get. I’ve got terrible water. Nobody seems to care to fix mine. I don’t see paying for stuff that I have to buy bottled water every day. I have to have a bottled system in my home that I have to pay monthly. It’s horrible.”
Before there was a vote taken, Councilperson William Chandler sympathized with Marvel’s water plight, and vowed to make sure that the town fixed her poor quality of water.
“There’s gotta be a remedy, and we’re gonna find it, to Nancy and (Nancy’s husband) Eddie’s problem because that’s not right,” Chandler expressed. “We’re going to find a solution to your problem.”
The biggest reason for the rate change as noted by Mayor Brian Baull is that the town is currently operating the water system at a near-$17,000 deficit, and council needed to do something to change that.
The new rates will not take effect until the January 2019 billing cycle.
Other notes from the meeting:
• Council introduced the new Town Solicitor Greg Morris, from the law firm of Liguori & Morris. That office is based out of Dover.
• Council also agreed to the reduction of the bond for the Fernmoor Homes at Woodlands of Peppers Creek to $150,000 from just over $372,000.
• A notice for a solicitation of candidates for two town council seats was announced. The nominations for candidates may be filed on forms available at the Town Hall, or on the website at dagsboro.delaware.gov through 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9. The two seats both have two-year terms for 2019 and 2020.
By Jason Feather