It was a return to some sense of normalcy for the Dagsboro Town Council meeting on Monday, June 15, albeit via a teleconference with everyone in their own locations dialing in for the affair.
Mayor Brian Baull and Council Members Theresa Ulrich, William Chandler, Norwood Truitt, and Patrick Miller all were on the call, as was Town Administrator Cindi Brought, to discuss matters in the town in their first official meeting since Monday, March 16.
Items such as the Dagsboro Police Department ‘s regular report, as well as the potential for appeals on property tax assessments highlighted the meeting’s agenda. However, the biggest order of business came during the discussion of whether or not to purchase a chlorine injection system for the town’s water supply.
It was brought to the town council’s attention that the chlorine levels in the town’s water have been low or non-existent when it reaches the interconnect from Millsboro, which is currently the town’s water supplier. Discussion ranged from whether to purchase a chlorine injection system — to the tune of $40,000 to 50,000 — or see if it was possible to request if Artesian could handle regulating the chlorine levels as part of their contract with the Town to take over its water service in a year or two.
Council members asked Brought to see if Artesian would consider the request. Truitt expressed concern about spending the $20,000 to 40,000 on the injection system for it to be pointless in a year or two.
“The hardware for the system is about $20,000, if not more” Brought said. “Most of it is going be checking on the system, and who’s making that decision. Now, the only thing I will say about that is we all know if [Millsboro] get levels to the interconnect at the levels that they are supposed to, then we don’t have any problems. So, let’s keep that in mind as well.”
Brought expressed that Artesian is not likely to do the monitoring for free.
“I guess we could go to Artesian, and say, ‘When you do take over, and if we would decide to put this system in, would they be able to use it, and purchase it from us, maybe?” Brought added. “I mean, I guess that would be an alright question. We can put it out there and ask.”
Council directed to Brought to reach out to Artesian to get their opinion on the situation, and then report back to council at their July meeting.
The council this week also unanimously approved Artesian’s yearly service contract, with a slight increase of about $340 to the Town.
Water billing poses challenges for the Town
Brought also discussed the issues with the water billing system, saying, “It’s just been horrible.”
“I don’t know what we are going to do,” Brought admitted. “I am sitting around waiting to see if Rick Duncan,” who is executive director of the Delaware Rural Water Association, as well as a Selbyville Town Council member, “and Sen. [Gerald] Hocker can come up with any money for us to purchase all these registers.
“It’s around $40,000. They claim that isn’t a whole lot of money. So I’m hoping that they can find a way — Rick Duncan is the one that’s really working on it, I believe. They’re supposed to get back to me, I hope soon. The sooner we can get all of these replaced, the better.”
Brought said that if they cannot get the money (through Duncan and Hocker), then they may need to look at getting the money from somewhere within.
“I think Cindi is right,” Chandler said. “If we cannot get some help on the funding for these meters, then I think we are just going to have to bite the bullet, and find money in our own budget. We’ve got money in CDs — we might have to use that, because that’s got to be fixed. It cannot continue the way it is.”
Property tax bills to go out by July 1
There were no property tax assessment appeals submitted for the council to review or hear during the meeting. All property tax bills will be generated and sent out to property owners by July 1. Payment will be due by Sept. 30. Any payments that are made by Aug. 15 will be given a 3 percent discount, but those payments not received by Oct. 1 will be assessed a 1 percent penalty rate.
Payments can be made by check (either at Town Hall or mailed to P.O. Box 420) or online at dagsboro.delaware.gov. Property owners should specify that they are paying property taxes and the address of the property.
The council unanimously approved the property tax assessments for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Police to get part-time help
The Dagsboro Police Department requested the town council approved adding some part-time officers into the mix to help with staff shortages. The idea was presented by Dagsboro Police Chief Steven Flood, with his request being to have one or even a few additional officers to come in and work no more than 30 hours per week.
The proposal would keep the costs down vs. hiring a full-time officer at the moment, which would require a full-time salary plus benefits. Ideally, Flood said, he hopes to hire some veteran officers from other local departments who are looking to make some extra money while helping the department cover some staff needs.
The council unanimously approved the request, and Flood will likely have someone hired in the coming weeks.