Belinko helps cut ribbon at Millville park (copy)

Then-Millville vice mayor, and now Mayor, Ron Belinko, right, helps cut the ribbon for the opening of Evans Park at Millville in March 2021. The new park remains a question-mark in the Town's budget, with operating costs and potential revenue from the yet-to-open community building still unknown.

Millville’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year finds the Town in “good financial shape,” with no increases in taxes or fees, according to Town Manager Debbie Botchie.

The budget plans for general and administrative expenses of $911,448, while the Town expects revenues of $1.43 million, Botchie said. The remaining $517,692 would go into the Town’s contingency fund.

There has been no increase in fees in Millville since 2008 and no tax increase since 2006.

Botchie said the biggest variable in the Town’s 2022 budget is likely to be its new Evans Park at Millville. The playground at the park opened in March, and pickleball courts were set to open May 8.

Yet to open to the public is the new community center. While the Town expects to bring in some revenue from rental of the community center, as well as eventually hosting pickleball tournaments and other events, “We’re still in uncharted territory” as far as what to expect from those, Botchie said.

At the April 27 town council workshop meeting, Mayor Ron Belinko announced the posting of rules for the pickleball courts, which include:

• Courts are for pickleball use only;

• Proper footwear is required;

• Courts may not be held if others are waiting to play;

• Play is limited to one hour if others are waiting;

• Only water and sports drinks are allowed in court area — no food, glass or alcoholic beverages;

• Trash must be removed;

• Millville town-sponsored programs have priority use of the courts; and

• No individual or group lessons or instruction are allowed unless approved by the Town.

The Millville Town Council had previously voted to cancel the town’s Pumpkin Festival — 2021 would have been the first time the festival could be held in the new park, but the council felt the COVID-19 impacts at that point in the year were still too unpredictable to hold the festival, planning for which normally begins in May.

Still up in the air is Millville’s Yuletide Festival, Botchie said. The Town hopes to be able to hold a holiday gathering in the park, including such things as a tree-lighting, but it will depend on the status of COVID-19 and related restrictions.

The 2022 budget includes the addition of two new administrative positions at the town hall. James Simpson of Lewes was recently hired as code and building assistant. Also, Jennifer Ireland has been promoted to the position of administrative assistant to the town manager. Ireland had joined the staff to replace departing town clerk Matt Amerling, and with her promotion, the town clerk position will be filled soon, Botchie said.

As with many towns in the area, real estate transfer tax revenues in Millville have skyrocketed in the recent boom in housing sales. Last year’s transfer tax revenues were expected to be around $336,657 when the budget was approved last spring; by Jan. 20 of this year, the actual realty transfer tax revenues thus far in the fiscal year were $1.15 million — more than three times the budgeted figure.

Meanwhile, Botchie said, Millville’s property tax revenues remain low — the third lowest in the state, in fact — at $595,000.

Botchie said the Town will continue to make investments that it feels will serve the town in the long run.

“We are conservative” with town finances, she said, adding that she and the town staff are ever-mindful that the economy, locally and nationally, could take an unexpected turn, and the Town wants to be prepared.

“We could have a disaster like what happened in 2007 and 2008,” she acknowledged.

Staff Reporter

Kerin majored in journalism at Ohio University and has worked as an editor and reporter for monthly, daily and weekly publications in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware since 1983. A native of Baltimore, Md., she has lived in Ocean View since 1996.