Selbyville getting more help for home repairs

Without hesitation, the Selbyville Town Council this week adopted a resolution to again allow the Community Development Block Grant program to do its work in Selbyville. The program fixes and improves homes to be livable — work that may include roofing, doors, windows or more.

The program, run through the Sussex County government, has $70,000 to spend in Selbyville this year — first-come, first-served — said CDBG’s Mike Jones.

The program isn’t designed for people who want to improve their property values and leave. The homes must be owner-occupied, and there is a five- or 10-year lien placed on each one that eventually decreases to $0, just in case someone moves early.

“We’re here to fix the houses for you to live in,” Jones emphasized.

He said $3 million was issued to the program this year for Sussex and Kent counties.

Jones and Dickerson have created a waiting list, but residents can see if they qualify by calling CDBG at (302) 855-7777. Households are eligible based on their income, with the maximum being $34,900 for one person, plus $5,000 per additional person ($49,900 for four people).

People can also recommend neighbors for the program, though the CDBG is not a volunteer service, he said. Licensed contractors perform the work.

Mayor Clifton Murray called it a “good program,” especially since it has made $800,000 of improvements in Selbyville in 14 years.

As a bonus, Jones has noticed that other residents on the block are often motivated to do their own repairs once the CDBG work is under way, so half a street might improve with one grant.

In other Selbyville news:

• Mayor Murray welcomed two new residents who attended the council meeting to learn about the town. “We’re glad to have you. Always glad to see somebody at the meetings,” Murray said. “We’re fairly informal. We usually have smaller groups. The more the better.”

• “Knock on wood, it’s been fairly quiet this month,” said Police Chief W. Scott Collins. Delaware State Police wrapped up a string of robberies recently, he reported, and Selbyville will partner with Dagsboro for DUI patrols, thanks to a cooperative grant.

• The Selbyville Christmas Parade is Friday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. on Church Street. Surrounding roads will be closed to traffic in the hours beforehand. The Santa House opens at 5:30 p.m.

• The 2015 Selbyville Town Council election is tentatively scheduled for March 7. Candidates may register between Jan. 7 and Feb. 3. If there are more candidates than seats available, the election will be held; otherwise, it will be canceled.

• Newly elected state representative Rich Collins attended this week’s meeting, offering his services to the town and entire 41st District.

“I really do believe the best governments are close to the people,” Collins said. “I will never do anything that affects you directly without consulting you first,” or at least keeping people informed, he said.

• The Selbyville Public Library is collecting unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots program. Also, children can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus for two hours on Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. and on Dec. 20 at 11 a.m.

• Selbyville’s Christmas decorations were repaired for a fraction of the cost to fully replace them, Dickerson reported.

• Engineering and design of a new MTBE water filtration system is under way, Dickerson said. The project could go out to bid around the start of the new year. The new well already has less iron and as a result requires less iron treatments, he said.

• Preliminary site plan approval was given to a new laundry/automotive-care business on Route 113. Design and permitting continues before Selbyville can give its final approval.

• After hearing some concerns from developers, the town council is planning to again adjust planning and zoning ordinances for residential planned communities.

The next regular town council meeting is Monday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m.