Water and sewer get the vote

The Selbyville electorate, in a referendum Wednesday, Aug. 31, authorized town officials to borrow $2 million for sewer and water distribution projects.

“It’s important for the town because we can expand our water and sewage into our comprehensive plan area,” said Town Manager Gary Taylor. “Without that we don’t have growth.”

The voting machines welcomed 97 visitors Wednesday, with a steady stream of Selbyville residents filing into town hall to cast ballots. The sewer improvements elicited 81 votes in favor and 14 against. The water improvements garnered 79 in favor and 15 against. Some voters declined to sound off on both issues.

The turnout was higher than expected, according to Taylor, who said 70 was the previous high-water mark for referendums of this nature. He called the decision “a real landslide.”

Selbyville Mayor Clifton Murray was pleased with the results.

“It feels real good,” Murray said. “It’s a nice vote of confidence.”

To increase the town’s water quality, Selbyville will install two new pumping stations — at the intersection of State Routes 54 and 388 and the intersection of State Routes 17 and 388.

Engineers will equip the stations with submersible sewage pumps, standard gravity collection systems, force mains, manholes, automatic control systems and manual transfer switches for connection to portable generators.

To enhance the town’s water delivery system, Selbyville will extend its 10-inch water main, establish a test well program and, possibly, insert a production well.

A $1.76-million grant, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service (RUS), will fund most of the improvements, dubbed ‘The New Project.’ Selbyville also has $287,429 saved from an RUS loan for sewer construction in 2000 and 2001.

“There are very few grants around anymore. This is from the federal government,” Taylor said. “They’re hard to come by.”

Affirming the bond in the vote Wednesday, the residents of Selbyville pledged the town’s taxing power to pay back the loan. Town officials anticipate the borrowing will not have an impact on sewer or water bills.

The results will be announced at the next monthly town council meeting, 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 12. Engineers will now draw up a package to present to potential bidders. Construction, according to Taylor, should start next May or June.