Stimulus funding saved sewer-district residents $424 per year

Residents of the Oak Orchard Sanitary Sewer District Expansion area No. 1 expressed gratitude to Sussex County Council this week after sewer costs for the expansion were finalized.

County Finance Director Susan Webb reported that, while the projected costs in 2007 were $1,155 for an annual rate, it actually worked out to be about 37 percent lower or, on average, about $731 per year, which includes a $254 service charge and an average of $477 for front-footage charge ($4.77 per front foot, with a cap at 100 feet).

Because of the timing of the project with American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus) funds, there are no connection fees to residents in the expansion area, as they were funded within the project by a grant, explained Webb.

“Thank God for little favors,” said resident William Elmer.

In other news from this week’s council meeting, Sussex County’s 14 public libraries are celebrating Sussex County Library Week this April, to remind the public of the importance libraries play in the community.

According to the County, more than 1.3 million items were checked out from local libraries in 2011, and more than 3,800 educational programs were offered for adults and children in that time.

“We want people to connect with their libraries,” said Kathy Graybeal, director the County’s Department of Libraries. “This is a good reminder of the best deal the public already pays for. We want residents to know how well their tax dollars are spent on a resource such as this.”

Susanne Keefe, director of the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach, added that library programs are “no longer an extra. They are a vital part of what we do. … Thank you for helping us do it.”

Keefe said that, last year, South Coastal Library sponsored 360 programs, from storytime to cultural experiences for older adults. She said they served more than 8,000 people, including more than 2,600 children. That is in addition to the books, references and online resources made available to people of the community.

County Council members presented a proclamation to Sussex County library officials on Tuesday, declaring April 15-21 as Sussex County Library Week, and thanked them for all they do.

Also on April 17:

• County Administrator Todd Lawson reported that, in March, the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center received 15,170 calls, 75 percent of which came from wireless phones.

• Lawson said county staff were discussing possible solutions for moving forward with drainage issues in the county after Councilwoman Joan Deaver asked what was being done after the presentation to council on drainage issues by Sussex Conservation District a few weeks ago.