Millville enables special tax district for MBS

The Town of Millville said goodbye to one of their council members on Feb. 10, at their monthly town meeting. Councilwoman Kami Banks, who is relocating outside of town limits, was honored for her dedication to the town and awarded a certificate of appreciation by Mayor Donald Minyon.

The council on Tuesday also held two public hearings, as well as discussing the roadwork along Route 26 and throughout the town, and appointing a Board of Elections for the upcoming town election.

The first order of business on Tuesday was to pass Resolution 09-01 into town code, which designates the Millville-by-the-Sea Special Development District and creates a special fund associated with that district. There were no objections to the resolution from any citizen or council members, and the resolution was passed unanimously.

Special development districts allow for the assessment of a special tax on properties within districts designated by those towns. The concept is to finance infrastructure and other related costs not through direct municipal expenditures (via borrowing or dipping into savings) or out of the pockets of developers, but instead to ask property owners in the development district (usually a new development) to take on an additional annual burden so that money can be borrowed from investors to perform needed infrastructure upgrades at the start.

The Millville Group, developers of Millville By the Sea, encouraged the town to pursue the special power. Developers see the benefit of SDD’s in that they do not have to lay out, up front, the entire cash cost of improvements such as roads, sewer or water, or, alternatively, to spread such improvements out over many years, as cash becomes available.

In the town’s favor, the creation of a SDD allows the town to borrow money for improvements to the district – or to townwide services impacted or newly required because of the new development – without the town itself being responsible for repaying the money. Instead, the property owners in the designated district have an added tax on their regular annual tax bill, through which the investors fronting the money for improvements are repaid.

Buyers in the development may pay the cost of the financing from investors, but they can also likely expect to see a more advanced level of infrastructure at settlement or when they move in, as well as some public services they might not ever have gotten otherwise.

Their purchase prices on their homes will likely also be less than they would have been had the developer been asked to pay for infrastructure costs up front and passed along that cost to the buyers. That could enable them to buy a larger home, or make the entire prospect potentially affordable for those on the cusp of being able to buy in the area.

Thus, the concept of the SDD has been presented as a win-win situation for everyone involved, including the large-scale investors who typically front the money.

Also on Feb. 10, the Millville council approved Resolution 09-02, which approves the town’s Comprehensive Plan to be sent to the governor for certification.

Minyon also appointed Margaret King and Susan Lyons, both of Cedar Drive; and James Koozer of Doc’s Place to the Millville Board of Elections. That board will serve to oversee the upcoming election for mayor, as well as two council positions. All three board members were sworn in at the Feb. 10 meeting.

The mayor also announced that DelDOT has completed a number of the crosswalks along Route 26 and that those crosswalks have now been striped and clearly identified.

He said there will also be a meeting next month between the town and Century Engineering to discuss roadwork along town-controlled roads, which will include the addition of sidewalks. That meeting will take place at the March 24 town council meeting, at 7 p.m. Anyone who has questions pertaining to roadwork or the sidewalks is being encouraged to attend that meeting, where Century Engineering will be able to address concerns.

Finally, Councilman Jon Subity, the town’s new event coordinator, announced that next October, Millville will host a community-wide event designed to raise town spirit. The first annual Great Pumpkin Festival will be held in October, with the assistance of the Millville Fire Department. Anyone who is interested in helping with this event, or any other town activities, is welcome to contact Subity through town hall.