Selbyville approves $400,000 water bond

Selbyville Town Council members unanimously approved two resolutions at their Oct. 3 meeting, agreeing to form a committee to investigate vacating Long Street to allow access to two properties and approving the sale of $400,000 in bonds to fund ongoing improvements to the town’s water and sewer systems.

Town Manager Gary Taylor had perhaps the longest segment of Monday’s meeting, simply in reading aloud the bulk of the two resolutions.

Taylor explained that the owners of the two properties off the “paper” street known as Long Street had requested the town vacate the street to allow them access to their properties.

The resolution approved the formation of a three-person committee, comprising Councilmen Jay Murray, Clarence “Bud” Tingle and Richard Duncan Sr., to study the issue and make recommendations to the full council.

Also receiving unanimous approval was the resolution to approve the sale of no more than $400,000 in general allocation bonds to fund the ongoing improvements to the town’s water and sewer systems.

Taylor pointed out that the plan involved the second half of grants and financing plans begun by the town in 1996 and receiving incremental approvals in 2000 (in the form of a special election) and 2001 for a total of up to $850,000 in bonds.

The funds were targeted at renovations and expansion for both water and sewer systems in the town — a process that has been ongoing and which is set to begin another stage with the bidding for drilling of three test wells impending.

In addition to that portion of the project, the most recent $400,000 in bond sales will also serve to refinance previous expenditures for the larger project.

The bonds will be sold to the Royal Utility Service (formerly the FHA) and owned by the U.S. government. The 160 payments will be made over a 40-year amortization.

In other business at the Oct. 3 meeting, Duncan reported a spike in water use for the month of September — up 1 million gallons to 10.3 million gallons, due not to increased normal use but rather to water system flushing and flow testing.

Duncan noted that the town’s Well A had been making unusual noises and that a well driller had been called in to check the origin of the sounds. That analysis was expected to take place Oct. 4, with Duncan saying he hoped the problem was a minor one. Meanwhile, he said, Well B had been providing adequate supply for the town.

Recent tests on the town’s water by the Office of Drinking Water Supply came back acceptable for copper and lead levels, Duncan reported.

He also reported that flow tests on the town’s 180 hydrants had been finished, with plans made to computerize, number and map the results for the benefit of the town and fire companies.

Adaptors for the supply of older hydrants that were provided by the town’s supplier have begun to arrive, he said, with completion of the adaptor-fitting project expected by the end of the month, if the adaptors arrive in a timely manner.

Duncan noted that Public Works employees had spent much of their time in the last month assisting with work at the water plant, as well as reading water meters and cutting grass.

Councilman G. Frank Smith reported another four sewer violations from the town’s industrial service to Mountaire Inc. The violations have been contained to daily BOD levels, and Smith and Mountaire representatives focused on the anticipated lack of monthly violations for the 11th month in a row since an effort by the company to reduce its waste output.

Still, the council members voted unanimously to assess Mountaire $1,000 in fines for each violation of the daily BOD limits, totaling $4,000 for the month.

Mountaire representatives reported that a new waste system that could assist in eliminating the problem has reached the point of sending numbers to its corporate headquarters for possible approval. They also said that the daily spikes were still occurring despite a “world-class water flow” but emphasized improvement in the situation.

The company has also attempted to address complaints about odors from the chicken processing plant, they said, with representatives making an in-person survey of neighbors to see how bad the problem really was.

The company has “worked diligently” to address the issue, increasing deodorant use and getting things “down to 50 percent of the problem” and making it “a lot better,” they said. But they admitted the problem was a difficult one to address and that they “don’t know the total answer.” “We will address it someday,” they promised.

Council members requested the company try to keep a recently-repaired door closed more often to help limit odors and noise from the plant.

Smith noted that larger pumps are being recommended for the town’s pump station at Sandy Branch. The Church Street station construction is continuing, with that station operating on bypass during the work.

The town is awaiting one final item before finalizing specifications on the future construction, with bid packages anticipated to go out in mid-October and possibly being returned to council for consideration as soon as the council’s Nov. 7 meeting, according to engineer Chuck Hauser.

Smith also reported on a project to provide emergency electrical supply to the town hall, water plant and police station. Currently, the town’s emergency generator supplies power with a manual switch thrown when its power supply is interrupted.

Consideration is being given to two options: a single large generator supplying minimal power to the water plant, town hall and police station with an automatic switch, or using the existing generator with an automatic switch for the town hall and police station power supply with a second generator being operated manually for the water plant.

Duncan endorsed a manual switch for the water plant, emphasizing that the town has at least a full day’s supply of water at any one point in time and that a manual switch would provide better safety via human oversight in switching on the equipment in an emergency.

Council members requested prices be obtained for both options, with consideration that a $24,000 grant for the project is on a November 2005 deadline for the project to commence.

Murray reported 103 complaints were made to the Selbyville Police Department in September, with 176 tickets issued and $4,168 in fines assessed.

Police Chief W. Scott Collins again urged residents to lock their cars, noting that in the last month a number of cars near Route 54 had been entered by juveniles who took change from them. It was the latest in a series of such warnings Collins has issued in recent months.

Collins also thanked those who had donated items to the aid drive for hurricane-ravaged Mississippi police departments organized by Fenwick Island Officer Jason Bergman. He said the Selbyville department had donated old uniforms and holsters to the drive.

The police chief further noted he was working with the town’s Lions Club to organize the town’s annual Halloween parade, set for Oct. 26.

Taylor sat in for code enforcement officers, reporting the town had seen an upswing in the number of unregistered vehicles in September. “They keep showing up like bad pennies,” he commented.

The town manager also said the enforcement officers were struggling to gain compliance from some home owners regarding required house numbers. Taylor emphasized that the numbers were needed by emergency responders.

“It’s not a big deal, but it will be to them if we can’t find them,” he said, expressing concern that firefighters or medical responders wouldn’t be able to find the unmarked houses in an emergency.

Taylor also reported that a gate had been ordered to prevent dogs from entering the town’s renovated sports field, after concerns expressed by Pop Warner league representatives. Taylor said he was also looking into relocating the backstop at the field, due to its undesired location.

Council members rubberstamped a slight change in the town’s employee handbook at Monday’s meeting, authorizing stronger language to clarify sections regarding hiring, firing and grievances — a move to address concerns from the town’s insurance carrier.

Taylor also reported that two “children at play” signs had been ordered by the town after concerns were expressed by residents that drivers were driving too quickly through their residential neighborhoods on North Williams and Holloway. Taylor said most of the town’s side streets now have such signs.

Tingle handed his fellow council members a list of potential new fees, drawn up under the supervision of Taylor. Tingle requested the councilmen review the list for consideration at the next council meeting.

Council members also noted the approval of use of town land for a “hay maze” for the Halloween holiday. Murray noted that the maze, set up by High Tide church, had been at Mill Pond in 2004 and had been very successful and popular with children.

The 2005 edition will take place on a vacant lot owned by the town, adjacent to the town hall, on the nights of Oct. 30 and 31. It will be free of charge to children.

Murray also noted that the town will be X-raying candy on Halloween night, remarking on the convenience of that safety screening and the nearby hay maze that night.