Selbyville maintains same tax rate

Members of the Selbyville Town Council unanimously agreed at their meeting Monday, Feb. 7, to retain the town’s existing tax rate of $1.85 per $100 of assessed property value into the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

“I think we’re pretty solid where we are,” Mayor Clifton C. Murray told his fellow council members prior to the vote.

Murray and council members Jay C. Murray, Richard A. Duncan Sr., G. Frank Smith III and Clarence “Bud” N. Tingle Jr. also voted unanimously Monday to authorize the purchase of 20 additional holiday decorations for the town at the request of Town Manager Gary F. Taylor.

The decorations are of the same type purchased by the town in 2004 and were to be purchased by special arrangement at the same price: $6,080 for 20, providing the town enough to completely decorate both sides of Main Street.

Duncan said of the previous purchase, “That was money well spent, the way it made the town look.”

Taylor noted that consideration was being given to adding decorations on Routes 54 and 17 in the future. However, the purchase of decorations for that project would be made at a later date, once the town electrifies the poles along the streets in those areas. Currently, Church Street and Main Street are the only streets in Selbyville with electrified poles.

The council members also agreed to continue the town’s mosquito control spraying program into 2005, by unanimous vote.

Another unanimous vote officially gave Clifton Murray and Town Clerk Virginia Pepper the right to sign papers authorizing the sale of town property at 2 Long Street. That sale is pending and could be completed in the coming weeks.

At the Feb. 7 meeting, Pepper was also selected to serve as the inspector for the upcoming town elections, set for March 5. Devon McCabe and Sandra Gibbons were selected to serve as judges for the elections, should elections be needed at all. (In some previous years, the town’s elected positions have been uncontested.)

Taylor himself was unanimously authorized by the council members to sign expense vouchers for construction of the town’s new sewage pumping station. Pre-construction work on that project continues, with the town expecting to receive its notice to proceed by Feb. 14.

The engineering phase of plans for Selbyville’s new sewage plant is nearing completion. The electrical design for the plant is due by the end of February and will complete the plan.

Selbyville is also completing its purchase of the property at 34 Dukes Street. That parcel was purchased at a sheriff’s sale, and the town is expected to receive the title to the property within 30 to 60 days, Taylor said.

Several annexation issues were on the agenda for the council members Monday. A request to annex property owned by Council Member Tingle and his sister Virginia M. Steele was passed on to the town’s annexation committee. Tingle’s service on that committee will necessitate adding at least one member, in addition to Mayor Murray.

Tingle noted that the property comprises 7.18 acres and is adjacent to the former Donald Smith property the town had annexed some months ago. The committee will review the annexation request and return the matter to council for its next meeting.

The annexation committee also recommended annexation for the properties of Russell Evans (5 acres on the town’s west side) and Leann Tingle (22 acres on Holly Branch Extended). Both requests will be considered by council in March.

Council Member Jay C. Murray reported to the council from the town’s Jan. 19 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting. The single item requiring council action was the requested partitioning of a parcel on Baker Alley and Church Street.

Jay Murray said the property owner had previously planned a business for the second lot that would be created by the partitioning but had since decided to build a single-family home on that smaller lot, which fronts on Duke Street Extended and Baker Alley. The existing property has been rented for use as a car dealership.

The Planning Commission recommended the council agree to the partitioning, with Jay Murray noting that it did meet the requirements for the planned housing lot. (A single-family home is allowed in the historical-business zoning district). Council members unanimously agreed to the partitioning.

Jay Murray also informed the council that Kevin Lynch, the owner of the former Vector Security property had come to the commission requesting the town’s input on its future use. The commission had informed him a business use would be acceptable, with the lot also zoned as historical-business.

Finally, he said, Cabinetry Unlimited had brought to the commission plans to build a storage building on its property near the Pop Warner field. The commission informed the company that such a building was an allowable use for the property but requested that they make an effort to build an attractive structure suitable for the location, Jay Murray said.

Council members also set a date for a public hearing regarding a zoning change for the property at 28 Hosier Street, the former Randy Brittingham property purchased by the town at a tax sale. The hearing will take place Monday, March 7, at 7 p.m.

The property is currently zoned as duplex-residential, and the re-zoning request would change that designation to historical-residential.

The Selbyville Police Department reported 134 tickets, 111 complaints and $5,000 in fines during the month of December. The department is currently fully staffed, Jay Murray noted.
Officers are making special efforts to deal with speeding complaints in the Bunting’s Mill area of the town, on Route 54. They have set out a traffic-counting unit to assess traffic flow as part of that effort, officers said.

The police department has also been monitoring the current one-way designation of Baker Avenue, with no incidents reported. However, the department has received some complaints about the newly posted signs on Church Street that prohibit overnight parking (between midnight and 6 a.m.). The sign posting will be gradually expanded, officers noted, but currently the department has limited enforcement to verbal warnings.

Mayor Murray also noted, “Some people have had good things to say” about the new signs.

Otherwise, it was noted by the officers, “It’s been very quiet. We hope it stays that way.”

The town’s water department noted a 400,000-gallon decrease in water use in December, attributed to inclement weather.

Finally, council members agreed to make Kids Art Month doubly official in Selbyville, agreeing to advertise it as such on two signs operated by the town. Previously, the council had agreed to officially declare March as Kids Art Month, spurred by the art show planned for Saturday, March 12, at the Selbyville Library.

Organizer and Selbyville Community Club member Lucille Creel made the signage request of the council members at Monday’s meeting, and Mayor Murray conceded, saying, “I don’t see why not.”

The show, to which the public is invited, will feature the presentation of awards for the art show winners, an open house at the library, homemade refreshments and a “surprise guest,” according to Creel. It will take place between noon and 3 p.m. that Saturday. All school-age children are being invited to enter their art in the show.

Creel said she is also hoping the Selbyville business community will get involved in the program, strengthening its original intent of inspiring the children and showing them community enthusiasm for art. If her wishes are realized, local businesses will display the children’s works of art in their front windows for all to see after the art show has taken place.

Jay Murray recommended Creel also seek the support of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, which has added Selbyville to its areas of service.