By Ali Nicole

The March 5 Delmar Council (Del.) meeting covered a new opportunity to honor local military members, the termination of the current retirement plan and a nomination in regards to new business. 

Carolynn Foxwell, with the support of Mayor Tom Bauer, presented to the council her proposal for Hometown Hero Banners. These banners would be displayed on light posts around town, similar to movements seen in other local small towns such as Millsboro, Seaford, and Bridgeville. These banners would plan to be displayed from Memorial Day in May through Veteran’s Day in November featuring a photo of the military honoree, their name, branch and era of service. Foxwell explained the basis behind the movement, “It’s important because we want to honor these heroes,” and it, “strengthens our community bond amongst the residents.”

To begin production, the first batch of nominees would need to total 10 banners to avoid incurring production cost. Once started, it would be planned for the banners to go up on State Street and Bistate Boulevard and move east towards the highway and as numbers grow move west, then north, then south respectively. The 24 by 48 inch banners are intended to last for around three years barring any major incidents caused by weather, which Mayor Bauer expressed interest in having funding within the town to purchase replacements or attend to repairs.

The cost of these banners to those nominating a local Delmar hero was a point of uncertainty for the Council with the motion made by Mayor Bauer to have funding that is already available earmarked to cover partial initial banner costs and repair and maintenance. Supporting his motion for a $10,000 earmark of funds, the mayor explained the movement was, “Delmar taking care of Delmar and American history.” After questions to clarify, it was determined that those nominating would be paying half of the base banner cost, with Delmar covering the other half, installation and removal and catastrophe management.

The motion for the funding through ARPA funds was passed for the Hometown Hero Banners and the public will soon be able to start applying for nominations and donating to the funding pool as sponsorship but the final step for managing the funding is awaiting joint council review. Town Manager Jeff Fleetwood suggested addressing the management of the funding account be made in a joint council meeting with Maryland to ensure clear guidance on how funds will be restricted to this project and how unspent Delmar funds will be reallocated. 

The previous approval of a move for all town of Delmar employees – excluding police officers – to the Delaware employee pension program necessitated the termination of the current retirement plan. Fleetwood presented this to the council and it was unanimously approved to terminate the existing program on June 30 of this year to plan for the shift to the state pension program beginning July 1. 

Following this approved motion, Jonathan Layton was announced as the nominee to join the planning and zoning commission. Layton is a teacher at Delmar Middle and High School and will be sworn into his new role on the commission at the next council meeting.

Reports beyond new business were brief but highlighted forward movement for the town. 

Chief Ivan Barkley continues to deliver positive reports of academy recruits, says two of the four new vehicles are in service, and he shares that PCOs are covering nearly the full weekend as they work towards full coverage directly from Delmar. Following the completion of SRO certification for a second SRO, a youth police academy to be held during the summer was proposed. It was suggested that this be a partnership with parks and recreation to create a robust program. 

Fire hydrants are in the process of being replaced downtown according to Fleetwood, but bidding is still in progress for the job. According to council member Todd Lanier, money had to be moved in the budget from the contingency fund to pay vendors for their work on the pump at the Pine Street lift station which was out of operations. 

Council member Mike McClure announced the second annual trash pick-up in the parks date has been set for April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon with a rain date on April 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. and that the first movie night will take place on May 4 – time not yet determined.

Following the approval of five new home construction plans, the town manager’s report covered news of an MOU for an SRO moving forward for action at the end of the month. Fleetwood also announced that town hall would be closed on the March 7 for a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the White House and the Washington Nationals stadium. He describes these trips’ intent as being team building.

Finally, Delmar Citizen of the Year nominations are being accepted by the Delmar Chamber of Commerce this month online only.