By Ali Nicole

February’s Delmar mayor and council (Del.) meeting took place last Tuesday. The Council held the second reading and public hearing for Marijuana Ordinance #180 before passing it and also approved a change to the Parks and Recreation Commission bylaws.

The second reading of the Marijuana Ordinance #180 took place as read by Mayor Tom Bauer. This ordinance deals with the regulation of farming, harvesting and selling of medical marijuana in the town of Delmar (Del.). This does not apply to recreational marijuana which the ordinance prohibits in town limits. Member of the public Denise Garner commented in favor of the ordinance after which it was passed by Mayor and Council with four votes in favor, one abstaining and no objections. 

Parks and Recreation by-laws were brought to the council by Councilman Mike McClure to clear up language related to having a treasurer in Section 5 which was explained to no longer be necessary as there is not monetary collection occurring at this time by the Parks and Recreation Commission. At the time this language was added in 2018 this was a function within Parks and Recreation but this is no longer currently the case. After review of the proposed change to the by-laws, a motion was made and passed to approve this unanimously.

It was reported during the student advisory report that spring sport tryouts and practices for the high school begins Feb. 26 and Feb. 29 for the middle school. The Junior Class Quarter Auction, set for Friday, Feb. 16, is in need of donations. Three middle and high school students were accepted into the Sussex County honors band playing the flute, trumpet and trombone and two of those same students will be participating in Delaware All State Ensembles. The Future Farmers of America will be holding their annual strawberry sale and are taking orders up until Feb. 26 – see Delmar FFA Facebook page for more details.

Chief Ivan Barkley began the department and committee reports for the evening by expressing his thanks; “Thank you to you all for the outpouring of concern and prayers for my family,” following the loss of his mother. No “significant” crime trends are reported but he advised on ensuring all are aware of common phone scams and if they are asking for payment in gift cards or other unusual methods not to engage. 

A sink hole on Stage Road just south of Hardee’s was reported alongside other maintenance. Town Manager Jeff Fleetwood emphasized that the public works crew was on site from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. following a full day of work and thanked them for their diligence to keep the town safe. Funds have been authorized on the maintenance for the waste water treatment plant to reduce any possible damage from outside sources such as foliage.

Parks and Recreation is planning for the return of movies in the park. 

Vice Mayor Odell Jones brought to the council some planning and zoning projects in need of approval. Six home builds for the Stillwater Project were approved unanimously by the council following last month’s pause due to flooding. The case of a local citizen’s home that was burnt down and being rebuilt was considered in the meeting. It was explained that although the proposed rebuilding would be on the original footprint, the codes have been updated since that time for the area on the north side of Grove Street. Pending Delaware Board of Adjustment approval, a unanimous favorable recommendation was made for the construction.

The town manager reported on budgets, wastewater updates, the ongoing sewer project and fines related to past wastewater treatment plant violations. All department heads have submitted fiscal year 2025 budgets and starting on Feb. 13, Fleetwood will be meeting with them one on one to review and extra meetings are to be expected for a number of departments and committees. A continued reduction in water consumption was reported as a positive for the town. An update to the sewer project moves phase 2, previously planned for the Maryland side, to the Delaware side making phase 3 take place on the Maryland side.

It was explained that from 2018 through 2020 the wastewater treatment plant was in violation with MDE. Now, MDE is determining what the fine will be by working directly with the town. To lower the cost, the town could enter into an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance which will require the plant to codify what they’re doing to meet MDE requirements.