By Lynn Schofer

The city of Seaford Council members welcomed Evan Willey as a new employee during last week’s meeting. Willey was introduced by Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Katie Hickey.  

In other Parks and Recreation business, Hickey presented the bid award recommendation for the Nutter Park playground equipment. Hickey provided a view of the new equipment which will give young children an area to climb and play. The VPS Company will install the playground structure, protective surface, and edging material. The monies are provided through a yearly grant and the project completion will be before the beginning of May 2023. 

New employee to Seaford Parks and Recreation Evan Willey was introduced at the recent council meeting and welcomed by Councilman Orlando Holland, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Katie Hickey, and Mayor David Genshaw. Photo by Lynn Schofer

Two committee appointment recommendations were provided to council for consideration by Mayor David Genshaw. The first is Kevin Andrews to Police Chief Advisory Board and secondly Lawrence Purnell to the Parks and Recreation Committee. Both recommendations were approved by all council members. 

The final site plan, presented for MS Property Group LLC for two warehouse buildings to be located on Venture Drive, was approved by council members. Each of the buildings will hold up to five units with 9960 sq. ft. of flexible space and 22 parking spaces. Additionally, council approved a site plan for Brad Taylor Construction for three buildings which include a medical office, auto repair, and warehouse space located across from FedEx facility on Venture Drive with a total of 48 parking spaces. The third presentation was for rezoning that received approval for 2.65 acres of land from C-2 to R-3 High Density Residential located on Tharp Road.  Mike Ryman, design engineer, answered councilman questions. He said the remaining acreage will stay commercial zoning. The area which is located behind Walmart will require a traffic impact study for access. This plan is part of a long term project with phases for development of 13 acres.   

Chris Simms with Smart Utility Management presented a proposed water and sewer utility billing revision that would potentially reduce the Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) values from the current 300 gallons per day to 250 gallons per day. Simms reported this is the first step to modernizing and to make sure the city is equitably collecting funds. Simms also told members it is more consistent with other utilities.  

In the presentation, Simms provided four options for consideration: 1. Reducing the Equivalent Dwelling Unit to 250 gallons per day which will only impact commercial and industrial customers; 2. Lower the EDU to 250 gallons per day and increase three percent to the fixed residential customers over a five year period; 3. Increase rates by the same 8.7 percent cost of living adjustment for social security benefits in 2022. Smart Utility Management indicates since Seaford council would not consider a rate increase that meets Delaware CWSRF affordability metric that was increased from two to three percent of MHI in order to receive the principal debt forgiveness. In the summary report, “This options shows what the impact to customers would be if the city were to apply the same 8.7 percent cost of living adjustment for social security scheduled for 2023 to its water and sewer rates.”; 4. Follow Industry Standard for Return on Equity and Seaford operating income is under $100,000.

Simms said, “If Seaford were to adopt a policy utilizing a conservative four percent return on system equity, then retail rates would need to be increased.” The increase would be 17.6 percent and implemented over a 3-5 year time period. 

Mayor Genshaw said the council would like to hear from the residents and also research and investigate each option or come back with another plan. This was not voted on during the council meeting and will be presented to council as part of the fiscal budget. 

Berley Mears presented for approval for construction administration services to oversee the Seaford Village Lift Station project.  George, Miles and Buhr, LLC will provide the services with an on-site, full time resident project representative to provide construction management and administration services. The price of the service is $112,900 which was budgeted through ARC grant funds.

The city of Seaford hopes to see the town come out for the annual Christmas Parade to take place on Dec. 3. Line-up will take place along Pennsylvania Avenue at 6 p.m. The rain date is Dec. 4.