By Lynn Schofer

The Seaford City Council meeting opened with county and statewide dignitaries acknowledging and presenting two local women with proclamations. Vice-Mayor Dan Henderson, State Senators Bryant Richardson and Stephanie Hansen, State Representative Danny Short, and County Councilman Mike Vincent recognized Sara Lee Thomas and Sue Wile as they retire after over 30 years of volunteerism to the Downtown Seaford Association. 

Hansen, who represents the 10th district and is also the daughter of Thomas said, “My mother mentioned to me that she is retiring, and I thought this is the end of an era. It is over 30 years of service for each and I cannot remember a time when something was not going on in downtown Seaford.”  

Sara Lee Thomas and Sue Wile were recognized by County Councilman Mike Vincent, State Senator Bryant Richardson, State Senator Stephanie Hansen, Vice-Mayor Dan Henderson, and Representative Danny Short. The two women volunteered for over 30 years with the Downtown Seaford Association and recently retired. Shown (l to r) are: front- Hansen, Thomas, and Wile; back- Vincent, Richardson, Henderson, and Short. Photo by Lynn Schofer

The two women worked on events such as Summerfest, picnics, the yearly Christmas parade, and Riverfest. Hansen shared a story of her mother’s volunteerism.

“I came home one time, and she had the Downtown Seaford banner stretched out in the living room. She was hand sewing the letters that had frayed and it was made of felt. It tells you the care and love she has for downtown Seaford. It is important we recognize that level of sustained community service.” 

Richardson, District 21, said he felt this moment was important and was happy to represent Seaford. Richardson thanked the two women for their commitment to Seaford. Representative Short presented a proclamation, “This is 30 years in the making and now in the archives of the General Assembly.” Short said their work is not an easy job and recalled the women and volunteers standing in the cold to check people in for the parade, “If we did not register ahead of time, the wrath of Sara Lee would be on you,” and added, “I want to say thank you and without the two of you being the driving force the Downtown Association would not be what it is, thank you both for all you have done.” 

Vincent made a county presentation and said, “You two have done so much for this city and you are going to be truly missed. It is hard to get people to volunteer for anything and you have done it year after year. You have been a blessing to all of us.” 

Henderson spoke and said, “One of the best things I and my wife did is join the Downtown Association and thank you for your leadership.” 

Subdivision request- In other business, Building Official Mike Bailey presented to council a request by White Lion Consultants Inc., the property owner of 807 Third Street a subdivision request that would divide it into two lots in the R2 zone. The lot sizes are each over 5,000 square feet for future development. The request was approved by council.

Director of Economic Development Trisha Newcomer presented a recommendation by the economic development committee who met with TRPM, LLC/First Due Care LLC on a requested tax break of city property taxes, a waiver of all city permits and construction fees and discounted electric, water and sewer rates. The business is located on Venture Drive and will be a medical office for patient care providing a variety of services including fire department and Department of Transportation physicals. 

Newcomer said the committee recommendation is a waiver of all water/sewer tap fees, and a 50 percent reduction in the storm water impact fee with a total incentive of $7,166.60. The development plan will have future phases, and the owners, Brad and Ashley Taylor can return to the committee to request another reduction. Councilman James King asked why the committee would not recommend giving them the 100 percent waiver. 

Newcomer explained the reason is although the site is being prepped they are not utilizing the entire site. Phase I is a medical office. Councilman Matt MacCoy inquired about the sunset date if it is reached and was informed the owners would be able to apply for an extension which is a process that must go before city council for approval. The council approved the recommendation of the economic development committee.

 Communication tower- A memorandum of agreement between Seaford and the Delaware Division of Communications (DIVCOMM) was presented to maintain the communication tower site at the city of Seaford Police Department. The initial 25 year agreement is due for renewal and meets the requirements of the state of Delaware’s Digital 800 MHz Statewide Trunked Radio System. The DIVCOMM are responsible for utility costs, maintenance, repairs, or restoration to property if damage is caused. The public may contact DIVCOMM at 302-739-9640 with any questions or concerns. 

The city receives permission to occupy the existing tower with three attachments for radio communications for the city-wide surveillance camera network. Additionally, the city is granted the right to share space on the tower for installation and operating, if approved by the Federal Communications Commission, the fire department base station, antenna system, and the county wide paging system. The department will receive $20,000 annually with a three percent increase each year for the land’s use; this meets the state of Delaware Digital 800MHz Statewide Trucked Radio System. The tower is a 450-foot tower. Since the city does not need to invest in a radio system, the agreement provides a saving expense.  

Kiwanis Park memorial- The Kiwanis Park memorial renovations were awarded to Whayland Company for $74,700. The renovation monies come from the community transportation funds through the state who will provide $61,957 while the city approved up to $20,000 of the funding at a previous meeting,

Tax appeals- Eric Piner, real estate appraiser with Pearsons Appraisals Service, LLC was present to review findings on tax appeals presented at the Feb. 27 city council meeting. Two properties were appraised. The first owned by David Perlmutter requested the assessment because the property is a brownfield and contends until it is cleared of hazardous materials or pollutants, the value is decreased. The appraiser recommended a 75 percent reduction on land and buildings until the property is cleaned and cleared for usage. A recommendation of the appraiser on a second appeal from the owner of a home on Perkins Street is 80 percent after a dwelling fire. The property is boarded up and not occupied. There are plans to tear down the property and Henderson would like a condemnation and not inhabitable for human. Both motions were approved.

Other business- The Soroptimist International renewed the lease to update the name of the Curiosity Shop location on Middleford Road. The city owns the land and building and the 50-year lease agreement will only include an organization name change. 

The council approved an appointment recommendation of Sharon Drugash to replace Earl Wright on the Board of Elections for the remainder of the one-term year ending Feb. 13, 2025. 

 The Light It Up Blue Autism Awareness ceremony will be Monday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. at Gateway Park. The Nanticoke Little League opening day ceremonies are Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m. Williams Pond Park. The city-wide clean up week is May 13–17.