The December Greenwood Town Council meeting was held on Dec. 13. The upcoming town election, police report, and the budget were among the topics that were discussed.
During the public comment session, kudos were given to town council members, and the town manager for moving Greenwood forward in the last year. Also during this time a tribute was presented by Cindy Green, Sussex County Council second district representative, to Secretary Dee Jones for the leadership and the efforts made by Jones in restoring the holiday tradition of the annual Christmas parade in Greenwood. A request was also made for a “meet the candidates” night prior to the town election on Jan. 20. Mayor Donald Torbert replied that the town is not required to have such a meeting, but the council would take it into consideration and if approved the date would be publicized.
Chief Phillip Thomas and Sgt. William Thomas discussed the events that the Greenwood Police Department participated in during the month of November. These included the Discover Bank Customer Appreciation Day, car seat checks, monthly chief meeting, and junior assessor program. Upon finishing this recap, discussion began on electric vehicles.
According to Chief Thomas, “It looks like our government is trying to push us to electric vehicles. There’s been a grant afforded to us to apply for (them).” After applying for the grant, which came from Energize Delaware, two electric vehicles were offered at no cost to the Greenwood Police Department.
Sgt. Thomas then discussed the $145,360 grant and the vehicles they were able to get. The goal currently is to keep one of the vehicles as a patrol vehicle in order to train officers on its use. Both vehicles, it was announced, will be of the Ford F-150 Lightning make, with one replacing the Ford Explorer currently in use by the Greenwood Police Department, and the other vehicle going to public works for code enforcement duties. There was a small discussion of selling the Ford Explorer that is being replaced by the electric vehicle to another police department.
During her report, Town Manager Janet Todd thanked the police department and public works for their work during the Christmas parade. She then spoke to the ongoing activity within the town, including the reviewing of town ordinances, and codification of town codes; once this is done two printed copies will be made available at town hall as well as online which will make it more user friendly to everyone. On conditional uses, 15 property owners were contacted. All but two responded and are now in compliance, those that have not responded have been turned over to the attorney as they are now out of compliance.
The Sussex Conservation District is planning to dip out Prone B and the area of the VFW to Cart Branch beginning in January.
Voting in the Jan. 20 election will occur between 1-7 p.m. at town hall. There are six candidates running for three council seats. The town is now using the state voter registration system, so residents registered to vote in the state but not with the town can still vote if they meet the town qualifications. She also reminded everyone of the new absentee ballot policy.
There was some discussion on changes to the budget with possible amendments, including a three percent cost of living raise for employees already approved by council along with payroll taxes/pension that go with that; the update of insurance rates for auto and property insurance; codification costs; the possibility of changing health insurance policies, legal fees, etc. The council then discussed ways to possibly cut line items in the budget with a lengthy discussion about the health insurance line item and legal fees. A motion was presented to keep the budget as passed last month which included changing the health insurance plan, it was seconded. The motion passed, 3-1.
A second reading of Ordinance 2023-02, An Ordinance Respecting the Issuing of Business Licenses within the town of Greenwood was presented. The first reading was presented at the Nov. 8 meeting. This ordinance does not require business owners to show proof of insurance and would replace ordinance C-11. Discussion ensued concerning putting a cap limit on Section 9 which has to do with fines for violation of the ordinance. A motion was made to change it to a minimum fine of $100 but would cap at $500. A third reading on this ordinance will take place at the next meeting.
Three volunteers for the Board of Elections for the Jan. 20 election were announced. The volunteers that were chosen and approved are Ray Willey, Bruce Bowman, and Kelly O’Bier.