Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Delmar Joint Council Meeting 2/27/06

It was one of the more interesting council meetings. For those who may not have attended a Council meeting in a while, the Delaware Council decided to go to one meeting a month. Instead of a Delaware Council meeting and a Joint Council meeting now there is only one meeting a month and that is the Joint meeting. If you are only interested in the Delaware side it means you have to listen to the Maryland side of town problems also. There was about 40 to 50 people in attendance. Mostly were interested in the Woods Creek parking problem. The attitude of Mayor Outten and Mayor Nibblett dislike for the public attending meetings stood out. Any meeting that may go beyond 9PM seems to disturb them. When I attend the current meetings I think back to the "Old" days when Jimmy Smith was Mayor and we had two meetings a month and it was not unusual for them to run to 11 o clock at night, this current groups does not seem that interested in public discussions.

The Delaware side had a reading of Ordinance 139 which has to do with the process of fining people for not keeping their property neat. This Ordinance was bought up in the last joint Meeting. It was not read then, nor was it published in any newspaper. Mayor Outten again tried to get out of reading it but public comment finally put him in a position where he read it. I think the reason he didn't want to read it was it might delay the Mayor and council from getting out of the meeting early. I asked why if the Town had Ordinances for the Public to keep their property neat why didn't the Town clean the trash out of the gutters. I got the usual vague answers about the cost of services going up. I am sure the Delaware side of Town has not had the streets sweep in two years. The streets and gutters are the town responsibility and when we pay taxes we should expect those services to be provided.

John Johnson, President of the Chamber of Commerce, spoke for about ten minutes about ways to improve Delmar. He has apparently written a letter to the Mayors and councils about this. Many in the audience expressed a desire to have the letter read but both Mayors blow the audience and John Johnson off by saying there was not time to read it. They said it would be publish in the Town newsletter that would be forthcoming. Of note the meeting broke up at 9PM when the councils said they had an executive session to go into. It seems to me in an effort to keep things public the letter John Johnson wrote could have been read. This group we have in office seem more interested in getting out of a meeting instead of having a meeting.

The Woods Creek Parking issue was what most people were there for. It is a no win situation for all of the Wood Creek residents. Back when Wood Creek was being laidout there was a workshop with our town engineer Gerry Friedel (Davis Bowen and Friedel Inc). Gerry Friedel was also the Wood Creek engineer which seemed to me to be was a conflict of interest. At that time he said Wood Creek wanted to reduce the roads to 19 feet. He didn't have a problem with it and naturally the Mayors and councils went along with him. Luther Hitchens was there and he said the fire department didn't have a problem as they could get a Fire truck down those street. Well things have changed. It seems no one considered people parking on the street and now there is problem. Maryland Commissioner Carl Anderton has looked into the situation and I will say I was impressed with the job he did. It is however a situation where no one will be happy because the Town let down the citizens by allowing this to happen in the first place. Once again a Real estate developer told the Town how things would be. For a temporary period there will be nine parking spaces and no parking on the street outside of these areas.

As I said the meeting broke up at nine PM due to an executive session. Maryland Commissioner Carrie Williams said she had some comments but would hold them for now. I guess she didn't want to go beyond the critical 9PM cutoff time. I will be interested in hearing what both Williams and Anderton continue to say in the future as they both seem like good Commissioners.

Delmar Utility Commission Audit Report

Last night at the joint Council Meeting Trice, Geary and Myers, the town independent auditors, give their audit report for the year ending June 30, 2005. Now I know it is eight months after the ending of that year but the slowest is typical of government entities. To me the highpoints were; Cash in the bank is up from $464,027 in 2004 to $1,157,821 in 2005 and Revenue over expenses (Profit) is $521,718. Both are indicators of a strong Utility operation. It is also irritating that we would be doing so well and not give a rate reduction to the users of the utility system. For years we have paid for the exceed capacity of the water and sewer system in Delmar with the hopes that when additional people moved into the town our rates would go down. They have not. The Town Manager appears to be against it and God only knows what the Delaware and Maryland mayors think as they seem to have private plans they are not sharing with the public. At the end of 2005 we had over a half million dollars in the Utility Commission that was not needed to pay expenses.

Artesian versus Tidewater

Last night at the Utility Commission I recommended Tidewater Utilities as the private partner we would use to build and operate a Waste Water treatment plant east of US13. In John Outten on going attempts to be Mayor of a larger spot on the map his annexation is slowing down due to the lack of sewage capacity on the present Waste Water Treatment plant. Artesian and Tidewater Utilities, two Delaware Private Water Companies, were invited to propose how they might build and operate a waste water treatment plant for the newly annexed areas. Both companies are about equal. I would say Artesian is an older Delaware company and a little stronger, but in the presentation Tidewater had done more reseach in the proposed area. Based on that, I recommended Tidewater. After the meeting broke up last night I was talking to Allen Fleetwood of Artesian and I explained my reasons for selecting Tidewater. He said he understood however, Artesian was not given as much time to prepare for the presentation as Tidewater was given and that was the reason for the lack of depth at their presentation. So was Tidewater given an unfair advantage by Town hall in the time they had to prepare for the presentation or is Artesian just crying over sour grapes?

Delmar Sex Offenders

Based on the Delaware Sex Offender Registry the town of Delmar has 12 sex offenders living in it and one that works in the town limits. Out of the 12, 4 list addresses in Stage Village Trailer park.

The twelve are; Dennis Baldwin, Alvin Bales, Jesse Bowen, Carlos Bryant, Catherine Carey, Bryan Garnett, Charles Harris, Wayne Holmes, Scott Horseman, Tito Jones, Jeremy Kopp, and William Powell. Mario Ditomasso lives in Milton but works in Delmar.