Sussex County Delaware

Council Terminates
Readdressing Contract

 
Sussex County Council ...

Project Will Be Finished
by Addressing Department

By ERIC MAGILL
SC Online Publisher

GEORGETOWN -- Sussex County Council voted unanimously to terminate its readdressing contract with 3Di of Easton, Md., and finish the controversial project with its own addressing department.

In a 5-0 vote at its regular meeting on Tuesday, May 1, 2001, council agreed with the assessment of County Administrator Robert L. Stickels, who said 3Di had failed to deliver a feasible addressing scheme for the county's 911 emergency system.

Stickels told council that 3Di had closed its Georgetown office and left the county with 30,000 addresses, or about one-third of the project, still to be completed.

Council accepted Stickels' recommendation that the project be finished in-house.

"The Sussex County Addressing Department has been trying to work with 3Di in resolving conflicts and errors in the addressing process," Stickels told council. "Sussex County Addressing has also been trying to reduce the impact of readdressing on the residents of Sussex County. But 3Di has not been receptive to our efforts, in my opinion."

Councilman Lynn Rogers, who moved to terminate the contract, agreed.

"I've had so many calls and my colleagues also," he said. "This has gone way too long and we've got a lot of things to do and the phone is just constantly ringing on this readdressing. We've got to pull this in and get back to square one."

In response to calls for a march on council at its May 8 meeting by the Route 1 Coalition, a group fighting to keep current addresses for Route 1 businesses in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Rogers also urged council to send out a news release to "assure (the county's residents) that we are taking a direction that our constituents favor."

In its defense, Robert L. Gray, vice president of 3Di, said in a letter to council that the county has caused many of the problems by requesting that 3Di perform tasks not in the original contract. "3Di is very concerned that you and we face again a project that has no discernible end-point," Gray said in the letter.

Stickels, however, said the delays resulted from decisions by 3Di, including hand-delivering new address cards instead of mailing them as called for in the original contract.

The county and 3Di also failed to come to an agreement on the cost of allowing subdivisions to keep their existing road names and addresses rather than switch to new names and 5-digit addresses. 3Di said the request would cost several hundred thousand dollars more but the county was only willing to pay $151,000.

3Di also said in its letter it would not release databases, maps and new address cards unless it is paid a balance of $174,685. The county has paid 3Di $572,785 so far.

In response to a question from Councilman George Cole, Stickels said no other road names would be changed. He said the county would only be changing addresses as it completes the project.

"We need to make sure we have a publicly acceptable project," Stickels said, "but also, at the same time, we can not lose track of the fact that we have to be able to provide public safety programs and deliver that to an address. We don't need to go to five digits for all addresses, but we have to have addresses out there that will allow us to deliver public safety services."

Stickels also said that the county will continue its readdressing appeals process for businesses and subdivisions.

Dennis Norwood, the director of the county's addressing department, reiterated previous council complaints that the post office had been a thorn in the side of the readdressing project by not providing mailing address information.

"One of our biggest problems with trying to deermine whether an addressing scheme is acceptable or not is a lack of information to apply an intelligent decision-making process to them," Norwood told council.

"Route 1, Rehoboth Avenue Extended, Savannah's Road, New Road, these are the types of addressing schemes that the Post Office has not provided us with the data needed to determine whether there are enough addresses on the road to leave those alone. We can't just arbitrarily say those addresses are good."


Vendor Carts Awarded ...

After wrangling at length over regulating vendor carts, council approved three conditional uses to allow vendor carts to be installed at locations in Rehoboth Outlets No. 2, Rehoboth Outlets No. 3, and Super Fresh on Route 1 in Rehoboth.

The 45-minute discussion was often less about the conditional use applications in question and more about whether the county should draft an ordinance regulating vendor carts.

In the end, council passed the conditional uses allowing the installation of 8 vending carts total in 3 locations at Rehoboth Outlets No. 2, a total of 2 carts in 2 locations in Rehoboth Outlets No. 3, and 2 carts at 2 locations at Super Fresh. Council denied the request for a third cart location near the edge of the Super Fresh parking lot.

Council also voted to limit the carts to the sale of food items as opposed to other items requested such as hats and shirts.

Councilman George Cole started the debate about whether council should draft an ordinance regulating the carts due to concerns that they could become mini-stores in shopping centers that wouldn't have the parking necessary to accomodate such businesses.

He said nothing would prevent cart operators, especially cart operators selling items other than food, from advertising and drawing large crowds on their own.

"That could become a nightmare," Cole said.

Council President Dale Dukes concurred, citing the possibility that a vendor could set up a cart selling NASCAR memorabilia or memorabilia related to late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.

"It's like opening another store on the sidewalk," said Dukes.

Councilman Vance Phillips, however, felt that in the case of the Outlets and Super Fresh, that management of those organizations should be trusted enough to not allow such operations in vendor carts because they wouldn't want vendors to compete with items sold by their regular business tenants.

"My problem is once we go down this path, where do we stop?" Phillips asked. "I think the outlet management should be the ones to govern product lines in this case."

Phillips added that if parking and product lines were a concern, he would have no problem with discussing an ordinance to regulate carts.

Council eventually decided it was best to limit the items to food this year to serve as test cases for a possible ordinance in the future.

Oak Orchard Sewer Bonds ...

Council unanimously approved the issuance of general obligation bonds of Sussex County for the construction and equipping of the Oak Orchard Sanitary Sewer District.

The ordinance authorizes the county to issue up to a maximum of $3.943 million.

The passage followed a public hearing in which council was told that the estimated costs to sewer users were now $500 annually with no hookup fees.

The original estimates were $726 per year and one-time hookup fees of $1,000, but grants and low interest loans totalling $7.7 million of the estimated $8.076 million construction cost have greatly reduced out-of-pocket expenses for Oak Orchard customers.

"I think this shows the good faith the people in Oak Orchard had in Sussex County when they passed the referendum at $726 believing that we would get this down," said Council President Dale Dukes. "We got this down for only one reason, because of the good working relationship we have with the state and federal government. I think they believed in us and that we're doing what's best for the inland bays.

"While we're being sued by some groups that don't feel we're doing enough, I think we are doing everything we can for the inland bays now."

Design of the system is expected to be completed by the end of the year with bids going out in January, 2002. Construction is expected to begin in August 2002 with an expected 15-month construction time and connections beginning in January, 2004.

Youth and Government ...

Council heard a presentation from Chris Tinsman, a Georgetown-area sophomore who attended the recent Youth and Government weekends in Dover.

Tinsman, a home-schooled student, participated in the program's pre-legislative and legislative weekends. He was appointed Secretary of Transportation for the program, received the 2001 Youth and Government Development Award, and was one of 10 delegates from Delaware chosen to participate in the National Youth and Government program.

Tinsman reported that the delegation passed nearly a dozen bills, including a primary seat belt bill, a bill to drop the blood alcohol content level for DUI offenses from .10 to .08, a bill to provide public assistance payments to minors, a bill to require gun locks and a bill to end mandatory sentencing.

Miss Sussex County ...

Photo: Miss Sussex County 2001.

Council also heard a presentation from Milford High School senior Ashley Rose, who will represent the county as Miss Sussex County in the Miss Delaware pageant June 8-9.

Miss Sussex County, 2001After graduation, Rose plans to enroll at the University of Delaware in the school's Early Childhood Development and Education program.

Rose, the daughter of Bonnie and Scott Rose, will dance on point shoes to the Flashdance song "What a Feeling" in the talent portion of the pageant.

Rose is a member of the National Honor Society and the Milford High School Marching Band, Concert Band and Dance Team.

The marching band and dance team just won their divisions in competitions in St. Louis, Rose said.

Rose also mentors at Morris Elementary School, teaches ballet at the Dover Air Force Base Youth Center, is a member of the Leo Club, and participates in the Bookaneers reading program for kids.

In Other Business ...
  • Council unanimously approved the purchase of a new heavy-duty boom truck from I.G. Burton for $26,997 after fleet rebates. The truck will be a Chevrolet 4-wheel drive extended cab pickup with a gasoline engine. The county originally requested bids on diesel engine trucks but was told the truck it sought would not be produced with diesel engines. The county will install the 6-foot extended boom on the 3/4-ton single-axle truck in-house.

  • Council unanimously approved the lease of a new microfilm reader and printer for the county's Register in Chancery office from National Micrographic Systems. Frank Shade, the county's director of purchasing, recommended the 36-month lease at $504 per month over purchasing because of the state's plans to take over the Register in Chancery office and because it is uncertain whether the state plans to reimburse the county for equipment when it does take over the office. The lease program includes a full warranty and training program.

  • Council unanimously approved a change order involving the repaving of roads in the Ocean View expansion of the Bethany Beach Sanitary Sewer District. County Engineer Michael Izzo told council that the original agreement called for the county to upgrade roads in the town of Ocean View that are tar and chip to hot mix at the Town of Ocean View's expense. The change order allows the county to approve the repaving upgrades by Teal Inc. and to be reimbursed the $77,000 cost by the town.

  • Council approved a beneficial acceptance agreement to allow the Seaside Residence development to hook 80 single-family units up to the West Rehoboth Sanitary Sewer District. The development, by Paul Robino, lies on the east side of Road 270A behind K-Mart in Rehoboth Beach. Robert Green, the county's director of utility construction, said the pumping station, which has been insured for $98,000, is operational but not cosmetically complete. He said the developer has paid the county $227,500.

  • Council unanimously passed two proclamations. The first proclaimed the month of May as Mammograms for Mothers Month to encourage mothers to get mammograms. The second proclaimed May 14, 2001, as Young Mother's Day to recognize the issues facing pregnant and parenting teenagers.

  • Council approved several donations by 5-0 votes. Council approved a request for $350 from Councilman Lynn Rogers' Councilmanic funds for upgrades to the Slaughter Neck Community Action Agency building. It also approved $150 from Rogers' funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Delaware District. It approved an additional $500 from Rogers' Youth Activity Fund for the Lewes Little League. Council also passed a $250 contribution from each of Councilmen Vance Phillips' and Finley B. Jones funds for a minority scholarship program in the Indian River School District. And finally, council approved donations of $40 from each councilmanic fund for a total of $200 to the Delaware Mentoring Council for an upcoming program at Delaware Tech.

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