Sussex County Delaware

Road Woes Focus
of Council Meeting

Sussex County Council ...

Road Naming Project
Extended Until December

Special to Sussex County Online

GEORGETOWN -- The Sussex County Council voted 3-1 to extend the date of the Public Hearing for the Road Naming project until December 2000 at its Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2000 meeting.

Council voted to extend the date after Robert "Bob" Stickels, Sussex County Administrator, said there are more problems with the project.

The moratorium will give the county and 3DI, the company hired to perform the Mapping and Addressing project, time to renegotiate contract changes.

Stickels was not prepared to discuss the precise problem during the council meeting, citing possible litigation against 3DI.

Stickels originally asked for an August 2001 extension, but the council would only extend it to December.

The project has been plagued by problems from the outset, according to Dennis Norwood, the county's director of Mapping and Addressing.

He said some residents refused to give information to the 3DI employees, who reported being chased off properties by angry residents using dogs, and in some cases, firearms.

One problem Stickels and Norwood could discuss dealt with the addressing problems in approved subdivisions that include trailer parks. Subdivisions are uniformly addressed with five digit numbers nationwide, according to Norwood.

He said that originally the subdivisions were left alone but needed updating to work with the Enhanced 911 system. This has put the project behind again and causes more delays.

3DI wants to renegotiate the contract now. David Baker, Director of Finance, said the original contract was to be completed in two years and the bid was for $624,260. The council accepted the contract in January 1997.

The council approved an additional $151,060 this past spring, bringing the total project cost to $775,320. The amount the company wants has not been disclosed at this time.

The enhanced 911 system continues to be delayed in portions of the county.

Instead of Sussex County's Emergency Operation Center receiving emergency calls directly from residents around Slaughter Beach, Ellendale and portions of Greenwood, the calls go to Kent County's emergency center, according to Lynn Rogers, Sussex County Council president and Milton fire chief.

Any resident with the 422, 424 or 430 exchange who is served by a Sussex County fire department is affected, Rogers said.

Emergency calls from these areas first go to Kent County's Emergency Operation Center then are forwarded to Sussex County. This causes a delay in dispatch and response times to emergency situations where every minute may count.

Even the Delaware Department of Transportation (Del-DOT) has dropped the ball, according to Norwood.

He said representatives of Del-DOT said they had a portion of their work completed. However, after Norwood looked closer, he discovered that only 40 percent of the work was actually performed.

Vance Phillips was the only councilman to vote against the extension. He said the council had an obligation to deliver what it promised to all the residents of Sussex County.

Councilmen Dale Dukes, Finley "Butch" Jones and Rogers agreed but gave the extension in order to get the project finished.

Councilman George Cole was not at the meeting. He was transporting his son back to college, according to Stickels.

Stickels Blasts DelDOT

Stickels has assembled a report with suggestions for Del-DOT's Transportation Capital Improvement Program.

Stickels bashed the current report assembled by Del-DOT employees, stating the title of the booklet should be changed from "1999 Report to the People" to "1999 Report to the People of New Castle County."

He said the report addresses the concerns of New Castle and northern Kent County, but seriously neglects Sussex County.

In his report, Stickels advocates three limited access highways that could be toll roads to help relieve drive-through traffic in the entire state, not just New Castle County.

The three roads would parallel Routes 1, 113 and 13.

He said there are many feasible options that Del-DOT could explore. He also suggested Del-DOT should perform studies that he believes would relieve traffic problems.

He said simply changing the direction of stop signs and other elementary improvements could easily relieve some intersections.

In addition, Stickels suggests improving roadways such as east/west Routes 26, 54, 404, 24, 16, and 36; north/south Routes 30, 5 and 352.

He said the air quality issues affecting New Castle County also affect Sussex, especially during the summer months.

"We are not talking about bringing more people to Sussex County," Stickels said. "We are talking about moving people through whose destination is not Sussex County."

Stickels will present his plan to Del-DOT next month.

Ellendale Sewer Bonds Approved

The council approved the issuance of General Obligation Bonds of Sussex County for the Ellendale Sanitary Sewer District. The bonds cannot exceed $2.9 million, according to Baker.

The bonds will allow for the designing and construction of the sewer to begin.

The council also approved the creation and circulation of petitions to extend the West Rehoboth Sanitary Sewer District to include Pinetown, a community south of the Red Mill Pond area near Route 1.

The engineering department is working to obtain financial commitments to assist with this needy area, according to Russell W. Archut, assistant county engineer.

Sea Country Estates representatives have also requested petitions for establishing a sewer district.

In other action ...
  • Council amended Chapter 103 of the Code of Sussex County that exempts siblings from the Transfer Tax. This brings the county in line with the state law that also exempts siblings from the tax.

  • Announced that Greg Hill, Sussex County Building Inspector, has successfully completed the Southern Building Code Congress (SBCCI) certification course.

  • Announced the Sussex County offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 4, 2000 to observe Labor Day. The offices will reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

  • Announced the Sussex County Council will not meet on Tuesday, Sept. 5, but will reconvene on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2000.

  • Proclaimed the week of Sept. 17-23 Constitutional Week in observance of the 213th anniversary of the writing of the Constitution. Stickels encourages citizens to reaffirm the ideas of the Constitution and to remember that rights lost are never regained.

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