Rotary club offers to lead Selbyville Christmas Parade

Those Christmas bells won’t go silent this December. The Southern Sussex Rotary Club has offered to take over organizing the Selbyville Christmas Parade.

“We’re requesting to do that for you guys,” Scott Smith, Rotary vice president, told council members at their August meeting.

“We don’t get too many requests like that,” Mayor Clifton Murray said.

The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce had previously announced that it will no longer host the holiday parade and some other community events, in order to refocus on its mission of promoting business, especially in the off-season.

“This is one of the best parades around, and we’d like to keep that tradition,” Smith said.

Smith said the Chamber has already given the Rotary its blessing — and planning ideas — for the parade to take place on Friday, Dec. 1.

Police presence means picking up the phone

As some problems persist, the Selbyville Police Department is encouraging residents to simply keep reporting suspicious people or activities. Although one woman has complained numerous times about trespassers in her neighbor’s yard, the property owner would have to actually make the complaint for SPD to pursue more serious charges.

Also, it’s challenging for SPD to make people move from public places if they’re guests of another resident.

“You call us, and we’ll keep coming,” Police Chief W. Scott Collins said at the meeting. “I’d contact your legislators that need to crack down on drug offenses.”

Collins said civil violations for marijuana possession are “through the roof. I think it was a big mistake” to make small amounts the equivalent of a traffic citation, he said, adding that he believes it’s not fair for someone younger than 21 to be punished more severely for alcohol possession than for illegal marijuana.

Meanwhile, people with small bundles of heroin are being arrested and allowed to walk out after videoconferencing with a judge, while police have another two hours of paperwork for each civil citation, Collins said. “It’s certainly clogging our system, that’s for sure.”

He reminded the public that under the “Good Samaritan Law,” drug arrests cannot be made in a household where someone calls 911 to report an overdose.

In other Selbyville Town Council news from Aug. 7:

• The new water filtration plant is working as hoped. There has been no detection of gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether), which has plagued the Town’s water supply for years.

• The EPA commended the wastewater treatment facility for meeting yearly requirements and for having a knowledgeable staff.

• The town council assessed a $200 penalty on Mountaire’s poultry plant for exceeding the maximum allowed wastewater flow on one day, which then caused an overage in overall weekly usage. Councilman G. Frank Smith III advocated for stronger enforcement of violations at Mountaire, including for live-haul chicken trailers that are parked incorrectly under the terms of a signed agreement between the Town and the company.

• There will be new limits on future car dealerships in town. The council unanimously agreed to make “new and used car dealerships” a conditional use in the zoning code (Section 200-86). That means the council could permit that type of business, but they’d also have the right to refuse it or insist on certain conditions.

All towns with dealerships know that some are nice, while others need some sprucing, said Mayor Murray.

“We’ve got quite a few of them already. … We welcome new ones. We just want to do them right,” said Councilman Jay Murray.

• Residents had already approved a $500,000 loan for the water plant (which has zero-percent interests and 100 percent principal forgiveness on project completion). The council sealed the deal with a final resolution approving the bond. It should be free money once the water plant filters are installed.

• The council approved grants of $50 for the Indian River High School Football Boosters and $200 for the Miss Hispanic Delaware Pageant (in which a Selbyville teenager is the only contestant from south of the C&D Canal).

Due to the Labor Day holiday, the next council meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m.