Fenwick talks insurance savings, beach rules, Earth Day

The Town of Fenwick Island will save some money by switching to public program of worker compensation. The Town expects to save at least $10,000 by leaving its current $75,000 workers-comp plan for the DeLea Founders Insurance Trust (DFIT), a consortium of 24 municipalities that partner to purchase insurance.

Where private institutions keep the profit after a particularly good year, the members of the consortium will receive refunds if claims are low. DFIT also offers safety training programs to improve municipal activities.

Town Manager Teresa “Terry” Tieman said at the May 31 council meeting that she also appreciated the DFIT managers’ hands-on approach, especially when she worked for the City of Harrington and had to call on a weekend about a police-related crisis.

Also announced at last Friday’s council meeting:

• The Earth Day town clean-up will be Saturday, April 22, from 9 to 11 a.m. The Environmental Committee will provide refreshments, cleaning supplies and a token of appreciation for participants. Volunteers can meet at town hall.

• Drug crimes and overdoses are affecting every local town. But most police officers don’t carry naloxone, the emergency medicine that reverses opioid overdoses.

Fenwick Island Police Chief William “Bill” Boyden said this week that that’s because police officers usually arrive at the same time as ambulance or paramedics, which do carry naloxone. Plus, he said, overdose victims often have violent reactions when awakened, and medics can strap the victims to a gurney beforehand.

• Boyden pointed out on March 31 that the Fenwick police department had assisted Delaware State Police twice as much in February of 2017 as it had during the same time period last year.

“These troopers are being pushed to the limit,” Boyden said, with only a few DSP troopers covering a very large corner of Sussex County at any given time. The FIPD often provides backup or stabilizes situations outside their territory until the DSP arrives.

• In the wake of Rehoboth Beach’s banning grills, canopies, oversized umbrellas and tents above 36 inches tall on its beaches, Councilwoman Vicki Carmean this week asked if Fenwick should anticipate that as an issue.

Yes, said Councilwoman Julie Lee, who said she has seen people stake a claim on the beach around sunrise just to return hours later, which is an issue the Bethany Beach Town Council recently debated. C&O Chairperson Bill Weistling suggested getting input from the beach patrol before moving forward.

• In addition to brainstorming future funding for sidewalks, beach replenishment, drainage/flooding issues (including sea-level rise), open space opportunities and fire service/first responders, the Town’s ad-hoc Financial Committee has decided it’s premature to pursue a $25,000 hydrographic study of the canal bed, which is a first step to dredging.

• In regard to recent requests, the Charter & Ordinance Committee will begin drafting regulations for equipment such as commercial pools and cell phone antennas.

• Thanks to local businesses, funding is halfway complete for the Fenwick Flicks summertime movies on the beach. The Town has taken over the event after the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce backed away from hosting it.

Meanwhile, the Business Development Committee recently hosted a breakfast for area businesses to discuss plans, such as Fenwick Fridays and the Homegrown Harvest Festival in autumn.

The Fenwick Island Town Council’s next regular meeting will be Friday, April 28, at 3:30 p.m.