Millville hires town manager

Millville Town Council announced an addition to staff at the Aug. 9 council meeting — Linda Collins, presently administrative assistant for the town of South Bethany, will become Millville’s new town manager on Aug. 29.

Mayor Gary Willey said he’d conducted several interviews and Collins had impressed him as the most qualified candidate. Council voted unanimously to accept his nomination on Aug. 9.

Collins has worked for the town of South Bethany for a little more than seven years. Prior to taking that position, she’d worked for the, then-Newark, now-Christina School District, and then the Indian River School District (IRSD), for 30 years total.

She retired from the IRSD as a financial secretary in 1998. In the meantime, Collins had returned to school (Wilmington College, at Delaware Tech’s Owens Campus, Georgetown), and picked up her bachelor’s degree in business management in 2000.

Collins said she’d learned a lot in South Bethany, and would certainly miss the people she’d worked with. However, she was excited about her new opportunities in Millville, especially noting the town’s position on the cusp of major growth and change.

“I think I have a lot to offer the town,” she added.

In other business, Willey described a yard maintenance ordinance, covering grass height, litter and the “unpainted, unkempt” appearance of buildings (paint, primarily).

Council adopted that ordinance in unanimity.

Willey also gave an update on the feasibility study he’s been working on, regarding a possible police department for Millville. He said he’d contacted the Department of Homeland Security to see what grant funding might be available, but hadn’t heard back yet.

“Our police department will likely be driven by the timeframe of the subdivisions,” he pointed out. Working from the position that work being done in Creekside (behind the new Super G grocery store now nearing completion) and the big Dove Landing project on Route 17 remains on schedule, Willey offered a few preliminary sketches.

He said the town was entertaining the possibility of hiring a police chief by the end of the year, and giving that individual another year to set up a department.

While he said they were still approaching the project with caution (the new residential projects haven’t broken ground yet), but he was considering renovations to the garage adjacent to town hall as a possible site.

He loosely estimated costs for that work in the $100,000 ballpark, with another $100,000 for the hypothetical police chief’s salary (pension and benefits to be determined) and equipment (including a cruiser).

“When we finalize the feasibility study, we’ll move forward from there,” he said. “But we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing — I’m not going to hurt anybody. I don’t want to hire someone and then have to turn around and lay them off.”

However, he expected build-out between Creekside and Dove Landing to eventually increase the town’s population by a factor of 10, (subsequent projects to phase in over a 12-year period) — it’s probably a safe bet that Millville residents will be ready for some additional town services in the not too distant future.