In an effort to show their dedication to being good neighbors, Mountaire Farms sent a contingent of staff, from administration to on-site plant managers, to the Selbyville Town Council meeting on Dec. 3.
“The company is interested in continuing to partner with the Town of Selbyville,” said Mike Tirrell, a Mountaire vice-president. “We’re working on a revised beautification plan with the plant,” such as painting or fences, “to make things more pleasing … just to let you know we’re serious about being a good neighbor.”
“That’s a good thing,” allowed Mayor Clifton Murray.
Tirrell pointed out that Mountaire recently donated more than $200,000 toward the Town’s road and culvert repair next door to the Selbyville poultry processing plant.
“Maybe there’s things that can be made better for all the residents of Selbyville. Because we’re part of Selbyville, too, and we want you guys to know that,” Tirrell said.
Town council members took the opportunity to raise issues about Mountaire’s continuing odors from the plant that spread across town. They have often asked the public to call Town Hall to report the time and location of malodorous scents that might have originated from Mountaire.
Mountaire rep Amanda Irwin gets the reports from Selbyville Town Hall and cross-references that with activities from the plant, whether processing or cleaning. For instance, one recent complaint led them to identify problems at the cooling shed.
“We’re continuing to chip away at it. I do think it’s improved” some procedures, said Irwin. For instance, Mountaire now purges tankers before they come into the plant.
Tirrell took it a bit further, saying the company aims to “use science and inspection — not using the townspeople or the town council as our quality inspectors. We’re taking it seriously. … We’re walking the property. We smell something or get a complaint,” and then they’re researching whether it’s blood, offal, wet feathers or manure.
But oftentimes, the odor “is not at the plant, but it goes up somewhere and it comes down,” with the rise or fall in exhaust and air temperatures, said Council Member Clarence W. “Bud” Tingle Jr.
“Waking it seriously,” Tirrell concluded. “We’re not blowing it off.”
In other Selbyville Town Council news:
• The Southern Sussex Rotary will host the Selbyville Christmas Parade on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. The parade route runs down W. Church Street, from Town Hall to Main Street, with food vendors stationed at the former PNC Bank parking lot.
• Illegal parking has some residents frustrated with cars parked inappropriately or blocking driveways. Although the complaint came from Dukes Street, the problem is townwide, especially during the holiday season, with house parties and visitors, council members said.
Residents can call the Selbyville Police Department at (302) 436-5085 for parking enforcement at any time. In fact, the most egregious violators can be towed. People can also call Town Hall at (302) 436-8314 to request that Code Enforcement paint the curbs be yellow or red in no-parking zones and around curbs.
• Police Chief W. Scott Collins said he’s received a good stack of candidate applications for the police officer vacancy. The police station is accepting job applications until the holidays, and they’ll begin testing candidates in mid-January. They hope to send a candidate to the next police academy in mid-March.
• A two-year-old police vehicle was totaled, as reckoned by cost, because of a “dead-center” collision in Dagsboro while transporting a prisoner. Another vehicle pulled out of a shopping center, right in front of the police officer, and although the damage didn’t seem severe, it was enough to surpass the vehicle’s value. With the insurance money, the SPD will find a new or very good used vehicle.
• Although Selbyville hasn’t had town council elections in years, due to lack of candidates, the Elections Board was appointed for 2019, just in case: Bonita Maull, Virginia Pepper and Sandra Givans.
• The town council has received a rough draft of the 2020-fiscal-year budget to review. They will discuss it publicly at a future meeting.
• Floor plans for the new town hall were also received that morning. It’ll take time to review, approve and fund the upgrades to the former PNC Bank building, which the Town purchased earlier this year, “but you only get one chance to do it right,” said Mayor Clifton Murray.
• The town council amended an error in the zoning code. Newly approved housing subdivisions should have always been at a minimum of 400 feet of road per cul-de-sac, not a maximum, as was previously written.
• The town council announced final acceptance for water treatment plant upgrades, a formality, noting that everyone was paid, and inspections are done. So, the State Revolving Fund debt should be erased soon.
• Chief Collins said he has not gotten reports of KKK and white-supremacist fliers around town, as seen recently in Seaford and in Princess Anne, Md.
The Selbyville Town Council’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019.
By Laura Walter