Ocean View schedules budget hearing for Feb. 25

The Ocean View Town Council, at its Tuesday, Feb. 11, meeting, announced that a public hearing on the 2021-fiscal-year budget will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

A work session on the budget will follow, at 6 p.m.

Town Manager Carol Houck said the second draft of the budget is under review and council members are welcome to make suggestions to Dawn Mitchell Parks, finance director.


Little library donated to town


Betsy Bare, speaking before the Ocean View Town Council with her children, presented a structure resembling a miniature house, to be situated at John West Park as a Little Free Library.

“We wanted to give back to the community, so we came up with the idea of a Little Free Library. They’re very unique and different to different parts of the area. This one is weatherproof and rainproof,” she said.

Mayor Walter Curran make a motion to accept the library box, and it passed unanimously.

Curran thanked the family “for taking the time to do this and presenting it to the Town,” and said he will donate copies of the three novels he has written.

Bare thanked him and said donations are welcome, although those who use it aren’t required to donate and are welcome to take books without leaving any in return. She said the library will have books for both children and adults.

According to www.littlefreelibrary.org, Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization started to inspire a love of reading and foster neighborhood book exchanges worldwide.

“Through Little Free Library book exchanges, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds,” according to the website.


Monthly police report


Police Chief Ken McLaughlin reported that he had recently attended firearms training and the monthly meeting of the Sussex County Police Chiefs’ Association.

The police department was found to have no violations and was pronounced in compliance with the state’s Criminal Justice Council following a review of procedures and review of juvenile logs.

McLaughlin explained that the police department is one of the only agencies in the area that has a holding area to detain up to 15 people, and it must meet Criminal Justice requirements.

A letter to McLaughlin from Jared Morris, juvenile justice compliance monitor, stated that the Ocean View facility “sustained all the requirements that included separation provision, disproportionate minority contact provision, deinstitutionalization of status offenders and jail removal.”


Friday Night Freeze


McLaughlin said the Friday Night Freeze, held at the Ocean View Church of Christ on some Friday nights and designed to give youth an opportunity to play dodgeball and other sports, “has been very well-attended and will probably expand in the future.”

Officers work at the events and others donate time to connect with youth, and the church and Ocean View Police Department has partnered with local organization Ball 4 All to pull off the events.

“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from both the children and the parents in the community,” he said.


Glass on Ogre Drive


Director of Planning, Zoning & Development Ken Cimino said it has been determined that the bituminous concrete mix used to pave Ogre Drive in June 2019 is contaminated with glass particles.

He told the town council that representatives from George & Lynch Inc. recommended four methods of repair and the Town had agreed to allow the company “to taper-mill the edges of the roadway and place a 1.5-inch overlay along Ogre Drive and Velta Drive.” He said that, until repairs are made, the Town will not accept maintenance for the roads from the developer of Ocean Way Estates, where the streets are located.

Ogre Drive resident Dick Jennison, who brought the matter to the attention of the town council last month and gave Cimino a small plastic bag containing pieces of glass, thanked Cimino and town council members.

Replying to a question from Councilman Bruce White, Cimino said he hopes paving will be done in March.

“Right now, the ball is in their court, to decide to repair the road or own the road forever,” Cimino said about the developer.


Comprehensive plan update gets first reading


The 2020 update of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan was unanimously approved on first reading by the Ocean View Town Council. The second reading will be at the March 10 meeting.

Town Manager Carol Houck said the document was sent to the state planning office, whose representatives provided feedback.

Curran said he’s pleased local residents commented and made suggestions.

“They were engaged much more than in the past. I’m really happy. … If you read it, remember this is the people living in the town telling us what they want to see in the town. Other than a handful in the past, that has never happened, so that’s a very good thing,” Curran said.

Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader said the town population increased 87 percent during the past 10 years. When the last Comprehensive Plan was completed, “We did not expect the population to increase so much,” he said.

Cimino said an updated version of the plan was submitted to the town council on Feb. 5 for review and adoption.


Town manager’s report


Town Manager Carol Houck said a representative from Mediacom will be at the town council meeting in May. Meanwhile, she and the town solicitor will work on the first draft of the cable franchise agreement, due for renewal this summer.

Houck said a cherry tree at John West Park fell due to wind on Feb. 7.

“Arbor Day efforts will be directed to that location,” Houck said, adding that the Arbor Day observance is planned for Friday, April 24, at the park.


Toning down bright lights


Town employees and Delmarva Power representatives discussed concerns about streets lights on Ogre Drive that some residents say are too bright. Houck said on Feb. 10 that her contact, who she identified only as Mr. McBane, told her the company’s standards department informed him the company will receive warmer-temperature LED lights.

“In layman’s terms, this means the new LEDs would closer match the color of the high-pressure sodium lights that we have had for years. I will have to check into how soon we can get the newest LEDs if this is a path you wish to take. Also, we have received a means to place a black-out screen in the individual fixtures to reduce the amount of light shining toward the houses,” he told Houck.

Houck said the Town is interested in both the warmer temperature lights and fixture screens.


Millville fire company update


Guy Rickards, chief of the Millville Volunteer Fire Company, said that, due to calls increasing 10 percent, a third crew has been added. The fire department had only three ambulances, “so if one broke down, we didn’t have a spare,” he said.

A fourth ambulance will be added, paid for by grants, including from the Town of Ocean View, and by a loan from the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association. Curran said the annual town grant is for $80,000.

Councilman Frank Twardzik asked about staffing, and Rickards said the agency has 15 full-time paid employees, but volunteerism is stagnant.

“Our EMTS are basically all career staff,” he said.

Because it takes about two hours to transport patients to nearby hospitals — including Beebe Medical Center and Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md. — and return to Millville, “You just can’t get volunteers,” he said.

“People just don’t want to do it. It takes two or three hours out of their day, and they just don’t want to do it. It’s not like it was 10 years ago,” he said.

Area fire companies present programs in local schools “and we pick up some volunteers that way, but some of them are more elderly,” Rickards said.

“They can help out, because there are all kinds of jobs to do at a fire station, but the younger people we need to fight fires — they are harder to get,” he said.


BoA resignation from mayoral candidate


John Reddington, who is running for mayor of Ocean View, resigned from the town’s Board of Adjustment. Curran said resignation from committees and boards is required for anyone seeking office.


Praise for historical society


The town council accepted the Ocean View Historical Society’s report, required because the Town donates to the society.

Curran praised its members for “doing a remarkable job.”

“They were here for Christmas and had an all-day open house,” Curran said.


By Susan Canfora
Staff Reporter