Frankford residents silenced under new citizen privilege rules

Date Published: 
August 16, 2013

Frankford citizens are still straining under the restrictions of the revised town council protocol of “citizen’s privilege” that now only allows them to speak on issues already appearing on the official meeting agenda. Residents Jerry Smith and Dora Bell both asked the council at their Aug. 5 meeting about rental licenses — an issue that was not on the agenda — and resident Greg Welch asked how citizens can get on the agenda.

“I’ve been sitting here, quiet,” said Bell, before asking about how the rental license and gross rental receipts tax differed, and the council explained the new ordinances.

Council President Jesse Truitt told Smith he was “done” after Smith asked about vaccinations for horses in town and questioned the rental licenses, as well.

“Is that on the agenda?” asked Truitt. “You’re done.”

Smith replied, “You shut me up,” and said he had asked the same question as Bell and yet, “You entertained her question.”

“I thought people were here to voice their opinions,” said Bell.

Welch then asked how citizens’ concerns get to be posted on the agenda.

“Are you going to talk about the water meters?” Truitt asked Welch.

Town Administrator Terry Truitt said that a quorum of the council had decided it wouldn’t be discussed at the meeting.

“Can I know how you voted?” asked Welch, before starting to bring up another issue.

“Moving on,” interrupted Jesse Truitt, to which Smith said, “Wow.”

The town council on Monday also reviewed and considered accepting a DTF Park Fund Grant for 50/50 matching funds for continued improvements to the town park, with a total amount of $60,000. The council then voted to approve a proposal submitted by Game Time/West Recreation in the amount of $36,576.10 for the third phase of new park equipment and enhancements. Truitt said the monies can be used to pay for electrical lighting around the fitness track and new swings and slides.

Police Chief Bill Dudley said the park continues to be a big attraction and is getting a lot of use. The Town will use it to hold its first annual two-on-two basketball tournament, with four different age brackets for those younger than 18 and one 18-or-older bracket. The tournament will start on Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. with the preliminary games. Registration costs $25 per team, and the teams may consist of three people — two players and one alternate. Dudley said there will be eight teams per bracket.

“We are trying to get as many kids out there as possible,” said Dudley. “You can register through town hall, and we will have trophies for first place and a runner-up. The finals will be on Aug. 22, the same day as our annual night-out celebration where, hopefully, we can showcase the park and the basketball court.”

Dudley said the only arrangements remaining to be made were for him to check on insurance coverage, to see if they can get a liability waiver.

“We have got a lot of interest, especially from the over-18 age group,” he said. “We could possibly see some old IR stars out there.”

Dudley said the issue of kids in the streets has been much better recently, without the Town having to take enforcement measures.

“Community policing does work,” he said, “you just have to talk with people.”

Also on Aug. 5, the council voted to award a contract for replacing sidewalks on Reed Street to F&N Vazquesz LLC, in the amount of $15,880.80, with reimbursement of funds through state Sen. Gerald Hocker’s municipal aid funding and DelDOT.

The Frankford Fall Festival will be held on the last Saturday of October, from noon to 4 p.m., with trick-or-treating to follow immediately after the festival. Truitt said she needed a committee of volunteers to assist with the planning. For more information or to volunteer, call town hall at (302) 732-9424.

The next council meeting will be Monday, Sept. 9, because the first Monday of September is Labor Day and town offices will be closed that day.