Electric rate increase passed by city council

By Mike McClure

The Seaford City Council voted in favor of a recommended increase in electric rates during its meeting on Tuesday, June 10. The council was also updated on the status of a possible bike path and sidewalk improvements in the area of North Pine Street extended. In a letter to the mayor and council David Thomas, Director of Power, and the Electric Committee recommended an electric rate increase due to the increase in fuel costs, additional costs related to congestion and transmission to Connectiv customers south of the C & D canal, and the fact that the new contract will not include present discounts negotiated in the previous contract. According to Thomas, electric rates have not changed since 2001, and the city has absorbed some of the additional wholesale costs. He also wrote “additional revenue is needed to sustain the City’s operations and its ability to provide reliable service to our customers.” “I think the council was aware that this was coming for awhile,” said city manager Dolores Slatcher. “They (electric committee) felt that now is the right time to do it.” The residential increases are as follows: Residential- Low (700 KW)- $2.10/month; Medium (900 KW)- $2.70/month; High (1,100 KW)- $3.30; Higher (2,500 KW)- $7.50/month. The increases will start with June’s kilowatt consumption, which is billed in July. According to Slatcher, there is not high kilowatt consumption this time of year. The committee indicated it would like to prolong other rate increases beyond the heating season if possible.

Slatcher and council member Ron MacArthur updated the council on a recent meeting with DelDOT representatives regarding a bike path and/or sidewalk improvements in the area of North Pine Street extended. Slatcher and MacArthur cited events such as the 5K run and bicycle races and increased activity in the area because of the sports complex and the Jay’s Nest as reasons for the bike path and sidewalk improvements, but they were told it would be a three to eight year process before the request would be approved. The city was given other options such as putting a shoulder on the road, adding a pedestrian path separate from the road, or continuing the sidewalk on Virginia Avenue (in an area not in city limits). “The problem with North Pine Street extended is there’s not enough room for a bike and two cars,” Mayor Dan Short said. The council expects to hear back from DelDOT in the near future concerning their request and possible options. The council also voted in favor of an increase in septage receiving rates (effective July 1), which are charged to waste haulers delivering septage to the Seaford Treatment Facility. A recommended increase of five cents per gallon (based upon the truck capacity) with a minimum charge of $50 was approved. Larry Miller (police commissioner) warned that the Seaford police are stepping up patrols on Stein/Norman Eskridge Highway and other areas of complaints of speeding. They are also patrolling the downtown areas for illegal use of scooters and bicycles.

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