Business licensing committee selected

By Lynn R. Parks

Seaford Mayor Ed Butler has named the members of a committee that will look into the city's proposal to institute business and rental licensing. Serving on the committee will be area businessmen Robert Boyd, owner of Regional Builders, Charles Towers, owner of Towers Signs, and Carlyle Windley, owner of Nanticoke Automotive. Also serving on the committee will be William Robertson, who is retired from the Penco Corporation. The committee will be chaired by councilwoman Leanne Phillips-Lowe. Also serving on the committee will be councilman Mike Vincent and city manager Dolores Slatcher. The committee will make a recommendation to the city council as to whether the city should accept the licensing proposal as drafted, amend it or reject it. Butler, who announced the committee members at Tuesday's city council meeting, said that he and members of the council received many letters and telephone calls from people volunteering to serve on the committee. "I tried to pick people with open minds," Butler said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. "People who can look at this and decide, is it needed? Or can we do the job we have to do with the codes that we have? I feel confident that this committee will not lag. These people are go-getters and they will see what it is that we need to do."

Phillips-Lowe said Tuesday night that the committee will have its first meeting the end of January. She said that she had no idea how long the committee will take to make a recommendation, "but it will not drag on," she said. Vincent proposed that the mayor name the committee at the council's Nov. 11 meeting. The council was expected to vote at that meeting on the licensing proposal, which has been under consideration for more than a year. Assistant city manager Charles Anderson, who was the city's director of operations at the time, pitched the proposal at the city council's Oct. 24, 2006, meeting. Since then, the city has held two public hearings on the licensing proposal. Virtually everyone who spoke at both hearings was opposed to the proposal, calling it unnecessary government intrusion: The licensing procedure would allow the city to conduct regular inspections of rental units and businesses. Owners of rental property also warned that the fees associated with the rental license would simply be passed on to renters, many of whom can ill afford them. In October, the city council held a special workshop on the proposal, at which city building official Josh Littleton told the council that the licenses would allow his department to keep better tabs on the condition of rental units in the city. The license "would mean the ability of the code department to hire someone strictly to inspect rental properties," Littleton said. "We could enforce the housing code proactively."

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.