On edge, but not over it

January 31, 2013


Sussex County Council meetings are always interesting and sometimes entertaining. Someone told me recently that the meetings have enough of an edge without really going over the edge. I think that's a great description.

Take what occurred during the Jan. 8 meeting for example. First, we need to set the stage for a better understanding.

At the end of each meeting, council members vote on councilmanic grants for nonprofit agencies in Sussex County. The grants range from $100 to $5,000, but normally fall in the $500 to $1,000 range. Agencies submit their requests in writing and they are assigned to a council member in whose district the agency or event is located. In the case of countywide events, each council member usually chips in some money.

For the most part, requests are granted unanimously and with little discussion. That was not the case Jan. 10 when Councilwoman Joan Deaver asked for $5,000 to help The Greater Lewes Community Village program get off the ground.

The project is a grassroots effort with the goal of helping senior citizens maintain their lifestyle in their own homes.

Councilman Sam Wilson, R-Georgetown, said he didn't understand why county funds should support a program assisting people who migrated here, and he voted against the request. Councilman Vance Phillips, R-Laurel, abstained saying he was not clear on the points being made.

When it was all said and done, the request got three votes and the project received not only the $5,000 councilmanic grant but also a $750 human services grant.


  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

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