For the second straight meeting, Rehoboth Beach announced the hiring of a consultant to assist city leaders. This time, the consultant will help navigate the wireless technology field.
During a commissioners meeting Aug. 20, Mayor Stan Mills announced the hiring of CTC Technology & Energy as the city’s wireless consultant. During a commissioner workshop Aug. 9, City Manager Sharon Lynn announced the hiring of Tom West as Rehoboth’s first city planner.
Mills said CTC was hired to help the city evaluate proposals submitted by wireless communication companies like Verizon and AT&T. It’s the same consultant hired by Dewey Beach for the same job, he said.
CTC will evaluate all wireless applications submitted to the city. However, hiring the Maryland-based company was spurred by an application from Verizon, because the city has been going back and forth with the company for years on the proposed look and possible location of antennas on or near the Boardwalk. For a time, the proposal was to replace more than a dozen lights on the eastern edge of the Boardwalk, but no good way to hide all the wiring was presented. More recently, the working proposal had a dozen antennas on the western edge of the Boardwalk.
Mills said CTC is expected to make a presentation during the commissioners workshop Wednesday, Sept. 8, when they’ll also have initial review of Verizon’s Boardwalk antennas and of the city’s wireless code.
State Road pump station building needs repair
During the meeting, Lynn also announced the need for repairs to some concrete at the State Road pump station. She said the concrete for the building was original to the 80-year-old structure and had been damaged by exposure to sulfuric acid as part of operations.
The city’s wastewater consultant GHD was onsite the morning of Aug. 25. In an email Aug. 25, Public Works Director Kevin Williams said the city will wait for GHD’s assessment, but they do not feel a failure is imminent.
Williams said there are no significant issues with the pumps, motors, or other equipment in the pump station. Concerns are limited to the concrete in the wet well, he said.
This pump station is a significant piece of the city’s wastewater system. Williams said all of the city’s flow as well as the flow from Henlopen Acres and North Shores goes through this pump station. From there, he said, it is pumped to the treatment plant, roughly three-quarters of a mile south.
The city’s capital improvement plan includes $135,000 for pump station rehabilitation over each of the next few years, but Williams said this pump station’s concrete walls are not included in the current CIP. This is an unanticipated expense, and the city will wait for GHD’s assessment of potential cost, he said.
Williams said a time frame for the work is to be determined.
Policies for in-person, virtual public hearings adopted
By unanimous vote, commissioners also approved a new policy for how city meetings will be conducted when in-person meetings resume.
Mills introduced the policy during the Aug. 9 workshop, and he recognized the Aug. 20 meeting was being held virtually because of a rise in COVID-19, but, he said, there are new committee appointments coming and he wants a policy in place for when in-person meetings resume. He said he would rather be proactive on the matter.
As approved, attendance to the board of commissioners, planning commission, board of adjustment, and parks and shade tree commission meetings will be required for members; presentations given to these four groups are preferred to be made in person, and public participation can be in person or virtual.
Commissioner Edward Chrzanowski agreed that public hearings, voting meetings and special meetings should be held in person. However, he said, he thinks commissioners should be able to participate virtually if they are out of town and would like to do so.
Mills said he thought about that, but he was inclined to go back to the way it was – a person is either at the meeting in person or they’re not attending.
Commissioner Jay Lagree said if the city is asking applicants or presenters to be there in person, the commissioners should also be there to receive the information. It is really difficult to be the type of participant a commissioner should be if they’re only participating virtually, he said.
Ultimately, Mills didn’t amend the policy with either suggestion.