City Manager Reflects On Year, Looks Forward

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chiefs-picBy Terry Rogers

At the beginning of 2013, Milford City Manager Richard Carmean said that one of the biggest problems facing the city in the upcoming year was infrastructure, especially the quantity and quality of water available to residents and businesses. As the year started, the City had drilled two wells, one of which came in dry while another was contaminated, issues that Mr. Carmean called “setbacks.” However, the city did drill a third well in southeast Milford that is successful and will be the location of the town’s newest water tower.

During 2013, the city demolished the old water treatment plant and reservoir located on Washington Street, and as the year ended, were very close to bidding the new treatment plant in the same location. In addition, the city planned new wells in the location of the new treatment plant, but ran into setbacks with that process as well.

“We had planned an additional production well for that facility, and after several test wells failed, we now have succeeded in drilling a well that is close to the proposed plant,” Mr. Carmean explained. “This well is very satisfactory for the quality and quantity needs of the city.” As part of the project, the city also planned to build a new billing office at the location of the new water treatment plant. When the PNC Bank location became available, as the bank consolidated operations at their Dupont Highway location, the City decided to purchase the property to use as the utility billing office.

“When the PNC Bank property located on South Walnut Street became available, we changed direction on the plan to build a new billing office,” said Mr. Carmean. “This property is ideal for our billing facility and will provide an anchor for downtown Milford. This building is historic, but in excellent condition. We not only acquired some additional city owned parking areas, but even with a few physical changes to the office areas, we save a considerable amount of money by not building a new billing office.”

In addition to the new treatment facility that will be placed at the location where the old treatment facility was demolished, the City also developed capacity, storage and treatment in the southern sections of Milford in 2012. The city was able to drill a successful test well on the site, and in 2013, obtained the land required for the water tower and treatment facility at the location.

“This year, we got the needed easements to allow installation of a water main from the new tower location to Wilkins Road,” Mr. Carmean said. “The Wilkins Road water main was installed this year and it connects to our present system, which also extends under Route 1 to the east side of the highway. The Wilkins Road main, which will feed the eastern and southern parts of the city had to be completed this year before the construction of the Route 30 overpass.”

Mr. Carmean also explained that Southeast Front Street project was finalized for engineering and funding for 2014, a project that the city manager says has been “a complicated endeavor from the beginning.” Mr. Carmean said that what began as a simple project became much more complicated as more issues were discovered that needed addressing.

“What began as a simple mill and overlay of the street,” Mr. Carmean said. “But, It was decided that to do the street and not address problems with infrastructure under the street was not the best direction. We now have our bids approved, and the successful bidder is ready to begin work.” Mr. Carmean explained that funding for the project has been a challenge, but with assistance from state legislators, DelDOT and City monies, the project will be completed correctly from the beginning.

“I mentioned Airport Road needing attention at the beginning of the year,” Mr. Carmean said. “Due to costs we would have to apply ‘band-aids’ to the worst areas. We have made some repairs as planned, but this is not a problem that is going away, and will have to be addressed sooner rather than later.” Another issue facing the City are the retirement of Gary Norris, City Planner, and the fact that there are not funds in the budget to replace Mr. Norris with another full-time planner.

“I do hope that I can develop and fund a planner position with some economic development responsibilities,” Mr. Carmean explained. Mr. Carmean also said that the City should close the agreement to buy the land for a future site of a police facility in the first few weeks of 2014, as the current police station has reached capacity and a new facility is necessary.