City Releases 2016 Fall Update

106

Released by the City of Milford

From the Desk of Mayor Bryan W Shupe
Fall is in the air, the kids are back at school and families are excited to shop small and support local. Autumn is my favorite season of the year. It is a chance to refocus on family, friends and be thankful for the strength our challenges have provided us and the opportunities ahead. This year, my wife and I are blessed to welcome our first child Evelyn Alexander Shupe to our family and thank our community for the love and support shared for our exciting journey ahead.  As small business owners we also thank residents that understand and practice the philosophy of supporting local, deciding to invest their money into our local economy. As members of the Milford community we continue to feel fortunate that we live in a town where the energy and enthusiasm of its people do not only create dialogue of how to continue Moving Milford Forward but also spur action behind making Milford even greater.
As we venture through 2016 and eventually into the new year, the people of Milford continue to be determined in creating a bright future for generations to come. The expansion of our healthcare opportunities, commitment to public safety through proactive community policing, engagement with revitalization efforts downtown, dedication to new technology and repairing infrastructure and diligence in preserving our quality of life are all promises that continue to be met daily by City of Milford staff, leadership and elected officials.
Fiscal Responsibility Saves Taxpayers Money
 

The City of Milford continues to demonstrate fiscal responsibility not only during annual budget discussions but throughout the year. City leadership has proven over the last several years that diligent planning and local, state and federal partnerships are key to creating public policy that is both transformative and prudent. Most notably, City leadership developed a financial strategy to improve and repair sewer infrastructure in 2015 that took advantage of $2 million in grants from the USDA. Combined with a $1.6 million loan and another $400,000 transferred from sewer reserves, the City has been able to invest $4 million in sewer improvements including the Fisher Avenue Pump Station Rehabilitation, North Street Pump Station Rehabilitation and system wide Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition ( SCADA) improvements.  In addition to working with our state and local partners, our Finance Department is currently in the process of refinancing several electric and sewer bonds that could save the City more than  $800,000 in interest payments alone over the next several years. This practice of conservative fiscal policy  has become a part of the business culture throughout all City of Milford departments.
Transparency Helps Residents Direct Milford’s Future
 

Photo Source: http://www.doverpost.com/news/20160113/web-transparency-varies-across-state
Transparency remains a high priority as City of Milford leadership continues to proactively engage the community in the decision-making process. Last year, the City engaged over 200 individuals in the development of our Downtown Master Plan. This public process and community outreach allowed us to create a plan that reflects greater diversity throughout our community. It was successful in securing the Downtown Development District (DDD) designation from the State of Delaware, allowing State grants to play a large role in our Rivertown Rebirth strategy. We welcome further community participation during our upcoming Comprehensive Plan Update that will take place over the next few months through the City of Milford Planning & Zoning department. All public notices and information about this process will be posted on the City of Milford’s official website at www.cityofmilford.com and distributed to local media outlets.
Bayhealth Groundbreaking Attracts New Business
 
  
Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe joins hospital officials and others as they help celebrate the groundbreaking Tuesday morning at the new Bayhealth location in Milford. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik
The new Bayhealth health campus, which broke ground in May 2016, will allow Milford to become a regional player in the growing health care industry in Delaware. The City is excited about Bayhealth’s investment of over $250 million as it has already driven additional partnerships including Nemours Health Systems, that will provide pediatrics and senior care at a level that Southern Delaware has not seen before. The new health campus will become a catalyst for even more economic development, across several industries. A new hospital and outpatient services will draw new physicians and nurses. They will buy homes and vehicles, have children who will attend our schools and improve the town’s economy  by leaps and bounds. Those who travel to our region for healthcare will use our gas stations, eat at local restaurants and get their prescriptions filled at our pharmacies. In so many ways, the health campus project will serve as a wide-reaching catalyst for economic growth.
The current Bayhealth campus on the Clarke Ave Milford Memorial site will continue to serve our community through the 2019 proposed opening date for the new campus. Starting in the fall of 2016, Bayhealth and the City of Milford will work together with Trammell Crow, a national firm recognized as the top redevelopment company in the industry, to develop a plan to repurpose the facility during the construction of the new health campus. Bayhealth will host several town halls in the upcoming year to listen to ideas and suggestions from the public regarding the project. For more information and opportunities to be involved with the construction of the new health campus and redevelopment of the current campus, individuals are encouraged to visit http://imaginede.com.
New Police Chief Strengthens Community Bond
 

Photo Source: Milford Police Department Facebook Page
Since being hired as Chief of Police in January of 2016, Chief Kenneth Brown has exceeded expectations, increasing the department’s proactive approach to community policing and serving residents. In addition to the community outreach online and on social media platforms, Chief Brown has made a habit of sharing the accomplishments of his men and women as well as community members through City Council meeting and through local press. Working with the State of Delaware, Chief Brown has made progress on properties that continue to cause problems for neighbors and the city as a whole. Chief Brown has led the charge on the future use of body cameras by the department, one of the first cities in the State to do so, and expanded the motorcycle unit that once patrolled city streets promoting community and police interactions on a positive basis. Newly appointed Chairman of the Police Committee Jamie Burke has worked alongside Chief Brown to evaluate the potential growth of Milford and analyze what future needs may look like. In a commitment to fiscal responsibility, Burke was able to secure an assessment of future needs, that was originally budgeted over $95,000 based on similar studies across the state, and organize an effort that will cost the City only $7,500.
Downtown Investors Eligible for State Grants 
 

DOUG CURRAN/SPECIAL TO THE NEWS JOURNAL
Created in 2015 with the help of over 200 community members and adopted by Milford City Council in 2016, the Rivertown Rebirth Plan has gained momentum with some positive movement downtown including the announcement by Touch of Italy to open a restaurant in the former Milford Trust Co Bank and the sale of Lou’s Bootery to an investor interested in historic preservation. As the downtown experiences many moving parts over the next several years, the City of Milford will continue to support the expansion of existing businesses and the opening of new businesses through the Downtown Development District (DDD)  program when resources are available for qualified projects.
In August 2016 Governor Jack Markell designated Milford as part of the Downtown Development District program, creating more opportunities for the private-public partnerships that will help us to realize the City’s Rivertown Rebirth plan. The DDD program offers private investors the ability to apply for up to 20% State grants for commercial and residential rehabilitation and new construction in our downtown district. City staff has met with State officials to discuss program details and will hold a public meeting on Thursday, September 29 at 6pm at City Hall to share the information with residents and potential investors. These investors will come from many different backgrounds as the State and local incentives can be used for commercial rehabilitation and new construction as well as residential rehabilitation and new construction within the downtown district. A complete description of the DDD program can be found at http://news.delaware.gov/2016/08/10/downtown-development-districts-ddd-program-expands/. A complete version of the Rivertown Rebirth can be found at http://rivertownrebirth.com/presentation/.
In an effort to preserve and enhance the quality of life downtown, City officials have started a discussion with DELDOT and will form a partnership to create a master plan for Front Street from Route 113 to Rehoboth Boulevard, including road paving, sidewalk, sign installations and other beatification efforts. With the new overpass at Route 1 and Route 14, slated for 2018, there will be a new entrance from Delaware’s busiest corridor into downtown Milford. DELDOT officials are working with the City to provide unique and attractive signage to celebrate the success that Milford has experienced.
New Program to Bolster Local Workforce
 

Workforce Development, a commission under the City of Milford, has run a successful program over the years helping high school students find employment with local businesses while planning for their future with investment opportunities from the student, employer and the City of Milford. In October, the Workforce Development Commission will meet with Delaware Technical & Community College and several large employers in Kent and Sussex Counties to establish an additional program that will evaluate the workforce needs of Delaware businesses. Once those needs are examined by the Commission, a plan will be put forth to facilitate a public-private partnership that can help address what education and programs are necessary to produce a sustainable, local workforce, ensuring that businesses can look locally to engage future leaders in their companies. This meeting is open to the public and will be held at City Hall on Monday, October 3 at 5:30pm. To be a part of the Workforce Development Commission, or other City Boards, residents can fill out an application at http://www.cityofmilford.com/FormCenter/Milford-Forms-2/Application-for-Boards-and-Commissions-39.
Infrastructure Repair & Technology Build Milford’s Future
 

The City of Milford continues to repair aging infrastructure while preparing for growth in all areas of our city. During 2016 the crews expect the SE Milford Well and Water Treatment Facility, South East Milford Elevated Storage Tank Project, Washington Street Water Treatment Plant and Washington Street Elevated Storage Tank Rehabilitation to be completed. Due to an approved referendum by our residents, the city has received $2 million in grants from USDA. The grants, combined with the voter-approved $1.6 million loan and another $400,000 transferred from sewer reserves, will allow the city to make $4 million in sewer improvements, thus a substantial savings to customers . These projects will include Fisher Avenue Pump Station Rehabilitation, North Street Pump Station Rehabilitation, Shawnee Acres Pump Station Replacement and inflow and infiltration improvements. Milford Public Works Department recently completed street and curb improvements on Truitt Avenue  and repaved the intersection of SE 2nd Street and Washington Streets.   In the spring of 2017, Airport Road is scheduled for pavement base repair and resurfacing .
This coming year will see the City of Milford increase its use of technology to operate more efficiently and reliably, but also increase customer satisfaction. Milford is already a leader in the use of fiber optics and SCADA systems to monitor and control our utility infrastructure.  In the next year, the City will begin to develop and deploy a smart meter system for water and electric meters.  Once fully operational, we can enhance the data and information we share with customers, enabling customers to better manage their water and energy consumption. There will be reduced operating costs associated with the current meter reading operation, as currently city crews drive by every meter to read the meter monthly, and go on site to take meter readings when someone moves in or out of a property.  All of this will help the City to reduce it carbon footprint, reduce the cost of operating and maintaining vehicles and reduce overall operating costs.
Residents who are concerned about a specific stretch of roadway, sidewalk or other structures can contact the City at 302-424-3712 or report a concern at http://www.cityofmilford.com/FormCenter/Milford-Forms-2/Report-a-Concern-37.
Residents Urged to Participate in Community Planning
 

The City has begun the process of updating the 2008 Comprehensive Plan.  The Comprehensive Plan outlines community goals and objectives that will be used over the next ten years to guide growth and development within the City.  Plan components include plans for housing, transportation, infrastructure, economic development/redevelopment, natural resources, parks and recreation and land use management.  The Planning Commission will meet over the next six months to update each aspect of the plan.  A copy of the current plan can be found on the City of Milford website at http://cityofmilford.com/81/Comprehensive-Plan.
In October, the Planning Commission will review the former plan goals and objectives and determine if these continue to be relevant or need to be modified.  Planning Commission will develop a strategy for public participation and staff will present the results of the Comprehensive Plan community questionnaire.  For those that have not completed the questionnaire already, an online survey is available on the City’s home page at www.cityofmilford.com.  For those who do not have access to the internet, paper copies are available at City Hall and the Customer Service building in English, Spanish and Creole.
The meetings in November through February will be used to review and approve draft chapters of the Plan prior to public workshops and City Council review.  State agencies will be invited to present updates and input related to specific portions of the Plan as part of public workshops.  A final draft of the plan should be completed by the Spring of 2017.  Upon acceptance of the draft by City Council, the Plan will be submitted to the Office of State Planning Coordination for review by State Agencies. The City anticipates final adoption of the plan in the Fall of 2017 and certification by the Governor by the end of 2017. Residents that want to find out more information about the Comprehensive Plan Update including the dates and times for all public meetings, can call the Milford Planning Office at City Hall at 302-424-3712 or view notices online at http://www.cityofmilford.com. To subscribe to automatic City of Milford updates by email and text message, residents can visit http://www.cityofmilford.com/list.aspx and provide contact information.
Mayor Bryan Shupe
302-424-3712
###
New Faces Help Move Milford Forward
Public Works Director – Mark Whitfield 
Mark Whitfield, former Public Works Director for State College, PA, became Milford’s Public Works Director on July 25, 2016, a position that was vacant for almost two years. Whitfield has worked for the Borough of State College since 1981 and as Public Works Director since 1998. Whitfield will be responsible for operations and maintenance of the City of Milford’s three utilities (water, wastewater and electric), solid waste collection operations (curbside residential trash, recycling and yard waste), fleet maintenance and the maintenance of Milford’s streets and stormwater system. In the coming year, the City of Milford is planning to deploy smart meter technology, complete an electric utility cost of service study and prepare the utilities to serve the new Bayhealth Campus.
DMI Executive Director – Steve Twilley
As many residents know, Downtown Milford Inc.’s executive director Lee Nelson, retired in July. In September, the Board of Directors of Downtown Milford, Inc. named Steve Twilley as its new executive director, effective September 2, 2016. A Milford resident for nearly 30 years, Twilley has an extensive background in non-profit organizational management, public relations, marketing and funds development. He is an active volunteer with and a past president of Second Street Players at Riverfront Theater, located at the heart of downtown Milford, serving on its Board of Directors for more than 15 years. Twilley’s primary responsibilities will be to advocate for and build awareness of DMI’s goals and activities, and to work closely with all of DMI’s many partners and stakeholders to build upon the civic, commercial and cultural development of Milford’s Downtown.
Community Events Not to Miss
Oktoberfest – St. Johns Church in Milford will host their annual Oktoberfest on September 23 from 6-10pm and September 24 10am-10pm.
International Food Festival – Downtown Milford Inc. will host their annual International Food Festival, celebrating food from around the world created by local restaurants, on Saturday, October 8 at 11am in downtown Milford.
Community Parade – The Milford Community Parade, a popular downtown event for more than 30 years, will be held on October 19, 2016 at 6:30pm. The parade route starts on the corner of Walnut and Seabury Ave and ends at the Milford High School.
Trick or Treat – The City of Milford will officially observe Trick or Treat on Monday, October 31 from 6-8pm.
City of Milford Dates to Remember
City Council Meetings – Occur every 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at 7pm at City Hall, 201 S Walnut St, Milford, DE 19963.
Rivertown Rebirth and Downtown Development District discussions– Thursday, September 29 at 6pm at City Hall.
Workforce Development Commission – Monday, October 3 at 5:30pm at City Hall
Coffee with the Mayor – Mayor Shupe with talk with residents and listen to their concerns and ideas. On Wednesday, October 12 at the Milford Senior Center, 111 Park Ave, Milford, DE.