MILFORD — City Council held a lengthy meeting Monday that touched on various construction projects and personnel updates.
During the meeting, Mayor Archie Campbell declared next week as Professional Municipal Clerks Week in Milford. He and other council members took the opportunity to recognize City Clerk Terri Hudson and Katrina White, the deputy clerk.
“I’d like to congratulate you, Terri, for keeping me out of trouble and (for) all the help you’ve given me and (City Manager Mark Whitfield),” Mayor Campbell said. “I really appreciate everything you’ve done for us.”
But that wasn’t the only recognition Monday. Milford Police Chief Kenneth Brown named Sgt. Tim Lord the Officer of the Quarter for his contributions to a recent drug bust on North Street in the 4th Ward.
“Tim’s been with us about 18 years,” Chief Brown said. “Prior to me becoming chief, he was really our single guy in the drug unit for about seven years and did an awesome job, so much so that I promoted him to patrol sergeant when I took over as chief.”
In December, the police department’s main drug detective, Senior Cpl. T.J. Webb, was injured in a Rehoboth Beach shooting, taking him off-duty temporarily. But the drug problem in some parts of Milford persisted, Chief Brown said.
“We had a serious drug-activity problem on North Street that had to be dealt with right away,” he added. “I knew that Tim Lord was the man for the job, so I pulled him off the supervisor patrol shift and put him to just concentrating on that task.”
That operation ultimately yielded 37 arrests and led to the seizure of thousands of dollars’ worth of illicit drugs.
“I’m so grateful for the work you’re doing and the time you put into the 4th Ward,” Councilwoman Katrina Wilson said to Sgt. Lord.
“It has made a difference. Has it gone? No, but it’s made a difference,” she said. “When I rode (down North Street) today, there was no one in that hot area, and that is a bonus, so I appreciate it. Keep up the hard work.”
Councilman Todd Culotta said he remembers Sgt. Lord from Milford High School, as they both graduated in 1991.
“We still are friends today,” he said. “In 1992, I worked for Tim in Domino’s. He was a tough boss.”
Mr. Whitfield also took a minute Monday to introduce Dale Matthews, the city’s new information technology director.
“I’m excited to be here.” Mr. Matthews said. “I look forward to working with such a dynamic team to help the city accomplish its goals. We have plenty of work to do, and as of today, I’m rolling up my sleeves and jumping in.”
In other business, Councilwoman Wilson notified city officials about a prayer vigil Tuesday evening at Mount Enon Baptist Church on Church Avenue. She said the event was organized with the Camden chapter of the NAACP.
“I hope each and every one of you can come out to attend,” she said. “Any time we can pray for peace in our neighborhood, it’s a worthy cause.”
Additionally, there were a number of construction projects on council’s agenda Monday. Along with awarding the bid for the fit-out of City Hall’s basement to Wilmington-based EDiS Co., council gave its blessing to the Kent County Conservation District, which plans to create a stormwater-drainage system for the Knotts Landing community, east of Rehoboth Boulevard.
Council also granted Brad Schlotterbeck permission to turn a medical building he bought at 219 S. Walnut St. into a home. The building began as a residential space but has since housed the Lofland Funeral Home, a charity called People’s Place and, most recently, Zarraga & Zarraga Internal Medicine.
“It’s an extremely large property. We do have 11 grandkids, so we can fill it up, but there’s kind of a two-bedroom apartment that exists in that back, second-floor space,” Mr. Schlotterbeck said. “We just want to do some updates on it … (and) get it rented as quickly as possible.”
He hopes to update the whole home.
“I am a kitchen and bath designer,” he said. “If somebody wants to see some work we do, this house is definitely going to be something for us to show people.”
Council also finished its conversation about the city’s capital improvement plan, which was started earlier this month. Finance Director Lou Vitola gave a concise explanation of the CIP’s significance.
“This is a plan, and it is only a plan,” he said. “No financial commitments or obligations will be made if the CIP is approved tonight by council.”
Mr. Vitola said the discussion’s purpose “is to set forth a plan and to solicit input from council on some basics, the content and prioritization of CIP items in the context of just a five-year plan.”
There were two main questions he wanted council to consider.
“Are any projects missing from the plan that council would like to see in the coming years, and are the projects prioritized correctly?” Mr. Vitola asked.
Parks & Recreation Director Brad Dennehy quickly went through his department’s plans, which includes potential funding for pickleball courts, and Public Works Director Mike Svaby finished off his presentation, which was cut off for time’s sake at the last meeting.
Ultimately, council members decided they need more time to mull over what Mr. Vitola and other administrators presented in regard to the CIP before officially moving to approve it. That vote has been tabled until the next council meeting May 10.