What’s Going on With the Sussex County Council? Come on In for the Scoop-The 5/12/15 Edition

We have yet another post complimenting the Sussex County Council but then I’ve been called a stuck-up before. Does 5 acres a farm make and lots of discussion about grants Another county employee has my admiration..

To My Buddy Paul Rieger

Paul Rieger has a neighbor none of us want. I went out to his homestead and interviewed the fellow. For want of a more considerate neighbor it would seem that Paul has thrived just as I have in my recent tale in Chicken Soup for the Soul. But, ah, I will let Paul write his story.

During the public comment section Rieger asked pointing questions about the definition of a farm in the Sussex county code. “Five acres and larger” is how a farm is defined.

Five acres? I think my lot is five acres. So I can have pigs and goats and cows on a five acre plot of land? Rieger’s comment caused Councilman George Cole to remark on the problems with defining a farm as five acres and promised the matter would be addressed in the future.


I’ve talked with Rieger over the months and he has learned the Sussex county property code about as well as anyone. Rieger’s neighbor thinks he lives on a farm/commune/small industrial plant what with his tires and barbed-wire fences and animals of all sorts. I’d suggest George Cole consider having Rieger be a citizen-consultant for any endeavor to re-visit the Sussex county council land code.

State Legislative Update- should county be buying abandoned properties and the increase in fees this year will shock us all

State Legislative liaison Hal Godwin commented on a bill that will allow the county to buy abandoned properties. This was a confusing few minutes as….well can’t the county put in a bid for an abandoned property at a Sheriff’s sale the same as I could? I will further research this and get back.

Godwin also noted, strongly, about the plethora of increased fees expected to be implemented this year. Cause we can’t consider reducing expenses or anything can we? Just “tax” the people until they are crushed.

Grants and a nod to Gina Jennings
5.10.15jennings_2013It’s been entirely too long my wait to compliment Sussex County’s Director of Finance. I reviewed Gina’s statements, her pie charts, her analyses of the many angles of distributing taxpayer money to “worthy” organizations.

There are two kinds of grant distribution in Sussex county. One is a fund, limited, given to each councilman for use on what he or she deems is a worthy social cause. The other is what Sussex county calls “Human Service Grants”. Logic dictates that the funds assigned for individual councilman distribution is to ensure that THEIR district is not shorted in the big distribution of the human service grants. $148,000 was distributed in the list given out today. I don’t know where that amount comes from for….a county does not TITHE, does it?

The cynical would suggest that charity monies allotted for councilman to distributed is naught but a way to buy votes. But let’s not go there.

I myself was once a fine, fine Director of Finance, managing accounting departments in hospitals, government contractors, property management firms and….many others.

I never did as good a job as Gina does.

Bearing in mind I did not have the software and technology available to me that Gina does…nonetheless she does a great job and goodness along with Lawson and Costello she belongs in that group of Council employees that make Sussex county great.
Below is a smashed up list of money distributed in the Human Services Grants…example…Easter Seals Delaware got $1,000.00. And so on.

Pathways to Success, Inc. 1,000.00$ The ARK Educational Consulting, Inc. 2,000.00$ Hearts Unlimited, Inc. 250.00$ People’s Place II, Inc. 1,500.00$ Best Buddies International, Inc. 1,500.00$ Laurel Community Foundation, Inc 500.00$ West Side New Beginnings, Inc. 1,000.00$ Thresholds of Delaware 500.00$ Easter Seals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore 1,000.00$ U Count, Inc. 1,000.00$ The Delaware Adolescent Program, Inc. 1,500.00$ Shechinah Empowerment Center, Inc. 500.00$ Primeros Pasos Inc. 1,500.00$ Delaware Housing Coalition 1,500.00$ Booker Street Church of God 2,000.00

Congrats Gina. I know not much about Mike Costello or that Lawson guy. But I know financial statements, pie charts and use Excel to track everything in my life. When I say you’re good….you are good. Sussex county is lucky to have you and tell them I said so during your next raise negotiations.

Councilman Comments
Two quick comments about the councilman comments. First, what the hey was Joan Deaver talking about when she said that some developers should be taking over Sussex county growth costs.

Say what?

As I understand it developers are already assessed costs for the impact of their changes to Delaware’s infrastructure.

I’d like to take a moment here to give a shout to Rob Arlett and….well yeah he asks a lot of questions. But they’re intelligent queries and his subsequent comments are informative. Rob, you keep it up. You’re doing a great job so far.

In the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost the fiscal year 2016 budget was submitted and, again, Gina, good job. But it’s enormous and Rob Arlett says he’s going to review the whole thing. I’ll get back to you on how he does.

My Take

As I walk about my domicile and listen to the voices over the WIFI broadcast of the Sussex County I can’t help, at least of late, with the civility and common sense of the Sussex county council. I think we have good employees, an intriguing mix of elected guys manning the seats and the discussions are great.

I don’t want to keep complimenting the county council cause someday they will make me mad. So far as I know George Cole has stopped endorsing ordinances already covered by state law, Joan Deaver gave up on stopping dogs from barking and Sam Wilson continually regrets the change of the century.

A pretty good group. Walk up to anyone, ANYONE, in Sussex county and ask them where the greatest place in the world is to live.

ALL of them will tell you….SUSSEX COUNTY DELAWARE!

Try it.
I do not respond to comments on my posts. I certainly have no problem with such commentary and, indeed, encourage it. But I’ve written my piece and I don’t want to argue it further.
Please feel free to email me at patfish1@aol.com if you want to send me a special comment or have any ideas or information you want to share.
NEXT : Delaware tidbits and a state legislative update….GOOD ONE….coming up soon.

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