property owners who experienced sticker shock when they received
their annual sanitary sewer service bill this week may not have
realized that is just a foretaste of what is to come in 2009
when the property tax rate goes up for the first time in what
then will be a dozen years.
to the mid-fiscal year report, county government spending is
running about $1 million less than budgeted. But chief financial
officer Michael Strine cautioned County Council's financial
committee against reading too much into that. Fuel costs, as
everyone knows, have been rising astronomically. Delmarva Power
is about ready to make up for time lost while waiting out the
deregulation rate moratorium to run out.
reality is that no reasonable amount of belt tightening is going to
preserve any of the county's budget reserve past the 2009-10
fiscal year, if it lasts that long.
Councilman Robert Weiner suggested
that it might be better wisdom to "feather in" the inevitable tax increase
"instead of waiting for doomsday." He drew zilch response from his colleagues.
Half of Council is up for re-election or replacement come
November. Occupants of only two seats -- Penrose Hollins and Karen Venezky --
were around last time Council voted in a rate hike. Needless to say having
been able to go so long without running up against every politician's nightmare
has been a welcome experience. No elected official wants to vote for higher
taxes in an election year. The prospect of having a bit more time -- like being
able to hit the snooze button when the alarm clock goes off -- is inviting.
Dare we hope that Council will consider, as early as this
spring, the benefits of spacing out and softening that '09 wallop with incremental
Maybe County Executive Chris Coons will share responsibility for the lesser of
two evils and offer that possibility along with demonstrable assurance that his
administration has spending under control when he presents his fiscal 2007
budget for Council's 'consideration and adoption'.
is so far behind on road-building and other
projects that it's not likely to catch up until 2025.
likely, of course, but Tigist Zegeye, executive director of the
Wilmington Area Planning Council, said the situation is such
that the council has decided not to produce a transportation
improvement plan this year. It will concentrate instead on
setting priorities for projects already in the pipeline. "Some
[projects] are slipping; others are nowhere to be found," she
just-issued report on the status of
its long-range plan for the years until 2025, it said 21
projects have been completed since the plan was drawn up in 2003
and four are scheduled to be completed within their projected
in-service date. But 10 are behind schedule, 60 have no approved
financing and are therefore considered to be just sitting on the
shelf, and two have been cancelled.
Brandywine Hundred projects in the unfinanced category are
improvements to the Interstate 95-Concord Pike interchange and
the long-suffering Tyler McConnell Bridge.
for a complete list of all the projects and their status.
council is beginning the process of extending the long-range
plan to 2030. That will involve some public participation and is
to be completed by March, 2007.
council is designated as the official agency for providing the
Federal Highway Administration with the public's view on
transportation and transportation-related projects vying for
federal financing. In theory, it tells Delaware Department of
Transportation 'this is what the public wants and you had better
do these things or Uncle Sam won't help pick up the tab.'
The federal share on most major projects is 80%.
demonstrated last year, council recommendations don't carry anywhere
near the clout that bit of revenue-sharing would seem to command.
In response to a budget-cutting directive, DelDOT slashed its
program and the General Assembly, which has the final say over
the state's share of the cost, directed that the Blue Ball
projects and the widening of the Delaware Turnpike and
straightening out the mess that is its interchange with Sate
Route 1 proceed full-steam and everything else step aside.
point, DelDOT went back to the planning council, presented that
plan and, in effect, said, 'This is what we've decided you
want'. There was a bit of hue and cry, but in the end, the
council responded, 'You're right. That is what we want.'
The council's directors weren't about to pull the plug on
getting the federal dollars.
to read Delaforum article
real world for you. Zegeye said the planning process involves
collaboration, not confrontation. The secretary of
transportation and the department are represented on the
council's governing body. And, she added, "We have no
jurisdiction to tell the legislature what to do."
probably comes as no surprise to anyone who has been watching,
but the rebuilt Concord Pike-Foulk Road intersection is no
panacea. Traffic still backs up on Foulk Road and the wait to
access the pike seems longer than it used to. As a result, the
number of beat-the-light drivers appears to have increased.
Exiting Interstate 95 onto Concord Pike
northbound is slower during rush hour and the weaving north of
the barriers is as bad, if not worse, than it used to be at
Augustine Cut-Off. The turn onto Weldin Road Extended to reach
Foulk Road coming from the city is, to say the least, confusing.
Anyone not familiar with that style of local-think would look
for it to be at the Independence Mall traffic signal.
Don't say Delaforum didn't warn you.
to read that article.
before he died, civic activist Malcolm MacKenzie produced the
latest in a series of replicas of the blue ball once used by the
tavern that was there to
signal stagecoaches on Concord Turnpike. It was a painted
bowling ball atop a log. The original, we understand, was a
glass globe attached to a post. Placed at the intersection near
the now-restored dairy barn, however, the replica managed to
gave a touch of historic perspective.
according to a DelDOT spokesman, no one knows where it might
have been put for safekeeping whilst the intersection was being
rebuilt. In fact, no one seems to know if it was put anywhere
for safekeeping whilst the intersection was being rebuilt. The previous marker had similarly vanished a
few years earlier
DelDOT is not likely to replace Mal's replacement, perhaps
someone will see to it that a new replacement is ready by the
time the barn is reopened in the spring.
Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 111th
Infantry is back home in northeast Philadelphia, but life isn't
the same as it was before members of the hard-hit Pennsylvania
National Guard unit went to Iraq.
read the Philadelphia Inquirer article about how the soldiers
are coping -- and not coping.
Is it getting hot in here? Yes, according
to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. 2005, in fact, saw
the highest global surface temperature on record. Moreover,
global warming is occurring an increasingly faster pace.
to reach a summary of the report.
If you haven't already done so, it is well
worth a trip to Philly to catch the Benjamin Franklin show at
the National Constitution Center. And if you really want to make
a pilgrimage in observance of Ben's 300th,