Hartly moving toward re-establishing a town gov’t

Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman and Sen. Dave Lawson split the $80,000 cost from their Community Transportation Funds to replace a section of concrete at the Hartly Volunteer Fire Company. (Delaware State News/K.I. White)

Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman and Sen. Dave Lawson split the $80,000 cost from their Community Transportation Funds to replace a section of concrete at the Hartly Volunteer Fire Company. (Delaware State News/K.I. White)

HARTLY — Three or four times so far, a dozen or so interested folks attended town council meetings in the state’s smallest incorporated community.

Since a quest to revive Hartly municipal government and the town itself began late in 2014, a five-member council now is charting a course for the western Kent County hamlet of approximately 76 residents.

State Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman, R-Clayton, who teamed with State Sen. Dave Lawson, R-Marydel, to help re-establish a town government that had been absent for years, said, “This looks like a story that’s headed in the right direction and will have a happy ending.”

Council members are reviewing options to adopt Kent County and other municipal ordinances that will allow them to act on plans to improve the look and commerce in the town at the crossroads of Del. 11 and Del. 44.

Dollar General has an engineering plan that’s received preliminary unanimous approval by town council, pending receipt of permits from the Delaware Department of Transportation, and clearing up town licensing requirements, Rep. Spiegelman said.

The wooden sign at the intersection of Delaware routes 44 and 11 Hartly apparently hasn’t been updated recently; the population actually is less than 80. Over the last year, a five-member council appears to have been making progress in turning around the town’s fortunes.  (Delaware State News/K.I. White)

The wooden sign at the intersection of Delaware routes 44 and 11 Hartly apparently hasn’t been updated recently; the population actually is less than 80. Over the last year, a five-member council appears to have been making progress in turning around the town’s fortunes. (Delaware State News/K.I. White)

For Dollar General to officially commit to Hartly, Rep. Spiegelman said there must be annexation of some land that will become part of the city.

“Dollar General doesn’t want to deal with two tax bills,” said Rep. Spiegelman, noting that construction is likely sometime in 2016.

Council is considering pulling together some community-wide events, Rep. Spiegelman said,

“People are feeling that things are actually moving forward,” he said.

With ordinances, Hartly can resume code enforcement to improve problem areas hampered by dumped trash, boarded-up windows, landscaping and “the general appearance of some properties,” Rep. Spiegelman said.

“There are a couple properties — residential and commercial — that are bad enough to be local landmarks. They are not just unkempt but to the point of being dangerous.”

Levy Court has pledged to assist in code enforcement if the ordinances are adopted, the legislator said.

A town Facebook page now exists to aid in communication, something Rep. Spiegelman said the town was lacking prior to its launch.

As part of their commitment to Hartly’s ongoing renewal Rep. Spiegelman and Sen. Lawson split the $80,000 cost from their Community Transportation Funds to replace “a very large section of concrete” at vehicle entry way to the Hartly Volunteer Fire Company.

The town still is contemplating how to pay a past due bill of approximately $24,000 to Delmarva Power.

“It’s very difficult right now since the debt to income ratio is very high at this point,” Rep. Spiegelman said.

Also, town council chose to forgive back taxes not collected from 2009 to 2013 or 2014, Rep. Spiegelman said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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