Millsboro council reappoints Truitt as mayor

MILLSBORO — Michelle Truitt, the second woman to serve as mayor in Millsboro’s history, will keep the reins for a second consecutive year, as selected by council peers.

Council’s six other members at its Monday meeting cast unanimous approval in supporting the nomination of Ms. Truitt as mayor of the central Sussex County municipality, which is in the midst of residential and business growth.

“I am ecstatic that my fellow councilmen selected me to be mayor again,” said Mayor Truitt. “I try to do a good job for the town and represent them well.”

Across the board, there is no changing of the guard in Millsboro for the year that runs through June 2021.

Michelle Truitt

During council’s annual reorganization, Councilman Tim Hodges was reelected vice mayor for another year, Jim Kells was reelected secretary and Bradley Cordrey remains as treasurer.

Councilman John Thoroughgood, who served as mayor for 3 1/2 years before passing the torch to Ms. Truitt in 2019, is in the second year of a three-year term as council’s pro tempore.

Mayor Truitt, who has been involved in town government for more than a decade, was unopposed in a council reelection bid in the town’s 2020 election held in June.

Millsboro’s first female mayor was Thelma Monroe, who served in that post from 1979-1994.

Mayor Truitt says the town has some unfinished business and other important agenda items to address in the coming year.

“As far as this coming year, we want to finish up the projects, the Main Street paver project and the State Street project. We have a couple other issues, with the new Town Hall and the police station. We’re trying to clean up those projects and finish them,” Mayor Truitt said.

“I know this is a heavy year for our budget in infrastructure. There’s the new water tower that we are building, and we’re working on replacing different things for the water and sewer plant, to keep up with the growth that the town is seeing. You need those services to be able to grow.”

Tim Hodges

One new hotel, an avid on DuPont Boulevard, is underway, and plans are in the works that could potentially bring another to the U.S. 113 corridor.

Millsboro’s growth to the north includes the March annexation of the 39-acre parcel — named Patriots Bluff Commercial — along U.S. 113 earmarked for an ambulatory medical campus in Peninsula Regional Health System Inc.’s growing health care network.

Warren’s Mill demolition

Two contractors are onboard and the town is awaiting final approval from the Delaware Department of Transportation to proceed with demolition of Warren’s Mill, the greater Millsboro area’s last known standing gristmill.

“We are waiting on the barricade plan for the demolition. Once that is in place and approved with DelDOT, we are ready to go,” said Millsboro assistant town manager Jamie Burk.

The mill was built in the early 1900s. Over time, its condition has deteriorated, and the growing concern is the stability of the two-story structure sheathed in clapboard with a gambrel roof that stands on a concrete base not far from Betts Pond Road, a two-lane state roadway that separates the mill from Betts Pond. A second-floor portion of the structure has collapsed internally.

The hope of town leaders is to salvage some of the structure and mill equipment for historical preservation purposes. One suggestion is to use original wood salvaged from the mill for an accent wall at the new Town Hall, currently in the planning stage.

“And some of the equipment we’re going to salvage for maybe the museum,” said Mr. Burk. “There is some mill equipment in there, lifts and other items.”

Warren’s Mill, named for Wilford B. Warren, who owned and operated it until the World War II era, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.