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Rehoboth Beach commissioners approve $27.7 million budget

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The Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners approved a city budget for the upcoming fiscal year.


The $27.7 million budget includes a two percent pay increase for city employees, along with a few major capital improvement projects.


It’s nearly $1 million more in spending than this year, reflecting in part a more positive economic outlook for the coming year.


Commissioner Susan Gay says this summer is already looking better than 2020.


“Rentals are way ahead for the season," said Gay. "So I think that it will be a very robust season and I think it’s a really good budget and I'm pleased that we’re able to do the things that we heard last year.”


One of those delayed projects is the installation of a new ADA accessible playground at Lake Gerar.


The city faced a difficult period last year when the pandemic limited tourists visiting during the summer season.


But with the vaccine rollout and relaxed restrictions, the commissioners are looking on the bright side this summer.


Commissioners also discussed another streetscape project they want to begin working on soon.


Mayor Stan Mills announced nominations for a task force to examine changes to the first two blocks of Wilmington and Baltimore Avenues.


Mills says this project will require input from community members to reach a consensus on what’s best going forward.


“Public input is vital and welcome," Mills said. "We’ve got a lot of smart people and business people and residents in town that can give us some good direction on the pros and cons of these particular concepts.”


This would be the third streetscape project in 15 years, following Rehoboth Avenue back in 2006 and the Lake Avenue revitalization currently underway.


Commissioner Ed Chrzanowskipoints out none of the nominated members are business owners rather than people who live on the streets affected.  He urged the mayor to find a resident.


Mills says he is willing to do that, but adds deciding which business owner to drop would be a challenge. There are already 16 members on the task force, which Mills calls unwieldy.


The members will be approved by the Board of Commissioners Tuesday.


Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.


Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.