Town of Hartly Could Possibly Dissolve if Residents Don't Step U - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Town of Hartly Could Possibly Dissolve if Residents Don't Step Up

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HARTLY, Del.- The town of Hartly could be no more if residents in the town don't step up to keep it going.

State officials told a crowd of over a hundred concerned residents Monday evening that the town has a possibility of dissolving.

It's been years since Hartly has had a functioning town government. State officials told residents that they have two options. Either at least three people need to step up and run for town council, or Kent County officials will have to take over.

For many of the residents the only option was for the people of the town to get involved.

"To lose something as basic as what we have here would be a sin," said local hardware store owner, David Brown. "I may not live in the town but I spend the biggest majority of day here, 12-14 hours a day in town so it's home."

At a town meeting Monday evening, state officials urged residents to step up to the plate. If they weren't able to get at least people to become council members Hartly would then no longer be a self-functioning town.

"It's a scary thing. Change is scary," explains Representative Jeffrey Spiegelman. "The idea is that you've lived a certain way, a comfortable way inside a town and then all of a sudden you got a different style of government taking over."

Charter requirements limit the number of people eligible to be on town council. Although there were over a hundred people at the town meeting Monday evening voicing their love for the town, less than 20 of them actually lived within town limits which is a requirement of the charter.

"The town limits are extremely small," said Hartly resident Cynthia Swyka. "What we need are people that are in town limits to step up to the plate."

Whether living in town limits or right outside of it, some residents already volunteered to step either run for council or volunteer to help.

"We're going to offer support," said Swyka. "There should be enough of us that it shouldn't be a burden on anyone. If we share the load we'll all benefit."

Others weren't convinced about the change many promised.

"I know what it's going to boil down to," said Pete Morris of Hartyly. "Give it another 2, 3 years from now, probably even 6 months from now, you won't even have half of these people that showed up here."

State officials still aren't quite sure when they can have actually get an election going for town council members. Representative Spiegelman says at the absolute latest it will in April. State officials are hoping to have a special election before that. However, it is a legal matter they are trying to sort out.

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