The new mayor of Delta likes the potential he sees in the village for 2020.
Bob Gilbert, who was elected in November to replace Dan Miller after serving three terms on Village Council, said a couple of new projects are moving ahead, several more are under consideration, and improvements to the village’s aging infrastructure are on the horizon.
“In the coming year I’m looking at nothing but progress,” he said.
Due to the village’s growth and expansion efforts, income tax revenue jumped by $116,000 between 2018 and 2019. Those efforts continue this year with a $700 million expansion project at North Star Bluescope Steel and a 67-acre building project by Nova Tube and Steel of Ontario, Canada, which will bring as many as 75 jobs.
“Putting $700 million into an already successful operation is pretty positive,” Gilbert said of North Star.
And due to the convenience of the State Highway 109 corridor Delta is fielding interest from various industries enticed by the location. “We have quite the industrial corridor in 109. We’re trying to find additional investors,” Gilbert said. “A lot of businesses happen to be looking at Delta for the economic and structural growth in the community.”
Improvements being considered for the village include housing in both upscale and senior citizen models. A feasibility study for such projects has been completed.
“We look at 2020 as a year for trying to find development to build these places,” he said. “That’s one issue Fulton County lacks in.”
Village administrators also want to tackle updates to the weakened infrastructure on Fernwood Street and the resurfacing of Adrian and Monroe streets. And there is discussion of moving the village police department to Memorial Hall on Main Street, following the current consolidation of the Street Department’s equipment and operation from the building to a central location on Madison Street.
Relocating the police station “would be a benefit to the downtown area as well as all of Delta,” Gilbert said. “It would be a stronger presence, and hopefully slow down traffic. It would be a top priority for me, as well as several people in the business community. But we’re still on the drawing board stages.”
Upon reflection, the mayor said he couldn’t name any real disappointments last year in the village of just over 3,000 residents.
“Everything seems to be on a positive note for business and job opportunities. It’s a positive indication that Delta is going in the right direction,” he said.
There are issues in the village that need to be addressed, and he has specific goals set for the village’s future that he will lay out as 2020 progresses, Gilbert said.
A Delta resident for 28 years, he gave the village an overall grade of A for its effort to remain progressive the past quarter century. He said growth during that period has produced increased revenue and services.
One area that does need work is the the administration’s communication with residents, he said. Since the 2019 closing of the village’s only newspaper, The Delta Atlas, disseminating news to the public has grown more difficult.
“People are now looking for an avenue to find information,” Gilbert said. “But the accessibility to the team leadership within the village is well-addressed, and there are a lot of avenues.”
To that end, the village administration is attempting to more regularly update its website and Facebook page, he added.
Village Councilor Frank Wilton gave the council’s performance last year a B to B-minus letter grade. He said a few intended village projects remained undone due to unforeseen circumstances. And he thinks Council’s communication with village residents, which he believes can be muddied by false information provided online, should definitely improve.
“We need to work much better on that,” Wilton said.
Overall, Gilbert said, he’s happy with the direction Delta is moving in, and excited about the leadership team currently assembled within the village administration.
“I think we have a top-notch team to take on the challenges of Delta over the next few years,” he said.