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MILLSBORO — Home to about 7,000 people, Millsboro is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Delaware.
It now has the distinction of being one of America’s Top 50 Best Work-From-Home Cities for 2021, as determined by PC Magazine.
The town ranked 36th on the list, based on the best balance of affordability, livability and connectivity.
“It’s wonderful news. I couldn’t believe that we were in the Top 50,” said Millsboro Mayor Michelle Truitt. “We have a lot to offer (to) families that are moving here and people that are choosing to make Millsboro their home. I was shocked, but at the same time, not really, because I guess now, word is out about our community. And I’m very proud.”
Town Manager Sheldon Hudson agreed.
“I think what’s exciting about this is, I have had heard of PC Mag, and I had heard about this story,” he said. “Of course, you always want to find out if it’s a reputable source, even though the story is exciting. I am sure a lot of people have heard of them. I certainly have. That just makes the story all the more exciting, (that it’s from) a reputable source. That makes it carry a lot more weight now that I know the source.”
Millsboro was the only Delaware locale to make the list.
PC Magazine researched U.S. and Canadian cities in compiling its top 50 U.S. honorees and the 10 best from Canada.
The periodical’s sketch of Millsboro states: “A small town in fast-growing Sussex County, Millsboro welcomes families and professionals with no sales tax, low property taxes, and a solid school district. The town of just over 4,000 people is driving distance from Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Norfolk, Virginia, while the coastal beach communities of Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, and Ocean City (Maryland) are less than 20 miles away.”
Mr. Hudson does dispute PC Magazine’s population figure (4,121) for the town of Millsboro.
“Maybe this number is way outdated because we are seeing such a high growth rate. But I’m thinking we are conservatively at 7,000 now and probably higher than that,” he said.
That 7,000 figure is based on data from Millsboro’s planning consultant, AECOM.
“And actually, that number was in our (comprehensive) plan that was just adopted. So we’re guessing we’re 7,000-plus,” said Mr. Hudson.
He also clarified the town’s internet service provider. PC Magazine listed it as Xfinity from Comcast.
“As far as Millsboro, at least our traditional ISP would be Mediacom. We have a nonexclusive agreement with Mediacom,” the town manager said. “So certainly, Comcast could come to Millsboro if they so choose or (Verizon) Fios if they so choose.”
Criteria elements used in determining rankings included broadband price, home value, health care workers, arts and education workers, non-chair restaurants, coffee shops, attractive setting, home size and home-based workers.
“I take the ‘livability’ as being your quality of life here in town,” Mayor Truitt said. “I think that we do have a wonderful way of life.”
Utilized in the research was data from Ookla Speedtest, which found common or frequent home gigabit internet usage in their crowdsourced database, along with the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey. The 2018 ACS five-year tables provided the median home size, percentage of home-based workers and percentage of people in the arts, education and health care.
It should be noted that the research and survey did not include every town or city in the country.
Regardless, PC Magazine’s ranking bolsters Millsboro’s mission to welcome more people to town, Mr. Hudson said.
“The main reason I think it’s great is, as you know, the town is working hard to attract even more families, even more working professionals to Millsboro. And, of course, with the COVID situation, we’re seeing more and more telecommuting, teleworking and working remotely,” said Mr. Hudson.
“Working professionals, family-age folks knowing that they can both live and work from Millsboro — not just in Millsboro but from Millsboro, as indicated by this ranking in PC Mag — I think it’s fantastic, as the town tries to recruit more folks that fall into those demographic groups. I couldn’t be more excited, honestly,” he added.
Mayor Truitt said the town is working hard to build services.
“We like the quaint feel that we have,” she said. “(But) we are also trying to get some of the amenities we haven’t had that people have been requesting. We try to keep that in mind when we look (for) things that businesses might want to move to Millsboro.”
Also making the list, topped by Chattanooga, Tennessee, were Philadelphia; Cumberland, Maryland; Phoenix (which was No. 37); and Randallstown, Maryland.
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