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Elsmere, Delaware

Elsmere is a town located in New Castle County, Delaware. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 5,800.

The town was incorporated in the first third of the 20th century to keep the City of Wilmington from annexing the area, which abuts Wilmington on that city's southwest. By the end of the century, mismanagement and embezzlement by Elsmere's mayors, town councilors, and town managers had bankrupted the town, so that it had to cut back on the services supposed to be provided to residents and paid for by Elsmere's property taxes.

Among the more widely publicized of the town's problems were:

  • Misappropriation of the town's funds in the 1990s by Town Manager Janice S. Almquist, who then used the money to fund her unsuccessful campaign for a state elective office, leaving the town without enough money for basic services, such as snow removal and garbage pick-up, so it imposed a one-time tax on its residents, in addition to the annual property tax, to replace the funds Almquist unlawfully paid herself and her relatives and associates. (State Auditor Thomas Wagner, Jr., whose audits are usually kept confidential, made his report of the diversions of Elsmere's funds public, offering free copies by mail and on the Internet. It showed that, besides Almquist, the town's police officers' pension plans had also received unauthorized monies.)
  • Sexual misconduct by its police officers, who also conducted a notorious "speed trap" for years along Kirkwood Highway within the town's limits, but the latter problem was solved in 2002 by the installation of traffic lights at most of the intersections in that stretch of the highway.
  • The closing of the apartment complex (Fenwick Park Apartments), in autumn of 2002, where the Elsmere police spent much of their on-duty time with alleged prostitutes, for the stated reason that the buildings were contaminated with toxic mold, resulting from flooding from the nearby creek a decade earlier -- most of the residents of the apartments were of other races than white, and they were evicted with only hours of notice. External link: local news article (http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/local/2002/10/25ingdirecthelpsf)
  • Continuing litigation since the early 1990s with various residents of the town who complained about certain instances of the town's officials' misconduct, including some who petitioned to amend the town's charter to get rid of the corrupt officials and separate litigation against Libertarian K. Kay Shearin, a resident of the town who served as an election judge in its mayoral election in 1993 and claimed that election Almquist supervised was fraudulent. (Local news articles)

Geography Elsmere is located at 39°44'21" North, 75°35'39" West (39.739112, -75.594267)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.5 km² (1.0 mi²). None of the area is covered with water.

Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 5,800 people, 2,299 households, and 1,487 families residing in the town. The population density is 2,285.1/km² (5,891.0/mi²). There are 2,395 housing units at an average density of 943.6/km² (2,432.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 82.41% White, 9.45% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.97% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 5.10% from other races, and 1.84% from two or more races. 12.09% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 2,299 households out of which 31.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% are married couples living together, 16.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% are non-families. 28.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.52 and the average family size is 3.09.

In the town the population is spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $39,415, and the median income for a family is $46,357. Males have a median income of $35,427 versus $28,089 for females. The per capita income for the town is $18,643. 8.9% of the population and 6.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 11.8% are under the age of 18 and 8.6% are 65 or older.

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