Delaware residents dodge property tax hike for decades

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(presentation on chalkboard photo via ShutterStock)

In some parts of the region, it’s a bit unusual to dodge a property tax hike but in Sussex County, property taxes will remain the same for the 25th consecutive year.

According to county officials, that means the average county tax bill for a single-family home will stay around $100 annually.

“The taxpayers, the customers we serve, have come to expect a certain consistency in how their dollars are used and managed,” Council President Michael Vincent said. “The County is proud to continue a tradition of affordable services and sound fiscal management.”

On Tuesday, leaders in Sussex County proposed a $117.3 million budget for the 2015 fiscal year which is down $400,000 from this year’s current budget. Though the overall budget is slightly lower, there will be some changes that will occur in the water and sewage department. In fact, rates for existing and new customers will increase by $8 for most residents and by $15 for residents in Long Neck.

In an effort to continue with conservative spending, county leaders say saving is a top priority therefore they’ll remain focused on reducing purchases, limiting new hires, and cross-training employees in the near future.

“The County continues to operate with fewer staff than before the housing crisis that began in 2008. While revenues the past couple of years have begun to move upward, the County understands the past has a way of repeating itself,” Finance Director Gina Jennings said. “We want to make sure the budget is sustainable if revenues fall back to recession levels.”

Officials are expecting the general fund portion of the budget to rise by $1.8 million next year because of an increase in investment income, new assessments from new construction, and a continued rise in building inspection fee collections.The next step is to hold a public hearings on the proposed budget that must be adopted by June 30.

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