County sees surge in development plans and sharp drop in murder rate


New Castle County saw a sharp increase in development plans in 2017.

The 24,800 plans reviewed last year  represented a  44 percent jump  from 2016, according to  figures released ahead of County Executive Matt Meyer’s budget address on Tuesday.

The county is facing a structural budget deficit of an estimated  $20 million and limited options in raising revenue. The county largely relies on property taxes.

The county reported that backlogs of 200 property tax exemption applications and 420 property tax appeals.

See graphic below for highlights: 


The county also enacted an ordinance aimed at converting 1,000 abandoned properties from eyesores to occupied homes.

The overall crime rate dropped by eight percent, with a  60 percent  decrease in murders and double-digit drops in other categories. 

Other positive developments cited by the county included:

  • Reduced short-term delinquent taxes by 50% and eliminated backlogs of hundreds of property tax exemption applications and appeals
  • Improved the sudden cardiac arrest survival rate, with a record 52 individuals whose hearts stopped beating revived by first responders and released from the hospital within days with a return to normal activity
  • Made lifesaving Narcan opioid overdose antidote  available to all county volunteer fire companies at no cost
  • Decreases in crime, including significant reductions in homicide, burglaries, robberies, and shootings
  • For the first time, posted county expenditures online in a searchable checkbook (
  • Enacted county legislation that paved the way for a doubling of solar power generation
  • Saw the highest use of library system in history, with 2.3 million visits and 3.5 million items checked out