Sussex County’s proposed budget taps into a surplus but will not avoid a property tax increase.
County officials on Tuesday, unveiled the proposed $185.8 million budget for Fiscal Year 2020 to fund various local services and future projects.
The proposed budget will utilize increased revenue and cash reserves. The plan once again reflects the need for significant investment in the years ahead to keep pace with demand for services and infrastructure, including police, paramedics, wastewater, and libraries, as well as continued efforts to expand broadband Internet service to more rural parts of the county, a high priority for Sussex officials, a release stated.
“This budget is all about the future – planning for our future needs, whether it’s public safety, wastewater improvements, or the county government’s general operations,” said County Administrator Todd F. Lawson. “This budget lays the foundation for the next several years.”
Among some of the major highlights in the proposed budget, the plan includes:
• $1 million to cover design costs of a new public safety complex that would see the Emergency Operations Center expanded to make room for the County’s EmergencyMedical Services’ administrative offices and training facilities.
- Sussex County proposes $185.8 million budget for Fiscal 2020 Increased funding for the County’s contract with the State of Delaware for the 22 supplemental state police .troopers to be assigned to Sussex County about $200,000 from $3.1 million in FY2019 to $3.3 million next year.
- Additional funding,$100,000above FY 2019 to fund local law enforcement operations
- A $2 million allocation to further the County’s efforts to expand broadband Internet to residents and businesses in hard-to-reach rural parts of the county.
- Increased grant funding to local libraries and senior programs, specifically $20,000 to each of the county’s 11 independent libraries, and $50,000 to CHEER Inc. (one of four Installments totaling $200,000) for the expansion of its kitchen to provide senior meals.
- $1 million to preserve open space and farmland that could otherwise be developed.
- Nearly $35 million in capital funding to pay for various sewer improvements and expansion projects to fulfill the County’s 20-year forecasted demand, including $8 million to expand the spray irrigation disposal system at the Inland Bays Regional Wastewater Facility, and almost $7 million to expand and upgrade the South Coastal Regional Wastewater facility, projects that will allow for additional capacity on the County’s sewer system.
- Approximately $3.4million to continue development of roads and other infrastructure in the county’s Delaware Coastal Business Park, which the County is actively marketing to draw tenants and grow the county’s economy.
- Continued funding of $250,000 annually for the County’s community developmentemergency housing fund, to help low-income residents with urgent repairs.
- No change in current property tax rates or sewer service charges, and only minor changes in fees for accessing and storing documents in the Register of Wills office, and for private road plan review and inspections through the Public Works division.