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New Castle County Council rejects proposed budget, will discuss again next week

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
New Castle County Council discusses FY 2019 budget proposal

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer’s proposed budget for the upcoming year was rejected by County Council Tuesday.

The nearly 300 million dollar 2019 spending plan sought to raise property taxes by 15 percent.


Council members voted 10-3 against it, noting it’s potential burden on senior citizens and those affected by tax increases from recent school district referendums.

But over a dozen citizens spoke in favor of the increase, including Bill Wagner, president of the local 3911 emergency services union.

“The call volume to the paramedics has grown exponentially,he said. “The opioid epidemic is affecting every provider … We are going to have to tap into tax dollars to solve some of these very complicated issues.”

The County’s Executive Office sought a floor amendment lowering the proposed property tax increase to 12.5 percent. Several council members took offense to the last minute effort, and the amendment was voted down 11-0 with two not voting.

A twelve percent sewer rate hike, effective July 1, passed.

Councilman George Smiley is proposing a special Council meeting next Tuesday to discuss new budget legislation, and says Council will present the administration with a proposal based off a 7.5 percent property tax increase.

Meyer remains opposed to any plan that would dip into the County’s tax stabilization reserves.

“We’re going to sit down tomorrow morning with all the heads of our department and figure out what it looks like if there’s this 7.5  percent plan, what cuts in government to bring our expenses down to that revenue level look like,” he said.

Council members hope Tuesday’s outcome encourages the Executive’s office to work more closely with them in the future.

A 2019 budget needs to be approved by June 30.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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