New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer delivers 2024 budget address, proposes 5% residential property tax credit
New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer delivered his 2024 budget address before County Council Tuesday night.
Meyer’s proposed operating budget is just under $331.5 million. His capital budget plan is just over $75 million, with $18 million earmarked for sewer fund projects.
He says the county is in great fiscal shape and so is proposing a one-time residential county property tax credit of 5%.
Meyer says the county can afford it because reserves increased by 400% since he assumed office six years ago. He points to the county processing 10,000 fewer checks for sewer billing after launching online payments as one example of how the county saved residents money.
“As a result, we are also investing in county government services and infrastructure like never before," Meyer says. "Even with such investments, we simply do not need to collect as much from you this year.”
Meyer says his plan makes public safety a major priority with funding for a new emergency vehicle operations course and a $200,000 fire service study to identify sustainable funding options.
“As time has gone on, as volunteerism in the fire service has decreased, they have increasingly come to the county and to the state for additional funding," he says. "I think before we give them additional funding, let's understand what are the challenges that the fire companies are facing now.”
He adds safe outdoor spaces are also a priority.
“We plan to improve our softball facilities at Delcastle Park, improve Surratte Park and Pool, build a second turf soccer field at Banning Park, build 25 new pickleball courts, continue to invest in basketball and tennis court sealcoating, like we have done this year in Collins Park, Sczerba Park, Sparrow Run and more,” Meyer says.
He adds the county is also responding to the affordable housing crisis. He touted a $31 million Affordable Housing Fund created in 2021, along with a new partnership with the city of Wilmington to make it easier for residents to use housing vouchers in either jurisdiction.
Another objective is launching a Lead Hazard Reduction Program to provide additional lead remediation in housing units where children live.
The budget also includes plans for a new library in Newark, a competition-level indoor track, and $2.5 million for farmland and open space preservation.