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Del Tech keeps pushing for statewide property tax

Delaware Technical Community College officials say they’d save the state more than $14 million next year in infrastructure costs if lawmakers allow it to levy its own property tax.


During an early budget hearing Thursday, president Mark Brainard says he would drop his school’s proposed $14.2 million capital request for next fiscal year if the bill is approved.


Del Tech’s Board of Trustees could unilaterally charge up to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value under the legislation from Sen. Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington North), though officials say they’d phase any increase in over time.


Brainard says the school gives back to the community in multiple ways and needs a dedicated funding source to address a $79.6 million backlog of deferred maintenance.


“Whether it’s providing high quality, valuable programs to their children who are seeking a college degree or someone who goes through one of our programs and leaves the program and goes into a $50,000 a year job, I mean, there’s value in what the community college does,” he said.


Asked about whether another tax lumped in with the multitude of county and K-12 school property taxes in different districts would be too much, Brainard says it's worth the investment.


“If it’s a business owner who relies on us for a workforce I think $7.40 a year is a great value on making investments in high quality facilities that support high quality programs.”


That $7.40 figure would be the annual increase for a person in Sussex County. Annual increases in Kent County would average $13.39 and the typical New Castle County resident would get charged an extra $27.65 a year.


In the current fiscal year, all three semi-public colleges and universities got $6 million in taxpayer money for infrastructure projects.


Del Tech’s funding bill was introduced late in June and is currently awaiting action by the state Senate.