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Del Tech seeks bonding authority for capital projects again this year

Delaware Public Media

Delaware Tech is trying again this year to garner support from lawmakers allowing the school to issue debt for capital projects.

Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Harris McDowell would give Del Tech the authority to issue bonds and implement a statewide property tax for deferred maintenance.

The property tax would be capped at 6.5 cents per $100 in assessed value in all three counties. The bill would also create a community college infrastructure fund.

McDowell said Del Tech needs to raise this additional revenue to deal with urgent deferred maintenance needs.

“They will be able to catch up on their maintenance," he said. "Because the way it’s going, I mean, they’re going to end up with crumbling buildings and they’ll lose hundreds of millions if they don’t do something about it.”

McDowell said in exchange for this new authority, lawmakers would remove funding for Delaware Tech out of the bond bill.

Gov. John Carney said while he generally supports more resources for Del Tech, he wants to see how the Joint Finance Committee budget hearings play out before committing his support. He said he’s not sure a new property tax is the right approach for Del Tech at this time.

“When you have such strong revenue now, these are exactly what we’re talking about," he said. "They’re one-time needs, they’re capital needs, they’re reinvestment, recapitalization needs. They’re not ongoing costs.”

Carney added he wants to see how the Joint Finance Committee plans to handle the state’s surplus revenue in its upcoming hearings.

Carney is calling for Del Tech, Delaware State University and the University of Delaware to get $7 million each in capital funding in his fiscal year 2020 budget plan.

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