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Delaware Tech president asks state lawmakers to hold property tax bill

Delaware Public Media

Legislation giving Delaware Tech the authority to issue bonds and implement a statewide property tax may be on hold for now.

DelTech President Mark Brainard sent a memo to bill sponsor State Sen. Harris McDowell (D-North Wilmington) Thursday asking him to hold the measure at this time.

He also sent the memo to the bill’s co-sponsors.

The legislation would establish a Community College Infrastructure Fund and allow the school to phase in a property tax capped at 6.5 cents per $100 in assessed value in all three counties.

State Sen. Laura Sturgeon (D-Brandywine West) also received Brainard’s email. She said the bill’s ultimate fate is up to McDowell. “I think he’s weighing his options and also continuing to take feedback from constituents to make up his mind whether he still wants to go forward with it or not,” she said.

Before news of the memo broke, McDowell said he planned move forward with the legislation.

“Why shouldn’t I," he said. "It’s a very elegant way to solve a problem, solves it completely. It’s a problem that needs to be solved.”

A Senate spokesman said that’s still McDowell’s view.

The legislation has sparked controversy, with some complaining about it raising property taxes and others arguing it would hurt school districts' ability to raise money through referendums.

Brainard said the infrastructure fund would support a $110 million in construction projects for deferred maintenance needs, fueling local businesses.

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