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No tax increase, smaller operating budget in NCCo Exec. Gordon's 2016 spending proposal

Anne Hoffman/Delaware Public Media

County Executive Tom Gordon gave his 2016 budget address to the New Castle County Council Tuesday night. He is seeking no tax increases and is looking to trim the operating budget.

Gordon began his address by announcing his administration is offering a spending plan that will shrink New Castle County’s general fund budget to $174.2 dollars.  The County Executive said that’s one of only five times in County history the operating budget has contracted from the previous year.

"Based on the current fiscal forecasting, we predict that we will end this fiscal year with a small surplus. With rising costs across the board this was no small feat," said Gordon.

The County Executive attributed the drop to his financial team and refinancing the county’s debt when interest rates were at an all time low - saving $3 million.

"He made two significant points that this council I believe, was interested in hearing about. And that was, no new taxes and we have a surplus," said County Council President Christopher Bullock after the remarks.

Gordon dedicated much of his speech to lauding county projects, especially the Route 9 Innovation Center, which will be a 40,000 square foot building with a new library, a vintage reading room for older adults and a wet lab for children.

Two thirds of the budget goes toward public safety and Gordon also emphasized the county’s efforts there - including the County Police’s TAPS program, which he says led to a decrease in quality of life crimes.

County Councilman Penrose Hollins said he liked what he heard -  especially Gordon’s emphasis on safe communities.

"A lot of his address focused on public safety, and I think rightfully so. At this point in time with the amount of safety concerns in the city of Wilmington which is a part of New Castle County," said the Councilman.

Gordon’s overall budget proposal - which also includes the sewer, light tax and school crossing guard funds - is $256.7 million, a quarter of a percent increase over the current year.

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