Sussex County releases budget proposal for fiscal year 2016
The proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $11.3 million dollars, or 9.6 percent higher than the current year. The increase is largely due to long-planned sewer construction projects included in the County’s capital plan. Since these are multi-year projects, officials expect them to continue to influence future annual budgets.
There will also be small sewer service charge increases. Quarterly sewer service for existing and new customers will increase by $8 dollars in most cases. In Long Neck, that will increase by $12.57. The county is currently working on a long-term effort to set a flat rate for its nearly 60,000 customers to connect to sewer service.
Additionally, there was also a 7.7 percent increase in health care costs for personnel.
County Administrator Todd Lawson says the minimal growth in the local housing market has influenced the budget proposal.
"It reinforces our philosophy down here in Sussex to budget conservatively that so that we stay within our means and keep our budget balanced," said Lawson.
There was no change in the property tax rate or general fund fees. Property tax rates have not increased in the county for 25 years.
The realty transfer tax continues to be the main source of the county government’s funding, contributing nearly a third of total funds.
The Sussex County Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal on Tuesday, June 16 at the County Administrative Offices building in Georgetown. The public can comment in person or by email until that date. By law, the Council must adopt a budget by June 30.