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Legislation giving Del Tech bonding authority passes State Senate

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Courtesy of Delaware Technical Community College
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Legislation giving Delaware Tech the ability to finance deferred maintenance projects is heading to the House.

The state Senate passed the latest version of State Sen. Harris McDowell’s (D-Wilmington North) bill giving Del Tech bonding authority 19-1.

State Sen. Anthony Delcollo (R-Elsmere) did not vote.

The legislation intends for state lawmakers to give Del Tech $10 million a year for the next five years for deferred maintenance, and also fund its annual capital improvement requests. The school could combine its own money with the state funds to issue bonds. But a supermajority of lawmakers would first have to approve that.

Del Tech President Mark Brainard doesn’t think he’ll use the bonding authority, but says it will help the school plan to address its $95 million in capital needs.

“When you average $4 or $5 million a year for a statewide organization with $400 million in capital assets, fixing those structures becomes a multi-million dollar whack-a-mole, which isn’t very fun,” he said.

State Sen. Dave Lawson (R-Marydel) was sole no vote. He said he’s concerned the bill isn’t specific enough on what areas Del Tech can spend the money.

“So I’m just afraid the bill doesn’t speak to that and I’m concerned that money could be directed to building new campuses, buying more land,” he said.

Brainard said he doesn’t consider the appropriation from lawmakers a dedicated revenue source.

McDowell’s original bill gave Del Tech the ability to implement a statewide property tax to create a dedicated source of revenue, but the plan was withdrawn after a public outcry.

Delcollo challenged the constitutionality of the vote requirement on the bill, but a senate attorney opined it was a simple majority vote.

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