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Politics & Government

New Castle County Council votes to fund reassessment from reserves

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Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
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New Castle County is one step closer to reassessing its property values for the first time in decades. 

New Castle County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to fund reassessment using county tax stabilization reserves.

The county agreed to do a general reassessment for the first time since 1983 under a recent settlement in an educational equity lawsuit. The County will reassess all property for use in tax bills by July 2023. 

 

Under state code, counties can keep a revenue bump of up to 15% after reassessment—which could help cover the costs.  But Councilman John Cartier, who says he worked as a data collector in the County’s 1983 reassessment, explained at a Finance Committee meeting Tuesday the County committed not to do that. 

“County Council passed a resolution recently saying that we would conduct the reassessment without needing to raise the funds from the property tax owners of New Castle County, and this [ordinance] speaks to that,” he said. 

County Executive Matt Meyer has also committed to rolling back the tax rate so the process is revenue-neutral. 

“If we need to separately raise revenue, we’re going to propose a tax increase like we do normally,” Meyer said late last month.

New Castle County’s reassessment is expected to cost between about $13 and $26 million. The ordinance Council passed Tuesday brings the reassessment reserve account balance to $30 million. 

New Castle County’s request for proposals for reassessment services closes Wednesday afternoon. 

Kent County has also settled, and agreed to reassess by 2024.  Sussex County has not yet resolved its dispute and is currently scheduled to return to court early next month.

 

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