the past several months, this Council and I have worked hard to
communicate and cooperate to develop a budget that will fulfill
the needs and priorities of the people of New Castle County,
while simultaneously ensuring that the county's financial
picture will remain strong for years to come," Coons said in a
press statement issued as he prepared to sign into law the
budget ordinance and related legislation immediately following
the council session at which they were enacted.
the vote on the budget ordinance on May 24, Clark said, "It's
been a long time [that] we've been working on it."
measures which Council approved were, with one relatively minor
change, identical to what Coons and his administration proposed
budget, which also is an appropriations act, provides for
spending $68.1 on general operations, $85.7 million for local
services, $57.2 million on sewer operations and $3.3 million for
total is up 1.79% over $210.5 million programmed to be spent
during the present fiscal year, including increases enacted by
Council since it initially approved the fiscal 2005 budget last
in his statement and the administration in various contexts have
compared the new budget, which takes effect July 1, with the
current one as originally enacted. That comparison show a 3.35%
increase over $207.5 million.
way, the spending plan comes off with considerably less growth
than has occurred in previous years under the Thomas Gordon
administration. That averaged nearly 6.5% since 2000,
according to Coons.
property tax rate for the coming year remains unchanged at 45.5¢
for each $100 of assessed property value in unincorporated
areas. The rate is scaled down to 15.8¢ on properties in Newark
and Wilmington. The lower rates are proportionate to the extent
of county-financed services provided to incorporated
been previously reported, sewer service rates, however, will
increase by 28.1%.
county will draw down $10.6 million from its property tax
stabilization reserve and $68 million from the sewer rate
stabilization reserve to partly finance the respective fiscal
2006 budgets. That will leave those accounts at an estimated
$59.5 million and $3.5 million, respectively, on June 30, 2006.
minor changes in the financial package were in the rates of the
street light tax, which finances lights in communities where
residents petition to have them, and in the rates of the school
crossing guard tax, which is paid by all property taxpayers but
differs by school district. The net effect for most taxpayers
will be a pennies-on-the-hundred reduction in their total tax
evidently represents acquiescence to the part of a taxpayers
suit which, as Delaforum previously reported, challenges those
rates on the grounds that they are clear violations of the law.
only break in Council's unanimous endorsements was by Jea
Street, who objected to the long-range capital spending plan and
an ordinance authorizing sale of general obligation bonds to
partly finance the capital budget in the coming fiscal year.
points may turn out to be moot, however. As Delaforum previously
reported, Coons has ordered a complete review of all capital
administrative officer David Singleton told Council's finance
committee during a meeting before its semimonthly plenary
session that the expected result of the review will be "a plan
that will much more reflect the expectations we all have."
it comes down to deciding which plans go forward and which ones
are scrapped "pretty much everything is on the table," Clark
said at that meeting.
Singleton said also that there are no present plans for a bonds
jointed his colleagues in voting in favor of the operating
budget ordinance although he said he still feels the county
needs to spent more to increase the number of police officers
and to provide services such as summer employment for more
children. He initially raised those points during a budget
hearing -- the only time during the six weeks of those sessions
that a point was made about a specific budget request.