Good news for Sussex County citizens: no increase in taxes

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: May 6, 2019 | 3:15 p.m.

Public hearings for both the proposed budget and tax rates were held at the April 18 regular meeting of the board of supervisors, and the news for county citizens was that taxes will not increase.  

As the public hearings began, first, Administrator Vandy Jones shared a basic overview of the upcoming budget, remarking that the  proposed budget for the Fiscal Year 2020 is $37,191,756. Only a 2 ½ percent increase over the  $36,297,742 current year budget.  Included in the figure are  This amount includes the anticipated state and federal intergovernmental transfers of funds to the Sussex County Public School System in the amount of $11,169,761. He noted that the overall proposed budget for FY20 is $894,014 more than last year’s adopted budget, reflecting a 2.5% increase above FY19. 

The proposed general fund budget is $23,289,873. The proposed school board budget is $19,545,786 which includes the local contributions for operations of $7,999,170 and $40,000 to support information technology salaries. 

The FY20 proposed capital projects’ budget totals $503,223. 

Administrator Vandy Jones noted that in the proposed 2020 budget for Sussex County there is a 3 % increase across the board cost of living adjustment for all employees.  And a less than 1 % adjustment in the health insurance rates that the county will be picking up fiscal year 20.  

Jones also noted that this is particularly good news as the health insurance increase absorbed by the county in the proposed budget will only be only $5,424, whereas in 2018 current budget there was a $72,600 increase, and in previous year it was $114,000.  

He reported that the local funding for the schools $7,999,170 has already been approved in work sessions.

Moving to the capital improvements portion, Jones said that the amount budgeted is $503,223 with the bulk being made up in vehicles and bulk improvement.  He remarked that the marked difference between this and last year at 1,097, 500 was the $555,000 for a fire engine and to be delivered in August of this year.   So it actually will come forth this year, but there is a plan to take the allocated funds that actually will be spent next year and transfer them over.

Following Jones’s summary, one citizen, Kevin Bracey, came forward and said that he strongly urged the board to be mindful of the elderly when considering board expenditures and take money from “somewhere else” to meet needs of the elderly.  

There being no other comments, the public hearing was closed, and the next budget work session was scheduled for April 24, 1 p.m. at a place to be determined.  

The public hearing on the 2020 tax rates followed, and Jones noted that there are no proposed changes in any tax rates. There were no public comments on the rates.  

As the final vote on the budget is not expected for at least two weeks, citizens still have time to contact local board of supervisors representatives with questions, comments or concerns on the 2020 budget.

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