County Executive Tom Gordon's $256 million operating budget with no tax increase for the 2016 fiscal year was approved 12-0 by New Castle County Council at its Tuesday night general meeting.
County Council approved the authorization to expend $256,711,349 in Fiscal Year 2016 as well as the annual revenue ordinance keeping the tax rate at 24.36 cents per $100 of assessed property values – established in 1983. The 2016 budget approval marked a nearly flat, 0.24 percent increase in spending, and it was the 11th time in 11 years that County Executive Gordon successfully requested no tax increase from the legislative branch.
“I thank all of County Council for its deliberations and patience since late March while contemplating this budget,” County Executive Gordon said. “This budget process was mindful and respectful of the cutbacks the average citizen has had to make, and it also demonstrated that government can find creative ways to keep spending in check while delivering crucial services.”
Council also amended and authorized a six-year capital campaign that included a less than $60 million 2016 Fiscal Year Capital Budget for 59 County projects. The capital Budget allows the County to purchase 20-year bonds at 3.75 percent interest to finance major construction needed for public safety equipment, car fleets, sewers, facilities, and parks – including the work needed at the Southern Regional and Carousel parks. The companion ordinance authorizing the issuance of General Obligation Bonds of $44,334,000 was passed by the same, 12-0 margin.
“Keeping public safety personnel well-equipped to do their jobs, maintaining parks and recreation, and providing a well-functioning sanitary sewer system are among the vital ingredients to quality of life that our taxpayers expect from us,” County Executive Gordon said.
As for the sewer tax rate, Council voted to also approve County Executive Gordon’s proposal for no increase in the varying industrial, commercial, and residential rates for New Castle County.