On Tuesday night the New Castle County Council voted to raise property taxes by 15% for residents and businesses.
This may surprise some. It was just last month that New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer’s attempt to pass the 15% increase was shot down in a 10 to 3 council vote. That was after Meyer said he could live with a 12.5% tax hike in a last minute attempt to save the proposal.
After the defeat Meyer worked to come up with a compromise with the council.
Without making additional cuts, “the compromise” now calls for the 15% tax hike to be phased in over two years rather than one year. Residents and businesses owners in New Castle County will now see their county tax bill increase 7.5% next year and 7.5% again the following year.
Councilman Jea Street said “I actually don’t have a problem with the 7.5%, I think that was a reasonable compromise but to say it’s a compromise it’s not a compromise. You’re actually giving the 15% and you negotiated up from the 12.5% they said they could make it at the last time”, referring to Meyer’s offer to save the proposal in the May vote.
After first refusing to coincider dipping into the county’s tax stabilization fund Meyer has now conceded that he will need to yank $3 million from the fund to cover the shortfall.
The total amount of county reserves in 2016 was just under $96 million dollars.
Tax Stabilization Reserve – 34,958,469
Account Sewer Rate Stabilization Reserve – 10,192,527
Account General Fund Budget Reserve – 36,095,939
Account Sewer Fund Budget Reserve Account -14,598,131
The Tax Stabilization Reserve that totaled roughly $35 million dollars in 2016 now sits at around $19 million.
The seven Council members that voted in favor of the proposal are George Smiley, John Cartier, Janet Kilpatrick, Lisa Diller, Bob Weiner, Timothy Sheldon and David Tackett,
Those that Council members voted against the proposal are Ken Woods, Jea Street, Penrose Hollins, Bill Powers and Council President Karen Hartley-Nagle.
Councilman Bill Bell was absent from the vote.