Sussex County homeowners will soon have a little extra pocket change, thanks to a 25 percent property tax rebate approved by Sussex County Council on Tuesday, June 22, 2004.
The council approved the rebate, which will amount to $2.5 million, as part of the fiscal 2005 budget, which passed 4-1. George Cole cast the only "no" vote, saying he doesn't agree with the tax rebate. "There's no cry out there in Sussex County that we're being overtaxed," Cole said.
For the 15th year in a row, property taxes in Sussex County will not increase. The rebates will go out in tax bills homeowners will receive in July. Per homeowner, the rebate will amount to about $22.
The county's $108.7 million budget saw a few changes following the June 22 public hearing, most notably an increase of $200,000 in a grant for the Sussex County Easter Seals chapter to help fund a new, larger facility in Georgetown.
The council had initially budgeted $50,000 for Easter Seals, which had asked for $500,000 over the next two years. The additional funds will be taken from the county's economic stimulus program.
Council member George Cole, R-Cedar Neck, said the council should have given Easter Seals the entire amount this year, because it is available. But council member Vance Phillips was more cautious, saying "My concern is that if we come down to another worthy project, we might not have the money," Phillips said. He said the council should consider offering Easter Seals a low-interest loan instead of a grant.
Other changes to the proposed budget include the following:
- First State Community Action will also receive $100,000 for community improvement projects in Green Top and Polly Branch;
- Ronald McDonald House will receive $25,000 for programs that benefit county families;
- Children and Families First will receive $12,000 toward a new van.
- The Little League World Series slated for Roxana in August will receive $10,000 -- up $5,000 from the proposed budget;
- The council also voted to increase funding for the county's Community Development Block Grant program by $100,000. The council voted to do that instead of granting a request by the Sussex Housing Group to decrease the property tax rebate by $500,000 and use the money to fund affordable housing.
Delaware Healthy Choices, a group attempting to develop a cost-effective health insurance program for small businesses, did not receive $11,300 it was seeking for a preliminary study.