Sussex County Delaware

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Sussex County Council ...

County Financial Picture
Gets Good Review in Audit

By KERIN MAGILL
SC Online Content Editor

GEORGETOWN -- Sussex County government's financial picture looks good, according to an audit of the county's books for 2002 delivered at council's regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2003.

The financial report showed the county has a "rainy day fund" of $7.7 million, the "most we've ever had," according to County Administrator Robert Stickels, who said the fund is at a "comfortable level."

The countys' assets have risen to $333 million from $307 million, according to finance director David Baker.

It's been a good year for Sussex County's finances. Both Moody's and Standard & Poor's bond rating services gave the county their AA ratings -- up from single-A for the first time ever. The county was also named the third best rural entrepreneurial area in the nation.

The financial report represents the start of the formal budget process for 2004, according to Stickels. He said community investment will be the theme of the coming year's budget.

The county's share of paramedic funding increased from 40 percent to 60 percent, due to a change in the funding formula ordered by Gov. Ruth Ann Minner. The state will pick up the remaining 40 percent.

In addition to the added paramedic funding, Stickels said next year's budget will include the following:

  • $2.2 million in improvements for public safety facilities, including a new public safety building in the former visitor's center in Bridgeville and a new Emergency Operations Center at the Sussex County Airport in Georgetown;

  • $149,000 for the Blades Marina and the Seaford Historical Society;

  • $150,000 for new computers for county and local libraries;

  • $110,000 for furniture and equipment for the new Milton Library; and

  • $3 million for sewer projects.

County Hints at Land Purchase

While announcing the payment of $300,000 to the Sussex County Land Trust, County Administrator Robert Stickels said "I may be letting out a secret, but by the end of the week you'll be hearing about $3 million spent in Sussex County for farmland preservation. That's the most ever."

The $300,000 in county funds matches money raised for open space preservation by the newly formed Sussex County Land Trust.


In Other Business ...
  • The county council approved the purchase of a Chevrolet Impala for the Sheriff's Department, for $18,427, from Hertrich Fleet Services

  • There will be no council meeting on Tuesday, March 4. Council members and county employees will be attending the National Association of Counties legislative conference in Washington, D.C.

  • Council approved the following grant requests:
    • The Auxiliary of Stockley Center, $500 for the Stockley Stride 5K Run/Walk;

    • Delaware Diamonds Girls' Softball Team, $500 for operating expenses;

    • Delaware Scorpions AAU Baseball Team, $250, tournament costs;

    • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Organization, scholarships for residents to attend banquet, $250;

    • Civil Air Patrol Sussex Cadet Squadron, $250 for annual rocket launch; and

    • River Soccer Club, $500 for sports facility complex.


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