Sussex County Delaware

County's FY1999
Called 'Best Ever'

Sussex County Council ...

Bay Estates Sewer Passes

Special to Sussex County Online

GEORGETOWN -- A local accounting firm has deemed Sussex County's financial statements "clean" after performing an unqualified audit.

Sussex County Finance Director David Baker, calling the Fiscal 1999 Audit Report the "best I ever recall", relayed that news to Sussex County Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 29, 2000.

Baker said the unqualified audit (an audit of financial statements only) by Jefferson, Urian, Doane, and Sterner, P.A., Certified Public Accountants, disclosed that the balances the county has are correct, according to Truitt W. Jefferson.

Jefferson said there are several categories of unqualified audits, ranging from "clean", which mean the numbers total correctly, to an "inverse" that indicates the numbers do not properly correspond.

"This was an excellent year, the best I ever recall," Baker said as he reviewed the Fiscal 1999 Audit Report with the council.

It is the ninth straight year that the county has ended in a positive financial position, according to Baker. Baker attributed this windfall to many factors such as the economy, property sales and county employees working within their budgets.

Now, the county has a $7 million reserve (compared with New Castle County's $73 million and Kent County's $9.5 million), but many obligations, according to Robert "Bob" Stickels, Sussex County Administrator.

Stickels said some of the obligations the county faces are a potential Landfill Postclosure Liability that could total near $2.9 million, an unfunded Pension Obligation of $884,000, and miscellaneous commitments like reassessment, the computer-aided dispatch program, and the Road Addressing Project.

"I don't think we will be able to repeat this," Stickels said. "It is a goal to finish in the black, but I don't think it will be any where near $7 million or even $3 million."

In other action taken by the council:

  • The proposed Bay View Estates Sanitary Sewer District passed 124 to 32 without incident, according to Russell Archutt, assistant county engineer. Archutt said a representative from the Department of Elections was on site during the entire election process.

  • An Industrial Revenue Bond for Perdue-AgriRecycle, LLC that will not exceed $12 million was approved. The loan incurred by the plant will be its sole responsibility. The controversial plant, which will recycle chicken litter into fertilizer pellets, expects to be operational this fall.

  • Twelve homes were selected for the Housing Preservation Grant Program that has $40,000 to refurbish houses belonging to very low income and low income owners. The homeowners had to meet the Section 8 income guidelines to qualify.

  • Proclaimed March "Women's History Month" and March 1, 2000 International Women's Day. The proclamation honors the many contributions women of every race, class and ethnicity have made to America, Delaware and Sussex County in particular in both personally and professionally.
  • The property at 8 N. Race Street was sold at public auction for $71,000.

  • Sussex County Council will attend the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. from March 3 to March 7. The next scheduled county council meeting will be Tuesday, March 14 at 10 a.m. During this meeting, the council will present the keys for six new police cruisers.

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