Bethany Beach Looking to Create Storm Relief Fund - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bethany Beach Looking to Create Storm Relief Fund

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A storm emergency relief fund would go toward repairs of items like the Bethany Beach Boardwalk (Photo: WBOC) A storm emergency relief fund would go toward repairs of items like the Bethany Beach Boardwalk (Photo: WBOC)

BETHANY BEACH, Del.- At a Monday morning workshop, the Bethany Beach Town Council in Bethany Beach discussed a possible change to the budget, which would increase taxes in order to raise more funds for storm damage repairs. The proposed change would increase both rental taxes and property taxes, in order to generate money for a storm emergency relief fund.

The final vote on the budget, including the proposed change, is scheduled for Friday. 

Rental taxes would increased from 6 percent to 6.5 percent, which would generate approximately $100,000 per year. Meanwhile, property taxes would be increased by one cent per $100 of assessed value, also generating $100,000 per year. The average home-owner would pay approximately $30-40 more per year. 

The fund would not be used for beach replenishment, but rather projects like repairing the boardwalk and fixing up damaged town buildings. 

"It's something that has to be done to protect everybody," said Councilman Charles Peterson. "Not only the people right up on the beachfront. But all of our properties will be worthless if the town is wiped out." 

Peterson said that council first started investigating this type of fund in the aftermath of devastating storms like Katrina and Sandy. He said the tax increases are important, so that the town can contribute to repairs in the future. 

"FEMA required a percentage," he said. "With each storm it varies, but they required that a percentage of the funds be provided by the municipality, before you could apply for emergency relief funds from FEMA. So it's almost like matching. We need to come up with some percentage." 

Some residents like Molly Feliciano said she had concerns with raising taxes. 

"We do need to do more to support the beach," she said. "But that doesn't necessarily mean raising taxes, raising taxes, raising taxes. Look at where the other expenditures are and see if there are any areas to save on." 

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