Sussex County Council Approves $119 Million Budget - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Council Approves $119 Million Budget

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From left to right: Rob Arlett, Sam Wilson, Michael Vincent, George Cole, and Joan Deaver (Source: WBOC) From left to right: Rob Arlett, Sam Wilson, Michael Vincent, George Cole, and Joan Deaver (Source: WBOC)

GEORGETOWN, Del. - Following a public hearing Tuesday afternoon, the Sussex County Council unanimously approved a $119 million budget for the 2017 fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The newest budget maintains the county's property tax rate of 44.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, with no increase in fees.

The average tax bill for a single-family home in the county will be $110 annually, not including school district taxes, according to a county press release. 

Finance Director Gina Jennings told WBOC that public safety funding saw major increases in the new budget, including two new dispatchers at the Emergency Operations Center, two new paramedic positions, and five new emergency vehicles for their fleet. All in all, the paramedic costs increased by more than $1 million, compared to last year's budget. 

Local fire and ambulance companies will also see a boost in county funding in the next year, with the budget earmarking $3.5 million for this purpose, which is an increase of $100,000, compared to FY 2016. Jennings said these public safety increases are directly tied to the growing population.

"Public Safety will always be a focus going forward," she said. "And we always look at the numbers and the demand. So as we see the increase in the number of calls. Over the last ten years, we looked at that with the EOC and the 911 calls. We're seeing a 30 percent increase in both the paramedics and the EOC."

The new budget also includes the completion of a "multi-year effort" to phase in a unified, one-time sewer connection fee for new public wastewater users. Meanwhile, sewer fees will remain the same for existing and new customers.

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