Henlopen Acres sees decline in transfer tax revenue


Henlopen Acres’ fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30, which means it’s almost fiscal season for the city.

Commission Treasurer Jeff Jacobs gave city officials a brief update on the budget in the three quarters April 8, and he said he expects tax revenue transfers represent approximately 57% of the budget. $125,000. Jacobs said that through March 31, the city had recorded revenue of $32,000 and that he expects revenue of $71,000 by the end of the year.

Jacobs said the city uses the tax for long-term infrastructure projects, not operating expenses. He said commissioners could consider reducing the amount when the budget is set in June.

Mayor Joni Reich said the city has a $1.5 million balance in the capital improvement fund.

In other budget news, Jacobs said all property taxes have been paid and all but one property has paid its gross receipts tax, which comes from properties that rent. Overall, he said, the city’s operating revenue slightly exceeds expenses.

Commissioners change definition of family

At the April 8 meeting, Henlopen Acres commissioners voted unanimously to change the town’s definition of family to include non-traditional families.

The definition of family was first discussed in October as part of a package of zoning code changes. At the time, Commissioner John Staffier drew attention to the conflict between defining family as a social group and banning group rentals.

As approved, family is now defined as “a single person occupying a dwelling and maintaining a household; or two or more persons related by blood, marriage or adoption occupying a dwelling unit, living together as a social unit and maintaining a common household; or no more than three persons unrelated by blood, marriage or adoption living together as a social unit and maintaining a common household.

City attorney Glenn Mandalas said the new language is similar to other local municipalities and allows for non-traditional families. The old definition is not constitutionally stable and needs to be updated, he said.

The approved ordinance also removes the definition of group tenancy from the zoning code, leaving it only in the tenancy code. Group rentals are not permitted at Henlopen Acres.

The city limits extend into the canal

Spurred on by the city receiving a draft copy of the Rehoboth Beach Comprehensive Development Plan 2020 for comment, there was a brief discussion of how the city boundary actually extends halfway into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. As part of the state’s CDP approval process, municipalities submit a draft document to surrounding municipalities for comment.

City Manager Tom Roth said he did not recall specifics, but the memory of an annexation was recalled by looking at the city boundary map submitted by Rehoboth in the draft CDP. He then produced an old map of Henlopen Acres with the portion of the canal, which belongs to the Army Corps of Engineers, included.

Mandalas confirmed the border and said there was even an article about the change covered by a local newspaper.

According to an Evening News Journal article on June 21, 1973, the city annexed about a mile of the eastern half of the canal, “along the western fringe of the city”. The article, identified only as coming from the newspaper’s Sussex office, says the town’s move was made a day before Rehoboth Beach was to hold a side referendum “to absorb the entire canal and its banks until about three miles north of Henlopen Acres”.

Roth said he plans to point out the discrepancy when he responds to Rehoboth with the city’s comments.

Parking permits for cul-de-sacs

Holding a pair of hang tags, Roth reminded officials and residents in attendance that parking permits will be required to park in cul-de-sacs near the beach in 2022. Each owner will receive two numbered hang tags, and each rental property will receive two numbered hang tags.


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