Sussex County’s anticipated property transfer tax revenues for FY 2022 could hit record highs, thanks to a housing construction boom.
Gina Jennings, the county’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said the county had projected $24.9 million in tax revenue for this fiscal year, but projected revenue is $36.9 million. . That total would be the highest amount raised since the record high of $36.3 million in 2005.
And county officials have a plan to spend the excess $12 million. Sussex County Council presented an order at its January 25 meeting to amend the current operating budget, which includes excess property transfer tax.
Under the proposed order, $6.44 million of the surplus would be allocated to cities and towns, and $5.56 million would go towards acquiring land to create open spaces.
Jennings said money to municipalities would be allocated according to a formula based on population and budget, with a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $500,000.
She said the funds can be used for public safety services; economic development programs approved by Bill Pfaff, county director of economic development; public works and infrastructure; and capital projects.
According to the formula, the following amounts would be granted to municipalities in the region: Lewes, $500,000; Rehoboth Beach, $500,000; Milton, $310,043; Henlopen Acres, $100,000; Dewey Beach, $142,992; Ellendale, $100,000; Milford, $500,000; Millsboro, $469,354; Slaughter Range, $100,000; and Milford, $500,000. Municipalities receiving more than $100,000 should provide dollar-for-dollar matching.
A public hearing on the order will be held on Tuesday, March 1.
Real estate transfer taxes, the county’s largest source of revenue at 32% of the budget, can be spent on capital and operating costs for public safety departments, economic development programs, building projects and improvements. public works capital expenditures, infrastructure projects and improvements, and debt reduction.
The 4% state tax is levied on the sale of all properties, with 2.5% going to the state and 1.5% to the counties.
Last year, the board voted to spend nearly $10 million in excess transfer duties, including $1 million for land acquisition for future emergency medical services stations, $5.375 million for 22 county ambulance/fire departments and $3 million for the Excite Sussex Loan Fund, the county’s economic development loan scheme.