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Lewes, Delaware
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February 21, 2006     Cape Gazette
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February 21, 2006

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I II CAPE GAZETTE - Tuesday, Feb. 21 - Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 I -5 By Henry J. Evans Jr. Cape Gazette staff The City of Lewes has started its annual budget review process but exactly how much revenue will be generated-and how much expenses will be won't be clear until later in the process. Lewes Mayor and Council met Friday, Feb. 17, for the first public review of the budget for fiscal year 2006-07. City Manager Elaine Bisbee told the panel total- revenues are expected to top $3.7 million in the next fiscal year, which runs from April 1, 2006, through March 31, 2007. Total revenues for this fiscal year, which ends on March 31, is expected to be $3.4 million. "If the market stays where it is, I think that's a good number, Bisbee told the panel. Expenses for the street, police and administrative departments and general government expendi- tures are expected to total more than $3.5 million. Bisbee said at this stage of the review process, the budget is never balanced. There are variables on the rev- enue and expense sides of the city's ledger, and Bisbee said those could change what the city expects to make and spend. One of the top variables is how much-the city expects to collect in property transfer taxes. Estimated income from transfer taxes for this fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, is $1.179 million. Estimates for next fiscal year put the number at $1.365 million. Bisbee said a softening real estate market could also affect what the city expects to see in property transfer taxes. Expected to be healthy but not rising as much as desired, and lower than last year, is revenue from parking meters and parking violations. Bisbee said because of Second Street's revitalization project, fewer parking meters would be available, so fewer park- ing violations would be collected early in the season. Nonetheless, parking meter revenue is expected to rise from $139,000 for this year compared to an estimated $144,000 for fiscal year 2006. Mercantile license taxes are also expected to rise next fiscal year to $128,000 from $115,000. City Councilman Jim Ippolito suggested the city begin to exam- ine increasing mercantile license fees. He said the $75 fee hasn't increased for nine years and is low compared to towns such as Milton and Rehoboth Beach, where it's in the $200 range. Health insurance costs are expected to rise from $95,998 to more than $112,000 for the Lewes Street Department. Similar OF CANDIDATE FILING DEADLINE BOARDS OF EDUCATION IN SUSSEX COUNTY A qualified person seeking to become a candidate for the Board of Education for a public school district shall submit a Candidate Filing Form to the Department of Elections for Sussex County no later than 4:30 p.m. local time on Friday, March 3, 2006 for Sussex County School Districts. School Board Election Date: Tuesday, May 9, 2006 Ca t~e Henlopen School District One Member-At-Large Term Ends June 30, 2011 Delmar School District One Member-At-Large Term Ends June 30, 2011 Indian River School District Two Members District No. 1Terms End June 30, 2009 One Member District No. 2 Term Ends June 30, 2009 One Member District No. 3 Term Ends June 30, 2007 One Member District No. 4 Term Ends June 30, 2009 Laurel School District One Member-At-Large Term Ends June 30, 2011 One One Seaford School District Member-At-Large Term Ends June 30, 2011 Woodbridge School District Member-At-Large Term Ends June 30, 2011 School Board Member Candidate Filing Forms may be obtained from the Department of Elections for Sussex County in person in the office of the department, by mail or fax. Completed filing forms must be returned back to the department with the original (live) signature. Candidate Filing Forms are available at: http://electionssc.delaware. 2ov All terms begin July 1, 2006. Department of Elections for Sussex County 119 N. Race Street, Georgetown, DE 19947 Phone: 856-5367 increases in health-insurance costs the donation the city makes to the from the fhe department because will also affect the other depart- Lewes Fire Department. of its all-volunteer staff. ments. Police health insurance is Police need the new cruiser, Ippolito was less than enthusi- expected to jump from $114,000 which would be purchased astic about one budget item, an to $134,000, and insurance for the through a state contract, to replace increase in Parks and Recreation administrative department is an aging vehicle. A heavy-duty requests of $54,126 last fiscal expected to rise from $33,000 to pickup truck purchased last year year to $116,500. Ippolito asked $70,000. Bisbee said the draft for the city's building official why the park's budget had nearly budget allowed a 10"percent rate would be given to the Street doubled from last year's. Bisbee increase, but the actual increase Department. Mayor Jim Ford said explained the increased costs are amount wouldn't be known until the building official's job descrip- for the Summer Concert season Coventry Health Care set its rates tion had changed significantly, and included a wish list for AI next month, and the pickup could be better Stango Park. Among other expenses included used by streets workers. "I have a concern about how in the budget are a new police Ford said the fire department many flowers we need; $116,000 cruiser for $19,500, a new hybrid deserved a larger donation from is a lot of pretty," said Ippolito. sport utility vehicle for the city's the city because calls for service The next budget review session building code enforcement offi- have steadily increased. 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