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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
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March 27, 1998     Cape Gazette
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March 27, 1998
 

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14 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 27 - April 2, 1998 Lewes passes deficit budget; no tax increase City hopes extra revenues will prevent dipping into resources By Dennis Forney Lewes residents won't have any " tax increase for the fiscal year which begins April 1. But that doesn't mean anticipat- ed revenues will meet anticipated expenses outlined in the fiscal year 1998-1999 budget. As passed, unanimous!y, at a special Lewes Council meeting on March 23, the town's operating budget will require using some of the estimated $2.5 million to $2.8 million cash reserve to meet ex- penses. "I think this is a little bit of a wake-up call to the citizenry of the need to increase revenues in whatever way we can," said Councilman Jim Ford after the meeting. "But we didn't want to raise taxes until we've explored all oth- er possibilities." The operating budget for Lewes projects that expenditures for the next 12 months will exceed rev- enues by $220,829. The Capital Projects Fund is ex- pected to be $52,462 short of meeting the $156,198 projected to be spent on a new radio system for the police department, a new flatbed truck for the streets depart- ment (to replace a 1971 model), electronic parking meters for the 1812 lot and engineering fees for street design and improvement. Ford also noted that the bud- get's expenses include costs asso- ciated with hiring a new police of- ricer and a clerical person for the police department. "We plan to only hire a new police officer if there are outside funds that come available to do so. We went ahead and put the item in the budget so that if the funds do come in, we won't have to amend the budget, to use thenl,".said Ford. Mayor George Smith also noted that he has been attend- ing a number of meetings in Dover, where plans are being made for some sort of state revenue sharing that SMITH would bring a sizable amount of money to Lewes. "We think some money will be coming our way to help with our budget, though we don't know how much or in what form at this point," said Smith. In the budget year just ending, Lewes had projected an $83,000 deficit. However, Bisbee said that as of the end of February, the city - be- cause of expense control and bet- ter-than-expected revenues - had not yet had to go into its reserves to meet any shortfall. February was the 11 th month of the budget cycle. Bisbee said she amain BemmaT tin. Wbm  mt tim mSmt qwmd Sw tm  bvea em lain am mm lie m Imlr pm isle bill. na.vemb' h's deld,us, sapant  hmer Shsod ha m.n alok4MU turke3'ra'mt  Nint .qith nk, m,'el/T nmsl. nl,v,p, nbn ukarusv   A,pan to xo9 x3.tst  Ouaun C, MD als4a Mort. thru Sat.: r.3o a.m. - 4:3o p.m. tin. 1o a.m. , p.m. didn't know whether the last month of the fiscal year would re- quire going into the reserves to meet expenses. "We did have to go into our re- serves to meet ot capital projects budget for the year just ending, but we had expected to do that to finish the addition to City Hall. Now that project is over." The greatest portion of Lewes" operating revenues arise from its property tax, which is levied at the rate of 32 cents per $100 of as- sessed property value. Of the city's.total operating budget of $1,583,849, property taxes are ex- pected to raise $663,800. That's up from $631,000 in the budget year ending. The town's next largest source of revenue is its real estate trans- fer tax, which is expected to raise $220,000 in the coming year. Additional parking meters be- ing installed and days added to the parking meter season are expected to increase meter revenues from $84,000 in the past 12 months to $120,000 in the next 12. Police' department highest With a budget of $584,750, the Lewes Police Department uses the greatest amount of city funds. Po- lice department salaries for the coming year will be $303,802. The purchase of wo new police vehicles will cost $38,986. Life- guards and meter personnel are in- eluded in the police department budget, and this year will require about $73,000 in salaries. Other highlights of the 1998-1999 Lewes budget: Taking the city's trash to the Sussex County landfill at Jones Crossroads will cost $111,870 in tipping fees. The Parks and Recreation Commission's budget has be in- creased from $52,680 in the cur- rent fiscal year to $78,047 in the coming fiscal year. Parks Commission Chairman Mary Vessels said most of the in- crease will go toward resurfacing the tennis and basketball courts near the public launching ramp. City salaries have been in- creased by about 2 percent ac- cording to Bisbee. The city manager's position, at $53,592.95 per year, and the chief of police position, at $45,900 per year, continue to be the highest paid positions in Lewes. "EVERYDAY OUR COMMUNITY TEACHERS CHANGE THE FACE OF THE FUTURE." Today's students become tomorrow's community leaders. It's been that way for genera- tions. Through example and experience teachers pass on the skills our children will need to create a successful future. Teachers deserve our respect and thanks for all they do to make our community a beRer place to live. Ttmy Suels,Tlmcher of the Year llHI MF.IIBER FDle Rehoboth Beach 226-9800 Long Neck 947-7300 Milford 424-2500 Seaford 628-44OO