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Lewes, Delaware
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December 19, 1997     Cape Gazette
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December 19, 1997

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, December 19 - December 25, 1997 - 15 Dewey board passes budget, looks at motel, rental fee hikes By Jen Ellingsworth Dewey Beach commissioners indicated that they will discuss the increases proposed by Town Man- ager Bill Rutherford in licensing fees for motels, rentals and vend- ing machines at the. next town meeting on Saturday, Jan. 10. Following a lengthy and welt- attended public budget workshop on Saturday, Dec. 13, commis- sioners voted to adopt the $1.4 million budget by ordinance. The proposed increase for too- ments would pay a $300 flat rate plus $40 per room vs. the current flat rate of $100 and $10 per room. The current fee for residential rentals is $40 for the first two bed- rooms and $10 for each additional bedroom: The proposed fee hike is $60 for the first two bedrooms and $30 for each additional bed- room. While the town currently has no charge for vending machines, ties, he said, have an established fee to discourage a proliferation of such machines. Rehoboth Beach charges $26 for food vending ma- chines, $25 for news vending ma- chines and $53 for video ma- chines. He said the increases, if ap- proved, are expected to compen- sate for an estimated $48,000 shortfall in the town's budget. Rob Marshall, owner of At- lantic Oceanside Motel in Dewey Rutherford has suggested a $25. Beach and outgoing president of tels would mean that. establish- .-fee be added.-Most-municipali- 'the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, Sussex Council buys out Delmarva Aircraft lease By Michael Short Sussex County Council has vot- ed to buy out the remaining 28 years on the Delmarva Aircraft lease. The decision, made on Tuesday, will give the county lull control of operations at the Sussex County Airport. It's the most recent in a long line of moves by county council to upgrade the airport fa- cilities. Included in the recent moves are improvements like repaving runways, adding lighting and attracting a new industry, PATS Inc., to the facility. It's a move which officials said will save money in the long run and continue to boost the potential of a once-sagging airfield. Lynn Rogers has taken a special interest in the airport since be- coming a member of county coun- cil and he said the change will help the airport go from "the '50s to the '90s." "It is pretty stagnant out there [right now]," said Sussex County Council President Dale Dukes. The cost of the buyout is wastewater pumping station, a small and a large hangar. Stickels estimates that by rent- ing to additional tenants and rent- ing tie-down space, the county can make an additional $41,000 a year, which would pay for the buyout in between three and four years. The biggest economic carrot in the increased revenue for the county is fuel fees, Stickels said. Now, the county currently re- ceives only 2 cents per gallon for fuel sold by Delmarva Aircraft. But substantially increasing that amount (the county's aircraft fuel is sold at a cheaper cost than many other facilities) could bring in an estimated $32,000 per year. Eventually, the county would like to develop additional services at the airport for pilots and aircraft personnel, such as shuttle service into town. Now, there is a soda machine and little else available to serve them, said County Econom- ic Development Director Frank Calio. said he's hoping to get the."per- - room" charge decreased. "The increase is 400 percent," said Marshall. "The motel com- munity and the chamber realizes that the tax hadn't been looked at in awhile, but we were hoping that the increase would be more like Rehoboth Beach's." The flat rate in Rehoboth Beach is $270 plus $22 per room. Rutherford said he thinks the proposed increases are in line with those in other communities, con- sidering the impact that the Dewey Beach motels have on town resources such as police, lifeguards and trash. The chamber presented the town with alternative recommen- dations for raising the needed rev- enue, which included providing easier access to parking permits to increase their sales and building a public boat launch and charging a fee for its use. Commissioner Faith Duncan said motels in Dewey Beach would consider raising their fees to make up for the licensing in- crease if it is enacted. "We can't because we're not at 100 percent occupancy as it is," said Marshall. He said motels in Dew%, Beach have an advantage over establishments on Route 1 because they can charge lower rates. Stuart Kingston. Inc. Since 1930 Locotod at the Noah end of the Rohoboth Beach Boardwalk next to the Honlopon Hotel Store hours: Mon- hi 9om to 5pm Sot l Opm to 5pm Call (302)227-2524 $150,000. But officials say that loss can be turned into a profit with a re-energized airport. "There is so much going on," Rogers said. He said the change could bring jobs and increased air traffic. The $150,000 would not be paid for with tax monies, but with in- come generated by the Sussex County Economic Development Office. Sussex County considered leasing the property to the Delaware River and Bay Authori- ty (DRBA), which operates both the Delaware Memorial Bridge and the Cape May - Lewes Ferry. But a DRBA lease would have one drawback. County Administrator Bob Stickels said the DRBA would want control over other potential tenants at the airport, a decision which Sussex County Council has traditionally reserved for itself. The county will look for a fixed-base operator to operate the airport under the county's eco- nomic development office. The operations include a fuel farm for aircraft, tie-down aircraft space, various tools and furniture, a Second peg on slide-out tie rack. 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