Middletown Passes $47 Million Budget With No Tax Increase

The Middletown Mayor and Council passed their 2019 Fiscal Year budget at their July 2 town meeting.

After introducing the budget at a public hearing last week, Middletown Mayor Ken Branner introduced the budget during the regular mayor and council meeting and said that the town’s 2018 budget came in at a surplus thanks to an increase in commercial and residential development. Branner talked about some of the infrastructure improvements in town in the last Fiscal Year including the completion of construction on Wood Street as well as rehabbing of water wells and sewer improvements. He said the town is bringing in another 138 kilovolt power line and will install new transformers at the substation.

Branner said the 2019 Fiscal Year budget at over $47 million is about 6 and a half percent higher than the 2018 budget and will include $3.1 million in capital spending on improvements including $2.2 million on improvements to the town’s wastewater treatment system. Branner said that the funding is coming from reserve accounts and will not use borrowed money. He is also looking at a $1 million investment in streets that would come from grant money. Branner said there will not be a property tax increase which remains at 30 cents per $100 and there will not be a utility increase although they are planning a new study on rates by the end of the year. He said there will be a slight increase on water and wastewater management which works out to about $1.61 a month per resident and $4.75 a month for businesses. He said, as per their contract with Trash Tech, there is an increase in trash service to $23.08 and there will be an increase in street management fees to businesses at $4-8 for business customers and $6-18 for industrial customers. There will not be an increase in street management fees for residential customers. Mayor Branner said the total fee increases for town residents will be less than $2 per month. The $47 million budget was unanimously passed by the council.

In other news, the mayor and council approved a request from Daneya Jacobs of Middletown Main Street to move the Christmas Parade to the evening of Dec. 1 to coincide with the Christmas Tree lighting. Jacobs said this will encourage businesses to stay open later on that date. The council also approved an Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination ordinance which allows the town to detect illegal discharges of wastewater and go after violators according to Town Manager Morris Deputy. The council also approved a commitment to developing the Eastown Transportation Improvement District in cooperation with DelDOT on their Rt. 299 widening project. The town will also write a letter of support to DelDOT which will allow DelDOT to pursue grant funding for the project. The town put off a vote on instituting a lodging tax in town due to bill authorizing this by the state has not yet been signed by the Governor.

In new town business, Vice Mayor James Reynolds asked residents to fill in the holes made by their dogs in the town’s dog park on Levels Road. He said the holes cause a hazard and that town maintenance workers may have to periodically close the park one day a week to fill the holes. Reynolds also reminded residents to put yard waste (grass and leaves) in the special containers provided to residents by the town and not in the regular trash. He said the town is getting complaints from DNREC about grass in the town’s refuse and if a resident does not have a yard waste container, to contact the town. One resident asked about a trash dumpster on East Main Street and Mayor Branner said that the dumpster requires a DelDOT permit since Main Street is a state highway and the town will check if the dumpster has a DelDOT permit.

Photo credit: Keith Thompson                    

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