Sussex County proposes $265.8 million budget for Fiscal 2025

Georgetown, Del., May 21, 2024: Protecting Sussex County’s residents, open space, and housing stock, not to mention the taxpayers’ wallets, are a central theme in the local government’s budget plan for the year ahead.

County officials on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, unveiled the proposed $265.8 million budget for Fiscal Year 2025 to fund a variety of local services, including 911 dispatchers, paramedics, and other public safety, as well as pay for sewer expansions, and continued open space preservation, familiar themes amid a continued population surge and economic uncertainty.

While the County continues to increase funding for vital services to meet the demand of its residents and visitors, thanks to still-strong housing revenues, the overall budget is down some $13 million, or 4.6 percent, from the current year’s plan as capital spending slows and federal funding from the pandemic-era American Rescue Plan Act package cycles out. The County’s property tax rate is unchanged.

“This budget reflects the ever-growing demands on the system while recognizing the reality of our economics at the local and national levels,” said County Administrator Todd F. Lawson, who presented to County Council the proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. “Sussex County is answering the need for critical services at the best possible value.”

Among the highlights in the proposed FY2025 budget, the proposal includes:

  • $52.5 million for wastewater infrastructure, including new sewer mains, increased treatment capacity, and other upgrades to the County’s utility systems;
  • $7.4 million to preserve open space and farmland, protecting it from future development;
  • Increased funding, from $4.1 million to $4.6 million, for the County’s contract with the State of Delaware for 24 supplemental state police troopers assigned to Sussex County;
  • $3.4 million in funding to pay for the continuing court-ordered property reassessment;
  • $2.6 million for the design, planning, and construction of paramedic stations in the Dewey Beach, Lincoln, Millsboro, and Milton areas;
  • $5.7 million for local fire companies and ambulance squads to help with operational costs, including paid EMT salaries;
  • Increased funding, from $800,000 to $900,00, for municipalities providing local law enforcement services;
  • More funding, from $300,000 to $1 million, for rehabilitation for low-income households;
  • Funding for 11 new positions to serve the growing population, namely two new positions for sewer, eight positions related to public safety, and one position in Planning & Zoning;
  • No change in current property tax rates, though a number of fee increases are proposed, including $10 annually for sewer and $25 annually for unmetered water on public utility systems, as well as new and adjusted fees for the Marriage Bureau, Planning & Zoning, and Engineering offices.

Revenue for County government comes through a variety of sources, including property taxes, realty transfer taxes, building permits, and other service fees.

Council President Michael H. Vincent praised the budget team, including Mr. Lawson, Finance Director Gina A. Jennings, Deputy Finance Director Kathy L. Roth, and Manager of Accounting Andrea Wall for developing a measured plan amid nagging inflation and continued economic inconsistencies. “We are fortunate to have this team each year developing a budget plan that is both sensible and forward-thinking,” President Vincent said. “You don’t get to a AAA bond rating unless you’re doing something right, and that is something I know our constituents appreciate.”

County Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal during its 10 a.m. meeting Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in council chambers at the County Administrative Offices building, 2 The Circle, in Georgetown. The public can comment on that date, or submit comments through the web at By law, Council must adopt a budget by June 30.

To view a copy of the proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget, as well as the accompanying budget presentation, visit


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