New Castle County finance officials expect general fund revenues to stay pretty flat at $164.7 million for the 2014 fiscal year, an increase of 0.003 percent over $164.2 million for the current, 2013 fiscal year.
New Castle County Chief Financial Officer Michael Coupe gave New Castle County Council an overview of general fund revenues during the first budget hearing held Monday on the $250.9 million budget proposed by New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon on March 19.
Coupe said he expected the real estate taxes collected to increase from $108.8 million in 2013 to $109.7 million in 2014 based on the property taxes collected on the $18.2 billion worth of assessed property value in New Castle County as of March 19, 2013. That estimate was based on the 70.06 cents collected per $100 of assessed property values and a 99 percent collection rate, he said. It also included penalties that would be assessed for delinquent property tax payers.
The average unincorporated residential bill would be $502 annually while median residential bill would be $443, according to the revenue summary Coupe provided to New Castle County Council.
In addition, the real estate transfer tax levied upon the sale of property was expected to decrease slightly from $18.4 million in 2013 to $18 million in 2014, Coupe said.
That bit of news caused some discussion amongst New Castle County Council members about petitioning the Delaware General Assembly, which granted the county its charter, to no longer compel the county to exempt first time homebuyers from the real estate transfer tax. In sum, if the state did not follow such a rule, why should the county, they reasoned amongst themselves.
The rest of general fund revenue estimates, in millions, presented Monday were as follows:
Service charges 22.0 (compared to 22.3 in 2013)
Licenses & Permits 5.7 (unchanged)
Use of Money & Property 4.0 (up from 3.9 in 2013)
Intergovernmental 5.3 (up from 5.1 in 2013)
Coupe noted that 64 cents of every county tax dollar went to pay for police, 911 operations, paramedics and other public safety services.