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Back to the cows, the budget and demolition

June 16, 2017

Last week's column focused on Ed and Toby Fleming's herd of Polled Hereford beef cattle on Gills Neck Road just outside the city limits of Lewes. Due to technical difficulties, the photograph of Ed and Toby didn't run. So I decided to publish it with this week's column. I will keep readers posted as to when the all-natural, hormone-free beef the Flemings expect to produce is available.

Delaware's budget

Delaware's budget is a major topic these days as the General Assembly has only a handful of days left to get a budget passed for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Balancing a package of tax and fee increases with cuts in state spending to cover an estimated $400 million deficit is the challenge.

The House of Representatives, in a bipartisan effort, voted to increase the maximum franchise tax paid by the world's largest corporations from the current $190,000 to $230,000 or $240,000. That increase, still to be voted on by the Senate, is expected to generate an estimated $116 million in new revenue. Will that increase discourage the big companies from keeping their corporate homes in Delaware?

Rick Bell of Harvard Business Services in Lewes doesn't think so. His company helps smaller businesses incorporate in Delaware. "It's still a bargain for the biggest companies in the world - like Apple with its billions of shares of stock - to have Delaware as a domicile," said Bell. "Because of our Chancery Court, dedicated to corporate law, and the efficiency of our Division of Corporations, it's still a bargain for them. They will just pay the price."

Ironically, said Bell, the biggest detriment he would see to business in Delaware is if the state hikes fees charged for forming new companies. "If they doubled the initial filing fee, which is now $89, that could hurt Delaware businesses," said Bell. "There are many other states with a lower filing fee, and it would hurt our competitiveness."

He said raising annual Limited Liability Corporation fees from the present $300 to $350 or $375 probably wouldn't hurt. "But if they took it up to $500 per year, that probably would hurt - especially the people who have several small companies for real estate ventures. Those annual fees start to add up then."

Bell said the pace of new companies incorporating in Delaware is quickening. "We're up 39 percent over last year," he said. "We're taking market share from competitors because we're getting better, we have lower prices and we have excellent personal service."

Another Rehoboth demolition

Another classic old Rehoboth Beach cottage is slated to come down. The City of Rehoboth Beach issued a demolition permit May 31 for two structures on two lots at 116 Stockley Street. One is a 1930s-vintage shingle-clad, two-story, street-side house that has been rented for a number of years. The second structure sits behind the front house and also appears to have functioned as a rental unit with additional bedrooms.

A number of houses on the second block of Stockley have been replaced with new homes in the past decade. The new homes fit the scale of the street, and traditional architectural elements such as gables and hip roofs, and shingle siding are helping maintain the seaside feel of that section of town as older, often smaller, cottages make way for newer construction.

No building permits have been issued yet for new construction on the 116 Stockley Street property.

 

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