Henlopen Acres commissioners recently approved next year’s budget, and for the first time in town history, annual operating costs have risen above $900,000.
The town’s budget runs July 1 through June 30, and during a meeting June 12, commissioners passed a $922,000 operating budget, a 5.8 percent increase over last year’s budget of roughly $872,000. The operating budget was approximately $840,000 two years ago.
A significant portion of the increase – about $45,000 – falls under the general and administrative portion of the budget. In an email June 15, Town Manager Tom Roth said the majority of that budget item is related to $35,000 the town is spending on its 50th Anniversary Party, scheduled to take place Labor Day weekend.
The capital budget next year is about $353,000, an increase of approximately $218,000 over the current year. The highest numbers for capital expenses fall into four areas – $150,000 for dredging the marina; $85,000 on a new master control panel for the town’s water system; $30,000 for a streets department truck; and $27,500 for a new security vehicle.
As for fees and taxes, commissioners voted in favor of increasing all marina slip rates by $125. The marina slip rate for boats up to 22 feet is now $1,725; for boats between 22 feet and 26 feet, it’s now $2,025; and for boats 26 feet and longer, it’s $2,325.
Roth said the last time the marina slip fees were increased was 2012.
Mayor Joni Reich said she expects the marina to be dredged this fall. She said the slip fee increases keep the town competitive with other marinas and will help with the future dredging costs.
Commissioners also voted in favor of instituting a $5,000 fee for applications to subdivide or combine lots. Roth said the fee was created because town code calls for a fee with an application of that nature, but one had not previously been set.
Overall, said Reich, the town’s operating costs are pretty steady from year to year. The bigger variable, she said, is what capital improvement projects commissioners are choosing to invest in.
No 2020 election in Henlopen Acres
The deadline to file for Henlopen Acres’ 2020 municipal election passed July 10, and incumbent commissioners Tim Hidell, Joni Reich and John Staffier were the only candidates to file. The town’s last election was 2011.
Hidell has served on the board since 2015, when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor Winnie Key, who stepped down after moving.
Reich has served on the board since June 2014, when she was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former Mayor David Hill. In May 2018, she was elected mayor by her fellow commissioners after Mayor David Lyons died the month prior.
Staffier has served on the board since March 2011, when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of former Commissioner Woody Miller.
The three incumbents will be sworn in for another three-year term during the board’s organizational meeting in September.