Lewes working to build conservative budget

Fiscal year 2024 meetings begin Feb. 3
January 27, 2023

The good news for Lewes is that the city’s amended total for transfer tax revenue has been reached, according to Financial Officer Ellen Lorraine McCabe. The unfortunate news is that circumstances around the world have led to uncertainties in the financial realm. In response, the City of Lewes is getting conservative with its finances.

During a Jan. 12 financial meeting, Lewes’ financial advisor Timothy Reath said 2022 economics were driven by the Federal Reserve, the war in Ukraine and China’s COVID lockdown. Reath said effective interest rates only led to more hikes because it was proof they were working, the price of gas rose to high levels and China’s zero-COVID policy shut down the second-largest economy in the world. 

Reath said these circumstances led to mass sell-offs of both stocks and bonds, without reinvestment from the cash garnered during the sales. Reath said there was nowhere to hide while trying to grow and maintain assets. Reath warned a recession is on its way, but might not come until the second quarter and could remain until the fourth quarter of the year. 

While projecting the themes will continue into 2023, Reath said he believes there will be improvements by the end of the year. Following adjustments to the budget halfway through fiscal year 2023, Lewes officials are preparing a conservative budget for FY 2024, keeping in mind the current state of outside factors. 

McCabe said the FY 2023 amended transfer tax revenue figure of $1.1 million was recently reached and the city has received 82.5% of its revenue as of the end of December. The expectation is that revenue from the transfer tax will continue to come in, but while the original budgeted amount may not be reached, McCabe thinks Lewes is in good shape. She said departments and committees are being educated on the situation.

“When we are preparing the budget, we have asked all the department managers to be very conservative in their requests,” McCabe said.

Finance committee member Winnie Kee said awareness and getting in front of the situation are very important for the city. She said she believes they should save all of their cash during this time. McCabe said when they amended the budget, they evaluated capital projects and prioritized them. McCabe said she believes there's no doubt they will be doing that for the FY 2024 budget. 

With budget season fast approaching, February public meetings will be posted on the city’s website at the end of January. Lewes’ fiscal year runs from April 1 through March 31. 

Budget meetings

Fridays, 9 a.m.

Feb. 3 - Review draft budget

Feb. 10 - Maintenance Department; Parks & Marina Department; lifeguards; Building Department; planning & development office; city manager’s office; finance office

Feb. 17 - Police Department; parking operations; fire department; Lewes Line

Feb. 24 - Lewes African-American Heritage Commission; public art committee; planning commission; parks & recreation commission; bicycle & pedestrian committee

March 3 - Capital projects; historic preservation architectural review committee

March 10 - Budget mark-up

March 17 - Final mark-up

Mondays, 6 p.m. 

March 13 - Possibly adopt FY 2024 budget

March 20 - Special mayor and city council meeting to adopt FY 2024 budget (if needed)

More information is available at


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