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Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Overview Summary

 

As President of New Castle County Council and candidate for New Castle County Executive, I am proud to present the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget, the eighth budget I have diligently worked on, ensuring fiscal responsibility and enhanced services for our residents. The operating budget stands at $342.5 million, a 3% increase from the previous year, driven by rising personnel costs and investments in public safety, including significant salary raises for police officers and the addition of new 911 telecommunicator and paramedic positions. The capital budget of $34.2 million focuses on critical infrastructure projects such as $11 million for sewer improvements, $4.4 million for the completion of Southern Regional Park, and $4.7 million for the Newark Free Library's construction. Additional investments include affordable housing, open space and farmland preservation, and environmental initiatives, all while maintaining fiscal responsibility with no new tax or utility rate increases. Despite economic challenges, we have managed the county's finances prudently, building our financial reserves to record levels, and remain dedicated to improving the quality of life for all residents in New Castle County.

New Castle County: FY 2025 Budget Overview

 

As President of New Castle County Council and candidate for New Castle County Executive, I am proud to present the details of New Castle County’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget, the eighth budget I have diligently worked on, engaging in budget hearings, and voting to ensure fiscal responsibility and enhanced services for our residents.

Operating Budget

The FY 2025 operating budget is set at $342.5 million, marking a 3% increase from the previous fiscal year. This increase is primarily driven by rising personnel costs, reflecting our commitment to offering competitive salaries and benefits to our county employees, particularly in the public safety sectors​.

Key Highlights:

Public Safety: We have made significant investments in our police department. The starting salary for police officers will be raised to $72,000 from $63,000, and overall department salaries will increase by 10%. Since 2017, we have seen a 17% reduction in total criminal events, a 16% reduction in gun violence, and a 58% reduction in burglaries. Additionally, we are adding four new 911 telecommunicator positions and ten new paramedic positions​.

Fire Services: The budget includes a 3% increase in funding for fire services and a proposed 5.7% increase for the current fiscal year, ensuring our fire companies are well-equipped to serve the community.

Emergency Medical Services: We are enhancing our Whole Blood Program and have allocated over $1.5 million for emergency communications and hiring four additional 911 telecommunicator positions and ten new paramedic positions, reflecting a nearly 12% increase from the previous year​.

Personnel Costs: Contract negotiations for nearly all unionized employees within the county have been a significant factor in the budget increase, ensuring competitive salaries and benefits.

Capital Budget

The capital budget for FY 2025 totals $34.2 million, focusing on crucial infrastructure projects across the county​.

Key Projects:

Sewer Improvements: Over $11 million is allocated for critical sewer infrastructure projects across the county.

Parks and Recreation: We are investing $4.4 million to complete the Southern Regional Park. Additionally, over $30 million will be allocated to upgrading park facilities, including enhancements to Delcastle’s softball facilities, playgrounds at Rosegate and Surratte Park, and expanding pickleball courts at various locations​.

Libraries: The budget includes operational investments to support the opening of the new Duck Creek Library and capital investment of $4.7 million toward the construction of the Newark Free Library, which will feature a performance space, recording studio, and a green roof.

Additional Investments

Affordable Housing and Community Development: Continuing our efforts to support affordable housing and community development, the budget includes provisions to expand these essential services, ensuring all residents have access to quality housing.

Open Space and Farmland Preservation: We are investing in the preservation and enhancement of open spaces, and farmland and promoting a greener, healthier county for future generations.

Environmental Initiatives: Our GreenNCC program and stringent stormwater and forestry regulations demonstrate our commitment to environmental sustainability and climate resilience.

Fiscal Responsibility

Throughout my tenure, I have emphasized fiscal responsibility and transparent governance. This year’s budget includes no new tax or utility rate increases, ensuring that our financial practices do not burden our residents while maintaining essential services​. The budget hearings highlighted the need for sustainable funding for public safety departments, and we responded with significant salary increases and strategic investments to bolster our workforce​.

This comprehensive budget reflects our dedication to improving the quality of life for all residents in New Castle County, enhancing public safety, infrastructure, and community services. Despite economic challenges, including a 40% decline in real estate transfer taxes, we have managed the county’s finances prudently and built our financial reserves to record levels. As I run for New Castle County Executive, I remain dedicated to building on these achievements and driving further progress for our community, continuing to work tirelessly to make our County the best in the Country.

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