Dover delays property tax payments by two months

DOVER — The city of Dover has decided to give a little bit of relief to property owners amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Members of Dover City Council voted unanimously during their virtual meeting on Monday night to approve the city manager department’s plan to extend the deadline for property owners to file their taxes until Sept. 30, just less than two months after the original deadline of July 31.

With the extension, all interest and penalties will be waived until Oct. 1.

City Manager Donna Mitchell said she believes the city has enough reserve funds to cover the lack of income until the city economy recovers.

“(Property taxes) have been deferred due to COVID-19 and the lack of (income) they (residents and businesses),” Mrs. Mitchell said. “I think if they have to (pay) by July 31st it’s going to make it difficult for them to make that due date, so they have asked that we extend it from the due date.

“We’ve talked with the investor, myself and the assistant city manager and we’ve all agreed that we can extend the due to date to September 30th and waive the penalty and interest during that period of time.”

City Councilman Tanner Polce (1st District) wanted to clarify that the city would be able to bridge the gap that taxes go uncollected.

Mrs. Mitchell had indicated at an earlier meeting of city council that cash payments for services and utilities were down around 21 percent from the previous year between January and May.

“I just want to clarify that in the forecast that it is not an issue of cash flow, so in our current forecast, we are not expecting any cash flow issues, correct?” Mr. Polce asked.

Mrs. Mitchell responded, “We’ve got some reserves that will can help carry us until we recover. I think we’re OK right now. We are down cashflow-wise, but we’re having to dip into reserves to recover those cashflow issues, but as soon as we rebound, we should be able to repay those reserve monies that we’ve used.”

Councilman Roy Sudler Jr. applauded the city for its decision.

“I think that’s going to bring some type of relief to our constituents and I think it’s a good idea and I support it,” he said.

City of Dover residents will receive their property tax bills July 1 and penalties will begin Oct. 1.

In other city council news:

Council approved an annexation into the city of Dover for a 78.6-acre property at 1385-1389 McKee Road, that is owned by MEB Properties and Christopher Custis. The equitable owner is Louis J. Capano III.

Dave Hugg, Dover’s director of planning and inspections, said that Monday’s meeting was only to annex the property and change the zoning, reiterating that any planning for the property must go through the city’s planning department and receive several approvals, including city council.

The property had been zoned RS1 (Residential Single Family – Kent County zoning classification) and the proposed zoning is RG02 (General Residence, for 73.34 acres) and C-2A (Limited Commercial zoning classification) for 5.26 acres, with the property frontage along McKee Road subject to the COZ-1 (Corridor Overlay Zone – City of Dover zoning classifications).

Jonathan Street, civil designer for the architectural firm Becker Morgan Group, represented the property owners at the meeting. He said there have been no confirmed plans as to how the property will be developed yet.

Mark Reaves said he lives in Emerald Pointe across from the property and expressed concerns with “traffic that is already too heavy in the area” and has seen numerous vehicle accidents. He said he wanted officials with the Becker Morgan Group to meet with residents in his neighborhood and keep them aware of what is taking place across the street from them on McKee Road.

The planning office has not received any proposals for the property yet.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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