Dover mayor breathes sigh of relief for now

DOVER — Weary Robin Christiansen exited Legislative Hall about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday liking the final fiscal verdict from legislators this year.

Dover’s mayor could live with the grant-in-aid bill sparing nonprofits from fiscal cuts as the General Assembly met for the final time this session, and cited specifically municipal street aid money that stayed intact.

Robin Christiansen

Robin Christiansen

Legislators also maintained key fire company operating money, along with the Dover Modern Maturity Center, among others, Mayor Christiansen said.

Also, legislators kept Community Transportation Fund access designed to aid their communities in solving smaller transportation and public access needs.

In addition, a Senate generated-proposal giving the state more funds through the realty transfer tax and less to municipal governments also failed to gain final approval. If the current 50-50 split was adjusted, the state would have received 2 percent of the transfer tax, and municipal entities 1 percent.

Mayor Christiansen described the revenue stream as critical to meeting Dover’s needs.

Dover, Seaford and Wilmington also can apply for part of $8.5 million available through the Downtown Development District program that could support business growth within their city limits, along with boosting ownership of residential housing that provides stability to the eligible area.

Three new eligible communities will be announced at a later date, possibly months from now.

There’s no guarantee of a rosy future, however, and the mayor said municipalities may be facing thorny issues when the General Assembly returns in January and the budgeting process begins anew.

“Next fiscal year, unless something turns around drastically, it behooves us as municipalities to start planning for a lot less to work with coming from the state,” Mayor Christiansen said.

“The state is returning a lot of the responsibilities they took from the municipalities 20 to 25 years ago.”

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