Dewey faces $100K deficit
Dewey Beach — Dewey Beach officials say the town faces a $100,000 deficit for the coming year. The town’s budget and finance committee met with town council Jan. 14 to discuss ways to raise money and cut costs for fiscal year 2013.
Budget and finance committee Chairman David King said the committee would review a cost-benefit analysis for investing in smart meter parking in time for the summer season. Commissioner Jim Laird said more parking spaces could be installed on Dickinson and Van Dykes avenues.
Bethany Beach reported a 30 percent revenue increase after it installed smart meter kiosks in place of traditional parking meters, Laird said.
Budget committee member Mark Allen said smart parking meters would be a large investment – about $20,000 more than traditional meters. But, he said, revenue generated by the meters would compensate for the investment. “We need to take kind of a bigger view of this,” Allen said.
Committee member Larry Silver said parking permit sales could yield more revenue if discounts for property owners were eliminated.
A seasonal parking permit costs $200, but property owners who buy permits before June could buy up to two permits for $100 each.
“Why should the town subsidize the property owners when they don’t pay a property tax?” asked Chief Financial Officer Bill Brown.
Laird, who worked to reduce parking fines from $50 to $35 for the 2011 summer season, said the deal is an incentive for residents to buy more permits, not a subsidy.
Committee member Steve Huse said when permit prices went up in 2009, property owners bought permits and sold them to tourists at a lower price than the town. Laird said council would consider a proposal to reduce the discount for property owners.
Committee member Dave Davis said creative funding for lifeguards, such as fundraisers and donation drives, as well as a fee for entertainment licenses and an accommodations tax on all hotel stays would raise revenue in town. “These are things we really ought to be looking at,” Davis said.
He said it is too late to take action on the proposals for the coming fiscal year, but the budget committee and town council could possibly put some of the ideas in place for fiscal year 2014.
Mayor Diane Hanson said an entertainment license fee for live musicians should be implemented immediately because establishing the fee requires only a majority council vote.
Laird said the money generated from the proposals could be used to establish a capital improvement account – in lieu of establishing a property tax – to make repairs on roads, fix drainage problems and improve street lighting. Read more
For those not familiar years ago when they were trying to incorporate Dewey the deal was made there would never be a property tax.
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