Sussex County Council Approves Budget Amendment & Councilmanic Redistricting Ordinances
The Sussex County Council held multiple public hearings during Tuesday’s meeting – both in the morning session and in the afternoon. During the morning session the Council approved an ordinance amendment to the FY 2022 Operating Budget that moves over $12-million in additional revenue for continued land preservation. This revenue also will be used for a one-time revenue sharing program for local towns.
Nearly $5.6 million of the funding will be set aside for land acquisitions by the County in the current fiscal year; the balance, in the form of grants ranging from a minimum $100,000 to a maximum $500,000, will go to every municipality in Sussex to help offset expenses related to eligible expenses and projects. Municipalities receiving more than $100,000 would have to match the County grant dollar-for-dollar, and must use the awarded funds within the next year.
Municipalities will be able to use the funds for items such as public safety, economic development, infrastructure, and capital projects.
The Council also approved the proposed councilmanic redistricting maps that were introduced several weeks ago. The new maps will bring a new look for the County. The maps are redrawn every 10 years after the Census is taken and the 2020 Census showed significant growth and shifts in population over the past 10 years. District 5 has the biggest changes – where it used to nearly span the bottom part of the county it is now the central part of Sussex and surrounded by the other 4 districts. Jack Young spoke during the public hearing for the League of Women Voters and told the Council that the proposed maps were close to the ones submitted by the League and they approve of the proposed ordinance. The Council approved the redistricting ordinance with a unanimous vote. Each of the five Council members retain their seats. The next election – which is this year will have the seats for District 4 and 5 up for election.
Based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 population results for Delaware, Sussex County’s population increased more than 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, from 197,145 residents to 237,378 residents. Given those figures, each Council district must be within plus or minus 5 percent of an ideal population of 47,475 residents, containing no fewer than 45,101 residents and no more than 49,849 residents. All of the newly set districts conform to the population requirements.
County officials considered various factors when developing the maps, including current and historical trends, geographic features, and a desire to keep together, where possible, ‘communities of interest’.
The newly adopted map is available on the County’s website at www.sussexcountyde.gov.