Ocean View will not experience a tax increase this year

Posted by Leslie Kopp & Christi Arndt on Friday, March 8th, 2024 at 12:41pm

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Ocean View Town Council members said at their budget workshop on Tuesday this week that they were pleased taxes won’t increase this year, but Town Manager Carol Houck warned that there will likely be a hike next year. “I anticipate a 1-cent increase” through the 2029 fiscal year, “and I don’t foresee our ability to not increase the tax rate” in the 2026 fiscal year, Houck said at the Feb. 27 workshop on the Town’s 2025-fiscal-year budget.

“We have maintained the tax rate for the third year in a row, and getting to the current rate included a 3-cent reduction three years ago. We’re proud of that and all we have been able to accomplish,” she said.

The current property tax rate for the Town is $.2378 per $100 of assessed property value. Proposed for the 2025 fiscal year is a $5.9 million operating budget and $1.9 million capital program. The budget must be passed by April 30, as the 2025 fiscal year begins on May 1.

The council will decide at the Tuesday, March 12, town council meeting whether to schedule a second budget workshop, but the consensus this week was it won’t be necessary. There was a portion of the workshop set aside for residents to comment, but there were no comments.

While presenting an overview of the budget, Houck said Ocean View is “fiscally sound, it’s safe, it’s clean. We are working on completing community projects. We’ve been increasing our sense of community, and we are starting to see a constriction in our revenue streams,” she said. She added that town leaders are “doing what is right for our property owners and doing what is right by our dedicated employees, while staying competitive and staying ahead on maintenance … all while operating in a professional and above-board manner.”

The budget includes a new, full-time maintenance supervisor position and a proposed 3.9 percent pay increase for employees who are not in the police department, and sets the annual starting salary for police officers at $65,000. Houck praised the police department for its professionalism, the leadership of Police Chief Kenneth McLaughlin and dedication of the officers, resulting in the town consistently being named one of the safest in Delaware. Public safety is the Town’s biggest expense, and that department has the most employees.

Ocean View employees have health insurance through the State of Delaware, and this year there is a 22.8 percent anticipated increase, the town manager said. In December last year, town officials were notified of the increase, and the resulting extra expense was included in the budget.

In February, the Town was notified the increase in insurance costs could be as much as 27 percent. Referring to a chart comparing Ocean View’s employee benefits and those offered by nearby municipalities, Houck said all of the municipalities are on the state health insurance plan and all of their officials are addressing the 22.8 percent increase. She said she has shared the Town’s concerns about the increase with legislators.

The Town participates in paid Family Medical Leave and has been paying into the fund at .8 percent of salaries. Houck said she was not prepared to make recommendations but informed the council that the maximum payout for medical leave is $900 each week. The town continues to have a high number of new home sales and resales. As the town gets closer to build-out, “The quality of life that you have been supporting and we have been working on as a town becomes even more important, so given a buyer’s opportunity to select Ocean View over other area towns, that will be considered,” Houck said.

Also in the budget is funding to celebrate the Town’s 135th anniversary. Previous discussions about how to celebrate include Mayor John Reddington’s suggestion for “a nice little parade down West Street, with fire engines, maybe a high school band, the VFW Color Guard, the police can be involved.”

Other Town-sponsored events for this year include the Spring Fling on May 4; Concerts in the Park on June 7, 15 and 21; Classic Movie Nights in July; the annual tree-lighting and holiday fair; and the Halloween celebration Cops & Goblins in October.

At the budget workshop, Reddington praised the work of the town staff for “an outstanding job of presenting the budget.” “It is very understandable, and I like the fact that the budget is balanced,” he said.

“Great job,” Councilman Stephen Cobb added. “A lot of hard work was done on this. Thank you so much. The town of Ocean View is a great place to live. It being safe allows for quality of life. It allows for people to enjoy our town, and I just am so thankful for everyone that works for the Town to keep it that way. Thank you.”

He also thanked Reddington for “always wanting to maintain the tax rate without sacrificing the quality of life.”


It's a better time than ever to get in touch with an Ocean View Realtor. If you are looking for Ocean View DE homes for sale to call your own or if you have been contemplating a real estate sale, we are here to help. (302) 541-5207


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