Milford City Council discussed a current House Bill which could affect the city’s ability to raise taxes. Mayor Bryan Shupe explained that House Bill 333 may require the city to have any proposed tax increase approved by state legislators. According to City Solicitor David Rutt, the issue was the result of a Court of Chancery ruling regarding a licensing fee instituted by the town of Dewey Beach.
“The bill says there are limitations on the taxing power of cities related to the wording ‘all powers,” said City Solicitor, David Rutt. “If the bill passes, any fee or tax must be approved a three-fifths margin in both the House and the Senate. There has been some push back from many municipalities in the state as it could strip away some of their power.”
Mayor Shupe said that the city needed to remain partners with the state, but that this was something city officials needed to keep an eye on. He also suggested discussing the matter with local representatives, including Senator Gary Simpson and Representatives Harvey Kenton, Dave Wilson and Jack Peterman. Councilman Dirk Gleysteen asked how Milford stands in regard to the bill.
“The clause ‘all powers’ is what is being challenged, and Milford has that clause in their charter,” Mr. Rutt explained. “However, some taxes, such as real estate, will not be affected as the charter and the law is very clear about how that is handled.”