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Dover extends property tax deadline to Sept. 30

Emily Lytle * Delaware
elytle@doverpost.com
Dover Post

Dover property owners now have until Sept. 30 to file taxes after city council members unanimously approved the extension June 8. The original deadline was July 31.

Councilman David Anderson, 4th district, asked City Manager Donna Mitchell about the city’s cash flow, which has plummeted due to COVID-19, and how an extension may affect that. In an earlier interview, Mitchell said cash payments for utilities and services were down 21% between January and late May.

“We are down cash-flow-wise, but we’re having to dip into the reserves to recover those cash flow issues,” Mitchell said during the meeting. She was optimistic that the city’s reserve funds will carry it through until businesses fully reopen and cash flow picks back up.

Residents will receive tax bills July 1 and penalties begin Oct. 1.

No confirmed end to curfew

Dover’s curfew is still in effect daily from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Councilman Roy Sudler, 4th district, asked the mayor whether he had an estimated end date or what criteria would lift it.

Mayor Robin Christiansen did not give an end date. “We evaluate that based on the peacefulness of our demonstrations and also on intel that’s provided to us, myself and the [police] chief,” he said. “It’s all based on the best interest of public safety.”

He clarified that the curfew is not mandatory and does not inhibit any businesses from operating. The city will not block off streets, and public transportation runs as normal. “It’s not to curtail the God-given rights of our citizens,” he said.

For more, visit cityofdover.com/media/Mayor/Cerfew%206-1-2020.pdf.

Council seat opens July 1

Councilman Tanner Polce, 1st district, announced his resignation at the city council meeting June 8. He will vacate his seat July 1.

Polce said he decided to step back after conversations with his wife and a desire to focus more on his family. “We will be relocating outside of the city of Dover with hopes of expanding our family,” he said.

Several councilmen wished Polce luck in his next chapter and thanked him for his service to the city. “The lessons you’ve taught me over this short period of time have been invaluable,” said Councilman Ralph Taylor.

Councilman Fred Neil said he appreciated Polce’s knowledge and “depth” coming from his experience with the state government. He is the policy director for Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long.

Polce was elected in 2017 at 26 years old. He is believed to be the youngest person to be elected to Dover City Council, according to the city’s website.

Mayor Robin Christiansen gave kudos to Polce and this advice: “Have a house full of children. They are your immortality and joy.”

Budget ordinances introduced

City Manager Donna Mitchell and Assistant City Manager Matt Harline presented the 2020-2021 budget ordinances. The preliminary total budget is about 6% less than last year. It starts July 1 and ends June 30, 2021.

Mitchell emphasized that some capital projects have been put on hold, but staff tried to preserve ones that improved technology. Funds for new police cars have been deferred until next year, she said.

She introduced an ordinance that drops the property tax rates by about 8%. This rolled back rate keeps the city revenue neutral since the total assessed value of properties in Dover went up this year.

Final action on these ordinances will happen at the next meeting Monday, June 22. For more budget details, view the June 8 meeting packet at www.cityofdover.com/meetings.

Annexations approved

  • 1448 North Little Creek Road: Owner Holly L. Mayer applied for annexation to access city water since the well on her property is no longer working.
  • 1385-1389 McKee Road: About 78.6 acres owned by MEB Properties and Christopher Custis.The equitable owner is Louis J. Capano III. Most of the land will be zoned General Residence, and just over five acres will be Limited Central Commercial Zone.

Resident Mark Reaves said he lives in the neighborhood across from this property and is worried about how commercial development will affect an area with already heavy traffic.

Jonathan Street, civil designer, represented the architectural firm Becker Morgan Group. He said there are no confirmed plans for how to develop the property yet.

Council President Bill Hare said the annexation will likely give the city more control over what happens with the property. “The county doesn’t have a vested interest in looking out for the neighborhood that’s adjacent to it,” he said.

Dave Hugg, director of planning and inspections, agreed, clarifying that the action June 8 only annexes the property and changes the zoning. Any planning must be approved in future meetings.

The planning office has not received any proposals for the property yet. The developers are aware that some neighbors have concerns and want to make sure the public is involved, said planner Julian Swierczek.

  • 679 Horsepond Road: The two-acre property includes a wholesale business, and the owner is JACJIM LLC. Judy VanValkenburg represented the firm Apex Engineering. She said the owner wants access to city water and sewer services.