Mighty Kent County Levy Court has become more active than ever, and that’s a win-win for everyone.
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Between the hustle of Wilmington and bustle of Rehoboth Beach lies a force to be reckoned with—Kent County Levy Court. And it is making big strides in maximizing recreational, environmental and civic resources in the capital region.
Not a court of law, as the name might imply, or a body formed only for the levying of taxes, Levy Court may seem like a bit of a mystery to some. In actuality, it is the county council for Kent. It is comprised of seven members—six commissioners elected by residents, and a commissioner at-large elected by the district—and five departments: finance, public works, community services, public safety and planning services.
And it is more dynamic than ever.
Levy Court was established in 1655, when the Delaware General Assembly, then under Dutch control, enacted legislation that called for taxes to be levied on all landowners in Delaware. By 1793 the duties had grown to include property assessment, real estate transfers and granting land applications.
Fast forward 300 years or so. Responsibilities now include appointing assessors and establishing assessment fees, maintaining public works, and providing library and ambulance services, in addition to helping fund local service organizations.
Levy Court operates like any other governmental body in Delaware. It is, however, the enhanced scope and depth of those duties during the past few years that have allowed the council to make a deeper impact on Kent County.
According to county administrator Michael Petit de Mange, the real estate market of the early 2000s helped the county flourish. “The housing market was still on the rise in central Delaware, and that enabled new buyers to seek out Kent County as options,” Petit de Mange says. “The completion of Route 1 opened up this area to commuters who were used to traveling to employment centers farther north of Kent County, which also made this area a great option for buyers. For people outside of Delaware, they found that Kent County offered a lower cost of living, lower taxes, a small-town kind of feel, and a comfortable retirement option—all of this spurring new growth for our community.”
With Delaware State University, Delaware Technical and Community College, a Wilmington University campus and Wesley College all in Dover, the area has become a prime location for families and students.
With an increased population came increased demands. Levy Court sprung into action. It started by restricting the county’s development projects.
Page 2: Courting Success, continues...