Gordon’s administration is characterized by unprecedented fiscal health of the county, earning national recognition with the highest AAA rating from all three major bond-rating agencies and evaluators citing the strength of county fiscal policies and reserve levels – two at historic record-setting levels.
Further, independent auditors have given the county their best category of financial ratings throughout Gordon’s administration, which repeatedly has won awards from the Government Finance Officers Association for the quality of its financial reporting and documentation.
Two financial reserves that require super-majority votes of County Council to allocate – the General Fund Rainy Day Reserve at $35,033,252 and the Sewer Fund Rainy Day Reserve at $14,861,426 as of May – are at the highest levels in the multi-century history of New Castle County.
The Tax Stabilization Reserve, at $48.6 million as of March 31, 2015, remains healthy at about $44 million.
This is the fund that still contains and earns interest on $7.5 million designated as incentive for the DuPont Co. over five years, provided the company stays here and meets employment benchmarks.
Nearly $1.5 million from the fund was shifted to the General Fund Rainy Day Reserve -- as required by County Code – and close to $1.6 million was required to cover Workers’ Compensation costs mainly from legacy cases incurred under a previous administration.
The few other uses of the fund were much smaller and highly selective. They include $500,000 for the Innovative Development Empowerment Area or IDEA Program – providing no-interest loans up to $5,000 for homebuyer down-payments and $20,000 for homeowners’ building repairs in 20 needy Census tracts – and $300,000 used for maintenance and grass-cutting at vacant homes countywide. Also, $150,000 was invested in a joint study with Wilmington, backed by Longshoremen, for possible Port of Wilmington expansion at the Riveredge site south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which later was recommended.