Sussex County to suspend hotel tax, provide rental assistance funds in wake of COVID-19

Sussex County is administering a dose of financial medicine to help ease the economic pain many are feeling amid the coronavirus crisis.

County Council, during a teleconference of its regular weekly meeting on Tuesday, April 7, approved various measures as part of the County’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. The teleconference was permitted by Gov. John C. Carney’s March 13 state of emergency that allows public bodies to meet virtually to limit in-person contact.

Steps the County is taking to ease financial hardships during the economic emergency include:

• Suspending the 3-percent accommodations tax adopted in November 2019 and implemented Jan. 1. The surcharge is for the rent of any room or rooms in a hotel, motel, or tourist home in unincorporated portions of the county, with revenue collected earmarked for projects and programs, such as beach nourishment, waterway dredging, economic development and water quality/flood control.

• Contributing up to $250,000 in County funds to the Delaware State Housing Authority’s Housing Assistance Program, with that money earmarked for renters in Sussex County.

• Deferring until further notice the collection of lease payments for tenants of the Delaware Coastal Airport and Delaware Coastal Business Park.

“We are mindful these are very trying times, and anything the County can do to take some stress off our customers’ wallets is something we should strive for,” said Council President Michael H. Vincent. “These are small but important steps that will do a tremendous amount of good.”