RV park will not benefit Sussex financially
I am writing this letter to state my opposition to the Love Creek RV Resort for the critical reason that it makes no financial sense to taxpayers of Sussex County. As a financial executive for over 40 years (Squibb, Nabisco and Kraft), I have analyzed the numbers and found that the proposed RV development is a bad idea when compared to the income that a housing development would provide the county on the same piece of land.
The Sussex County Finance Director submitted (for the public record) a comparative analysis of the revenue stream to the county for the RV resort versus a residential development. The report detailed the various sources of revenue (realty transfer taxes, property taxes, sewer connection fees, and other taxes/fees) for each scenario. This study clearly indicates the RV resort proposal is adverse to Sussex County finances.
According to the county report, the RV resort proposal delivers significantly lower revenues to the county versus single family home development - $5 million less. The reason is that the RV development would generate zero realty transfer tax and minimal property taxes, both one-time and on-going.
Clearly, the RV resort will not pay its fair share for county investments for public safety (paramedics, fire, and police) and infrastructure (primarily waste treatment). Furthermore, the RV city population will stress the public safety functions and sewer systems at the expense of current tax-paying homeowners of all Sussex County.
The Lingo proposal (used by county finance) considered using 631 home sites on the total 324-acre parcel. This home sites option delivers a $5.3 million benefit to the county versus revenues from the RV resort. However, to give an apple-to-apples comparison, if we calculate the revenue for only a 315-home site development (on the 162-acre property proposed for the RV site) the result would still be over a $2 million advantage. [Note: the comprehensive plan for this area calls for low density dwellings.]
And if we project a 20-year cash flow, a housing development would deliver a cumulative benefit of $9 million for 315 homes versus the RV resort with double the density (628 sites).
Realty transfer taxes and property taxes fund the majority of the county’s general funds and capital investment. In 2012, the realty transfer tax alone provided more than $15 million for Sussex County. And the Sussex County budget mentioned no RV campground revenues driving the budget surplus!
In conclusion, the financial comparison provides overwhelming evidence that the RV resort is not the best choice for the Love Creek corridor.
Our county council and planning and zoning members need to vote no to oppose any changes to the zoning that would let the development proceed. There is no public benefit to all county taxpayers - it only benefits the developer.