HARRINGTON — Changes are “really moving and happening” in the city of Harrington according to local businessman and contractor Darrin Simpson of Blue Hen Construction.
Mr. Simpson is also a member of a new builders’ and developers’ committee sanctioned by the Harrington City Council in hopes of seeing more growth in the “ hub of Delaware.”
With several meetings under their belts, the committee has successfully helped create one economic incentive to help boost town growth with several more ideas in the works.
“The first thing we did was the realty transfer tax fee,” Mr. Simpson explained. “Most municipalities waive that fee. They [council] passed that pretty quickly. So now, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, you won’t pay that fee in Harrington.”
He said the incentive benefits both the homebuyer and the seller who ultimately gets credit for the sale.
The council also approved a sewer and water impact fee waiver, according to Mr. Simpson, during a special meeting July 5 which will run from July 1 of this year to June 30, 2017.
The impact fee waiver can be used for new construction of single family homes. Each builder, he added, can use up to four waivers.
“That’s good because it’s an incentive to get the builders to jump on it. We can, in turn, lower our prices house and pass it along,” Mr. Simpson said.
The incentives, he added, will help solve one of the looming issues builders and realtors in Harrington continue to have: low home appraisals.
“We don’t really know why the appraisals are coming in low,” he said, adding that poor aesthetics and high rental rates in Harrington could be contributing to the problem.
“New homes are bought by owner- occupants. They’re a lot more likely to take better care of their properties, which will drive up property values,” Mr. Simpson said. “I see impact waivers helping to buy ten new homes in the town this year.”
Up and Coming
The new committee, which meets again this week, plans on addressing more issues such as infill lot concerns and a transfer fee waiver which would help lower down payment and closing costs.
For the city of Harrington’s part, a new, full-time planner position was approved with the passing of the budget for the 2016-2016 fiscal year.
As the committee continues to bridge the gap between business owners, homeowners and the city of Harrington, members says they would like to see the committee eventually “morph” into an economic development committee.
“Everybody has been very receptive to our ideas and Terry, the city manager, has been very instrumental in the process,” Mr. Simpson said. “The thing we want to get out to people is that the city is open for business. Harrington has had a history of having a negative reputation and that seems to have gone away. It’s really positive now and things are really moving and happening.”
Jennifer Antonik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org