How it's done
The business climate is the general economic environment that local businesses operate in. Reviewing and understanding the local business climate provides valuable insights about the economy, costs, risks, and incentives that may impact the success of your business. This activity will guide you to better understand the business climate in New Castle County and help you answer the following fundamental questions.
What is the business climate in New Castle County?
We have compiled the most important aspects of New Castle County’s business climate as an interactive dashboard below. This dashboard provides valuable economic, resident, household, dwelling and development indicators that may influence the success of your business.
Resident Indicator Population Growth Chart
What costs and assistance should I know about?
Whether you have a new or existing business it is critical to be aware of costs, incentives and grants that impact your business. This dashboard provides you with a snapshot of the major costs of conducting a business in New Castle County and assistance available to New Castle County businesses.
The Office of Assessment oversees the process of assessing property, reviewing applications for assessment exemptions, and maintaining tax parcel and map information. Members of our staff are available to assist you from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
For more detailed information regarding property assessments click here.
Assessment Process & Applicability
New Castle County property assessments are based upon 1983 property values. When a certificate of occupancy is issued after a building is constructed or improved, an assessor visits the property to determine the new assessment rate. The property assessment determines the amount of your property tax bill, as well as your school district's tax bill.
View the current residential and commercial tax rates for the 2017 - 2018 tax year.
For more detailed information regarding property taxes click here.
The Department of Land Use is made up of multiple divisions that work both independently and collaboratively in regulating a broad spectrum of land-related processes and activities, such as the review of proposed development, building and use permits, licensing of contractors, inspection of construction, enforcement of the property maintenance code, and much more.
For contact information, or to learn more about New Castle County’s Department of Land Use click here.
The Department of Land Use oversees the review of proposed development plans and rezoning applications to ensure that they meet legal requirements found in the following bodies of law
The Department of Land Use oversees the review of proposed development plans and rezoning applications to ensure that they meet legal requirements found in the following bodies of law:
- Delaware State Code
- Drainage Code (Chapter 12)
- N.C.C. Comprehensive Development Plan
- U.S. Constitution
- Unified Development Code (Chapter 40)
With input from state and other county agencies, staff review plans and rezoning applications for details and particulars relating to:
- Building lots
- Fire safety
- Historic resources
- Integration of utilities
- Site drainage and water management
- Transit access
- Transportation flow
- And other components
Protection of the site's natural resources is a high priority. Planners and engineers also encourage applicants to advance the best design possible. In the case of changes to zoning, which must receive County Council approval, the department issues recommendations on the rezoning application.
Only licensed contractors may apply for non-residential building permits and conduct work on non-residential sites. This permit category applies to all structures and occupancies except for detached one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) not more than three stories high and their accessory structures.
For more information on New Castle County permit requirements click here.
Annual Wages per Employee
|NAICS Code||New Castle County||Delaware||United States|
|11 Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting||N/A||N/A||$33,287|
|21 Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction||N/A||N/A||$102,988|
|42 Wholesale trade||$85,299||$80,255||$73,710|
|44-45 Retail trade||$29,085||$28,435||$30,299|
|48-49 Transportation and warehousing||$44,084||$42,721||$50,459|
|52 Finance and insurance||$95,410||$93,209||$101,210|
|53 Real estate and rental and leasing||$52,507||$47,645||$54,965|
|54 Professional and technical services||$99,550||$93,296||$90,972|
|55 Management of companies and enterprises||$129,117||$128,593||$115,325|
|56 Administrative and waste services||$38,381||$37,191||$37,989|
|61 Educational services||$46,096||$44,540||$48,757|
|62 Health care and social assistance||$54,709||$52,434||$47,956|
|71 Arts, entertainment, and recreation||$23,362||$24,438||$36,806|
|72 Accommodation and food services||$18,624||$18,573||$20,032|
|81 Other services, except public administration||$35,443||$33,353||$35,921|
Private, NAICS Sectors, 2016 Annual Averages, All establishment sizes
Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages - Bureau of Labor Statistics
The table below provides the living wage requirements in New Castle County, DE. The data is sourced from the Living Wage Calculator created by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier at MIT. It is a market-based approach that draws upon geographically specific expenditure data related to a family’s likely minimum food, childcare, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other necessities (e.g. clothing, personal care items, etc.) costs.
The living wage draws on these cost elements and the rough effects of income and payroll taxes to determine the minimum employment earnings necessary to meet a family’s basic needs while also maintaining self-sufficiency.
|Annual Expenses||1 Adult||1 Adult 1 Child||2 Adults 1 Child|
|Required annual income after taxes||$22,436||$46,444||$49,453|
|Required annual income before taxes||$26,409||$55,076||$58,673|
2017 Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: http://livingwage.mit.edu/
New Castle County Incentives
New Castle County Government offers tax-exempt bond financing for projects relating to infrastructure, energy, community development and other economic development purposes.
Partial Property Tax Exemption
Businesses that invest at least $50,000 in new construction of commercial or manufacturing facilities in unincorporated areas of the county are eligible for a three year partial property tax exemption for the incremental increase in property assessment due to the new development in excess of $50,000. The tax exemption is applicable to only the New Castle County portion of real estate taxes.
New Castle County's Redevelopment Ordinance encourages smart growth and revitalization of older communities by offering incentives and accelerated permitting for entities that redevelop brownfields and existing vacant properties.
Route 9 and 13 Corridors Economic Development Plan
New Castle County, along with area stakeholders, are undertaking an economic development plan for the Rt. 9 and 13 commercial and industrial corridors located just south of Wilmington, as well as the City of New Castle. The plan capitalizes on the area's infrastructure and assets, and assists small and medium sized business, as well as exporters.
Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds
New Castle County is offering Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECB), which are designed to provide low-interest financing for green energy and energy efficiency projects for qualifying businesses. Projects must be located in qualifying districts, and over 90% of the county is eligible. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provided New Castle County with a $1.62 million QECB issuance allocation. View the details of this program here.
View a map of areas eligible for QECBs: QECB Designated Areas
State of Delaware Incentives
Delaware Public Private Partnership (DPP)
The Delaware Public Private Partnership (DPP) consisting of the State Division of Small Business, Development and Tourism and the Delaware Prosperity Partnership work to promote the expansion of existing industry, assist small and minority-owned businesses, promote and develop tourism, support the creation of employment opportunities, in addition to recruiting new business and investment to the state.
State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)
Under the Small Business Jobs Act, Delaware can access $13.1 million in funds for new small-business lending in Delaware to lower the borrowing rate and credit risk.
Delaware Access Program
The Delaware Access Program is private-public match program that provides access to bank financing for qualifying Delaware businesses that may have difficulty obtaining conventional financing.
New Jobs Infrastructure Program
The New Jobs Infrastructure Fund provides flexible funding for public infrastructure projects that are critical and immediate for large businesses locating or expanding in Delaware. There are $55 million in this fund, which can be used for projects relating to transportation, sewer, water, energy, land stabilization and other infrastructure. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and require a public sector co-sponsor. New Castle County Government seeks to co-sponsor projects within the county.
Delaware Rural Irrigation Program (DRIP)
A revolving loan fund, administered collaboratively through the Delaware Department of Agriculture and the DEDO, is available to qualified Delaware farmers to add new irrigation systems in an effort to increase the amount of irrigated cropland in Delaware. Under the Small Business Jobs Act, Delaware can access $13.1 million in funds for new small-business lending in Delaware to lower the borrowing rate and credit risk.
Brownfield Assistance Program
Encourages the redevelopment of environmentally distressed sites within the state by helping to reduce related capital expenditures. DEDO administers the program in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
How do I use this information?
Having access to business climate statistics and information is one thing, but it's quite another to use data effectively and in a way that will benefit your business. This next section will help you do just that. Learn how to use this information to make better business decisions.
Monitor the local business climate
On-going assessment of the business climate is an essential part of operating a competitive business. In any business climate, there are numerous factors outside your control that will impact your business, both positively and negatively. The health of the economy impacts all businesses, but small businesses usually feel the effect of economic changes faster than big businesses. Improvements in the economy typically provide a rapid increase in new opportunities for small businesses, while an economic downturn can have a significant and prolonged negative impact.
Unfortunately, you can’t influence the economy, but you can monitor the business climate indicators provided above and then take the necessary actions to minimise risks to your business. Staying up to date with the business climate can also help you identify new opportunities that your business can take advantage of.
Know your costs
All industries are unique and incur different types of costs when starting or operating. Understanding these costs is essential when it comes to setting prices, budgeting and planning for growth or downturns. We’ve provided some of the local costs associated with taxes, development and labor that often get overlooked by businesses. There may be other municipal and state costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.
Where can I learn more about the business climate?
While we are providing you with a range of valuable information about the business climate, the fact is that there's much more available. In this section we provide you with links to other websites that will supplement our information and help to keep your finger on the pulse.
There may also be other municipal and provincial costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.
Delaware Small Business Chamber
State of Delaware – How to Start a Small Business
Bureau of Economic Analysis – US Department of Commerce
Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED)