News Journal: BRAC Could be Delaware’s Gain

From Wilmington News Journal —–

When deciding between moving to Delaware or Maryland, Hilary and Pam Ruske knew they wanted more open space and less-congested highways than they had at their home in northern New Jersey.

“We wanted to get away from traffic. That’s what hurt Delaware,” said Hilary Ruske, a civilian military employee who transferred from Fort Monmouth, N.J., to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

New Castle County was just a bit too congested compared with the more rural Cecil County, Md., where the couple has settled into a 3,200-square-foot home on three acres just north of Elkton, Ruske said.

Elkton’s location made it more attractive because of its proximity to sales-tax-free Delaware, Ruske said.

Relocation needs vary greatly among the 8,200 civilian military employees who are starting to move to the region to work at Aberdeen through the military’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Some are choosing to be near the base in Harford County, Md., while others are navigating east to Cecil County for its rural setting.

Because of New Castle County’s urban amenities and educational opportunities coupled with the state’s lower tax bills, County Executive Chris Coons’ administration has staked a large portion of its economic development strategy on attracting BRAC-related transfers and jobs.

“What we’re marketing in Delaware is, we’re 15 [percent] to 20 percent below the cost of living than our friends in Maryland,” said Karl Kalbacher, economic redevelopment director for New Castle County.

article continues on Delaware Online

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