Sussex County government is the first level of government for most of the nearly 200,000 residents living in Southern Delaware.
The County government is led by an elected five-member County Council, with an appointed County Administrator managing all County offices and departments. The current Council-Administrator form of government was established in 1970 by the Delaware General Assembly.
Residents of areas outside of towns and cities rely on County government to provide a variety of their core local services. These services include, but are not limited to, land use, building permits and inspection, 911 communications, paramedic service, property assessment and tax collection, community housing, economic development, airport/industrial park, public sewer/water, marriage and civil union licensing, estate probate, dog licensing, deed recordation and libraries.
Other government functions such as police, roads, public health and trash disposal are services provided by municipalities and/or State government. Additionally, public education is administered by local school boards that are independent of County government.
Sussex County is full of history and tradition. Among its distinctions, Sussex County is the birthplace of the broiler chicken industry, and is Delaware's largest county in terms of geography, spanning 938 square miles.
Delaware history begins with Sussex County, as the town of Lewes was founded as a Dutch whaling colony in 1631. That first European settlement gives Lewes its claim to fame of being the 'First Town in the First State' and makes Sussex County the birthplace of what would become present-day Delaware.
Sussex County is named for the County of Sussex in England, which was the home of Colonial proprietor William Penn.
Today, Sussex County, Del., is diverse in both its riches and its lifestyles. It is home to numerous seaside resorts, small towns, industry, and agriculture. Along the coast, tourism is strong in the quaint and tony resort beach towns. Western Sussex County, meantime, is the backbone of Delaware's agriculture industry with more acres of arable land under cultivation than anywhere else in the state.