Another budget battle for Wilmington

In 2011, former three-term Mayor James Baker predicted the next mayor would “have a hell of a problem on their hands” during the budget process.  That prediction may soon come true.

City Council members have revised Mayor Dennis Williams’ budget proposal by “re-arranging” about $1.4 million in planned spending.  Included among the changes is a reduction of pay raises for staff members in the mayor’s office who have already recieved a salary increase this year, or who just started working for Wilmington in January.

“The plan we are presenting is fiscally responsible, logical, fair and forward-thinking,” said Council President Theo Gregory.  “Most of the mayor’s original budget proposal is intact, but we revised the new fiscal spending plan to better address important issues like jobs, public safety, youth, education and the environment.”

Other changes council members have made include the restoration of $500,000 into the budget for the city’s Economic Development Strategic Fund to attract new employers to Wilmington.  The amended budget also moves $250,000 to implement a revised trash and recycling collection program for both residential and commercial properties.

Other cuts in the budget include eliminating the position of deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department, which will save $110,400.  Council’s amended budget will save $268,000 by cutting three vacant positions, including a marketing and special projects coordinator for the mayor’s office.

Council will vote on the amended budget Thursday.

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