An agreement on spending in Wilmington’s largest city is more than $600,000 less than Mayor Dennis Williams original budget proposal released in March.
The deal, announced in a joint statement from Mayor Williams and City Council President Theo Gregory will eliminate four vacant positions and allow for the creation of a land bank. Council’s Finance Committee will consider the proposal Monday evening. A full vote of City Council is expected Thursday.
“This budget is fiscally responsible and provides the resources needed to continue to provide a level of service that citizens have become used to receiving,” said Mayor Williams.
The agreement would move $1.5 million from the city’s Unassigned Fund to the Housing Strategic Fund to pay for the city’s new Land Bank. Last fall, Williams and Gregory backed a plan to create the Land Bank which would allow the city to pool resources with non-profit and for-profit development agencies to purchase abandoned properties for redevelopment. Currently about 15 percent or 5,000 of Wilmington’s 28,000 residential properties is vacant.
“We were able to eliminate some positions which will produce longer term savings, identify new funding for the land bank and other neighborhood-based housing projects,” Gregory said. “Budgets are all about compromising and that’s what we’ve done in this case.”
The budget deal also includes a reduction in funding for IT consultants and a new negotiated agreement to reduce costs in the city’s prescription drug program.