Delaware Budget Foes

Wilmington City Council didn’t like Mayor James Baker’s alternate budget proposal, so council members came up with their own plan; a plan the Mayor is threatening to veto.

And neither side seems willing to budge.

This latest back-and-forth centers around the city’s FY2012 budget. Not expected to receive enough votes to pass, the Mayor pitched the alternate budget to the Council Finance Committee Tuesday that included either a reduced property tax increase of 2.1 percent or taking $800,000 from the city’s reserves. The alternate proposal was rejected.

In its place, council members voted for a budget plan proposed by Council President Norman Griffiths and Finance Committee Chair Bud Freel. According to the Mayor’s office, the Griffiths/Freel budget “calls for an additional $773,000 in unspecified cuts in city programs and services.”

“Where do they propose that we cut another $773,000 from this budget after we already reduced city expenditures by over $10 million,” asked Mayor Baker. “The plan they got approval for today does not contain significant details and that is unfair to our taxpayers, to our employees and even to members of City Council. What is it exactly that Council will be voting on?”

Calls and emails to Council President Griffiiths asking for details on where the cuts would come from, so far, have not been returned.

“I do not believe that all 13 members of City Council are aware of what’s in their plan because lump sum numbers in the plan are lacking detail,” said Mayor Baker. 

The budget vote is scheduled for Thursday night, but Council Member Steve Martelli says if it it looks like the budget won’t pass, the Council President will suspend the meeting, forcing city leaders to work around the clock to meet a June 1st deadline.

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