Wilmington city budget gets approval

Despite the struggling economy and tight funds, the City of Wilmington will not see an increase in property taxes or any city employee layoffs, but water and sewer rates will increase.

Thursday night, Wilmington’s Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget was approved by Council in a ten to three vote. The approval comes after a series of public hearings on the budget that has now been cut to $142.9 million.  Mayor James Baker had said cutting down the budget further was impossible a few months ago.

“We have already cut the budget by $350,000 in this proposal on top of the $10 million in cuts over the last three years. We can’t cut anymore without affecting programs and services,” said Baker during his last budget in March.

However, while city officials were able to make cuts and reduce the budget deficit by $453,192 to $2 million, tough decisions still had to be made in the process. In fact, 14 vacant city positions will be eliminated including positions in the police and finance departments, city council and the Mayor’s office.

On a more positive note, Mayor James Baker shared that City Council added $200,000 to the new budget for youth services, and more than $6,000 to increase the discretionary funds that are available annually to Council Members.

Outside of those changes, the city’s FY 2013 Water/Sewer Fund budget of $64.3 million will stay the same with a 9% increase in the rates for water, sewer and stormwater. The increase for the average ratepayer is expected to be about $4.19 per month, that’s based on the average water use of 12,000 gallons per quarter.

After a 12 year run, Mayor Baker’s last budget will go into effect on July first.

Despite the struggling economy and tight funds, the City of Wilmington will not see an increase in property taxes or any city employee layoffs.

 

Thursday night, Wilmington’s Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget was favored by Council in a 10 to three vote.  The approval comes after a series of public hearings on the budget that has now been cut to $142.9 million.  Surprisingly, Mayor James Baker said cutting down the budget further was impossible a few months ago. 

 

“We have already cut the budget by $350,000 in this proposal on top of the 10 million in cuts over the last three years.  We can’t cut anymore without effecting programs and services,” said Baker during his last budget in March.

 

However, while city officials were able to reduce the budget deficit by $453,192 to $2 million, tough decisions still had to be made in the process. In fact, 14 city positions will be eliminated including positions in the police and finance departments, city council and the Mayor’s office.

 

On a more positive note, the Mayor James Baker shared that City Council added $200 thousand to the new budget for youth services, and more than $6,000 to increase the discretionary funds that are available annually to Council Members.

 

Outside of those changes, it looks like the City’s FY 2013 Water/Sewer Fund budget of $64.3 million will stay the same with a 9% increase in the rates for water, sewer and stormwater. The increase for the average ratepayer is expected to be about $4.19 per month but of course that’s based on the average water use of 12,000 gallons per quarter.

 

After a 12 year run, Mayor Baker’s last budget will go into effect on July first.

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