It’s another episode in the soap oprea of drama surrounding the dispute between City Council and Mayor James Baker over Wilmington’s budget.
Wilmington City Council has scheduled a special meeting Thursday at 4:30 PM with just two items on the agenda. The first would override the Mayor’s veto of the budget council members approved last week. The second would be an amended operating budget.
Council member Bud Freel says if Mayor Baker’s veto is overridden, City Council’s budget proposal becomes law.
Baker brushed off the impact of a potential override of his veto. “Whatever happens, happens. People worry about this stuff, I don’t,” Baker said. He says if Council approves a budget that is not balanced, “we’ll fix the deficit during the budget year, but people have to live with the reality of what they’re doing.” That reality, Baker says, includes some ugly possibilities for city workers. “That means we might have to lay off people in the mid-year, might have to cut the budget even further, but that’s their choice… [Council members] do whatever they want.”
It’s the latest turn in what has become a bitter divide between Council and the Mayor’s office. While the rift existed before the Mayor presented his current budget proposal to City Council in March, his off-the-cuff remarks during the presentation, threatening council members with war if they wanted it, certainly deepened the divide.
Freel says council needs nine votes to override the veto.