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Wilmington City Council votes to spend $60,000 from downtown parking fund for marketing

READ MORE: Wilmington City Council votes to spend $60,000 from downtown parking fund for marketing
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington City Council unanimously approved the use of parking money to fund a downtown marketing task force. The city will spend $60,000, $30,000 of which will come out of this fiscal year's budget. The other $30,000 will come out of next fiscal year's budget in two phases.

However, the parking fund deficit is projected at half a million dollars this year. While the city voted in April not to extend the hours on downtown parking meters, it did vote to to change the 90 minute grace period of the parking decks on 2nd Street and Market Street to 60 minutes. It also changed the deck fee for festival and event parking from $5 to $7.

The marketing task force includes members from Wilmington Downtown Inc. (WDI) and the Downtown Business Alliance (DBA).

President of the DBA, Jim Bitto, says the request is a win-win for the parking fund and the marketing task force.

"You can either solve the problem of the parking deficit by trying to cut back on expenses or get more people to come downtown and park in the decks and generate more revenue, so what we thought would be a good idea is to operate on the revenue side and that's why we took on this project," Bitto says.

City manager Sterling Cheatham says the parking fund already has $30,000 set aside for advertising and will easily make up for its deficit.

“Well you've got to do whatever is necessary to operate an effective program and again the parking fund has been recovering handsomely,” Cheatham says. “In fact, the proceeds are exceeding our other enterprise activities right now in terms of the growth rate in the revenue. So we think that over the next year, year and a half you'll see a balanced parking fund.”

The groups have already spent several months organizing a marketing campaign for downtown, and will use the slogan Bring It! Downtown.

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Unidentified Guest

you clearly show a need to re-educate.

A deficit occurs when you have fewer dollars coming in than you will spend, are obligated to spend, or will need to spend.

Last fiscal year, there was an $800,000 deficit. If you did not understand the prior paragraph, that means they spent $800,000 more than came in from revenue -- your term not mine.

This fiscal year, they project a $500,000 deficit. While that's a step in the right direction -- as in reducing deficits -- it's still a deficit. Again see paragraph 2 if you are still confused.

Even that noted Democrat, Harry Truman, knew that you could not spend more than you take in. That was a hallmark of his early political career; and continued with him in the Senate and the White House.

You can throw all the white wash out you want to. If it looks like a skunk; if it acts like a skunk; and if it smells like a skunk, it's still a skunk.

What you fail to address is why so many avoid downtown at night and on week-ends.

Crime and disorderly crowds exiting bars.

Street entertainers who stagger around and panhandle.

Even that vaunted head of WDI proposed some kind of volunteer citizen patrol to roam the streets. I think many were guffawing at the thought of silver haired citizens roaming the streets and confronting whatever street vendor or bar patron they encountered.

Or perhaps the thought of the Mayor and his hairstylist roaming the streets with a camera crew from WWAY.

You can advertise all you want. It will not work. Until, you address the other downtown issues including the quality of roads which tear up vehicle under carriages, drug sales and gang thugs, and disorderly crowds.

But then I guess you have to do soemthing to justify your group and your position within the group. Are you the WDI EX VP by chance?

By the way, where did you acquire your knowledge of math and economics? The Haney College of Hooterville?

cash?

Did you pay cash for your house? i suppose the city finances the parking decks.

As a matter of fact

yes I did.

SC Tom

Read pg 46.
Revenues from parking FINES to increase from $450,000 to $660,000 or an increase of $210,000 or about 46%

Its gonna take a lot more than $60K of advertising to overcome the hard feelings those extra parking tickets will cause.

Best Regards
Vog