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Wilmington leaders hope penny property tax hike will help with employee pay, public safety

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington City Council will meet tomorrow night to discuss the upcoming city budget.

The proposed budget includes a property tax increase and wage raises to get current employees closer to averages in similar cities.

City Council won't vote on the budget until the middle of June. Until then, though, they'll continue to hammer out specifics.

The city says it does not want to cut services, but it has to generate revenue somehow.

The proposed solution is a one-percent property tax hike, or about $20 on a $200,000 home. That extra money will go to things like public safety services and employee pay. With employees, specifically police and fire employees, making far less than cities comparable to the Port City, Wilmington spokeswoman Malissa Talbert says that is top of mind.

"It's not gonna fund everything, but it will help with the enhancements that we've talked about with the public safety and intervention a one-cent tax increase," Talbert said.

If approved the tax increase would go into effect this coming fiscal year.

There are several more steps until budget approval, including a public hearing on May 20 and a final work session May 30. A final vote is set for June 17.

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TAX INCREASE

A one-percent property tax hike, AND A ONE-CENT TAX INCREASE, ARE NOT THE SAME!
WHICH ONE IS IT?

Spending checklist

- White elephant Convention Center ...Check
- ROT and other funds to keep the darn thing afloat ... Check
- A gazillion tax dollars to build a stadium to house a very minor league baseball team for a baseball company that's not even around anymore ... Almost-Check (Thank goodness the voters at least said no to that one!)
- A third of a million dollars to fund a study and a report for crazy stadium project ... Check
- Sixty thousand, from a parking fund that didn't have sixty thousand, to fund local inept crony pseudo business groups to promote "downtown" ...check
- Several million to take unsalable land of local real estate crony off his hands to turn into an uptown "park" (or killing field, dependent on gang activity that day) ... check
- Several million for unusable parking deck that the Council keeps trading back and forth with itself ... Check
- An as yet undetermined amount still to be spent on unusable parking deck, as soon a Council can figure out how to blow it ... Check
- Hundreds of thousands for surveys and studies done by outside firms on everything except perhaps "how many angels can fit on the head of a pin" ... check
- Additional undetermined amounts for legal work done by outside legal council (including defending the City from the possibly illegal Convention Center Hotel land deal) while paid city legal staff twiddles its thumbs or takes a lunch break ... Check

And now Council says it has no money and needs to increase taxes to raise some more. Well, that certainly comes as a gigantic surprise to essentially no one.

When the going gets tough, real leaders get creative and find an intelligent way to squeeze more out of what they have. Wilmington's non-leaders, on the other hand, couldn't even think of intelligent ways to spend what they had, and now that it's gone there's not even one tenth of a creative idea on what to do now that can be attributed to this entire cabal of tax and spenders as a group, outside of raising taxes of course.

This is what happens when the voters let the inmates run the asylum.

let's not forget

the subsidies for the Wilmington Film Commission and WAVE. Both should be self sufficient on the basis of fees charged and membership fees.

The plan

That is how they currently plan on spending the money until one of them comes up with a pet project that needs 3 outside studies to see if a study is needed to study if funding is available to study if the population will study the funding feasibility of purchasing a white elephant.

A penny here...a penny there...

everywhere a penny. I agree the wages for LEO and Fire need to be increased...significantly. However, our "sterling" City Manager never proposes spending cuts. How about cutting the millions we pay to subsidize the "white elephant" known as the Convention Center. How about eliminating the numerous studies that are funded each year. Can't our highly-paid City staff conduct those studies?