WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Councilwoman Laura Padgett’s spending habits are making headlines again.
Padgett overspent on her travel budget for the fiscal year that just ended. She’s the only council member to do so, and it’s not the first time.
“The basic amount is not enough,” Padgett said.
The basic amount for each city council member is $2,750, which was raised in 2011 after Padgett went over budget.
“You’re not going to get to a trip anywhere out of the state for less than $1,200-1,500 hundred,” Padgett said.
Some council members view the issue differently.
“I feel like each council member should prioritize their budget and live within that budget just like all our other departments do,” Councilman Neil Anderson said.
Padgett says the price of travel plays a major role in using up the money, but why have no other council members exceeded their allotment?
“I can’t answer that for everybody,” she said. “I think some feel they really should not spend the city’s money.”
But Padgett says all the council members should be spending more money.
“I would love for it to turn out that everybody had used up their money learning and representing the city,” Padgett said.
She says the conferences provide a wealth of knowledge, but Anderson has not seen evidence of that
“I guess I just can’t comment on how good these conferences or these different things that she goes to, ’cause I don’t really have a feel for what was covered or what she garnered out of them,” Anderson said.
Anderson does not believe Padgett is wasting the money, but wishes she and all other council members would make a presentation of what they learned at conferences.
Council has asked the city manager to reevaluate their travel policies. They hope to look at possible changes next month.