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Wilmington City Council votes to spend money on baseball negotiations


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington City Council considered a wide range of topics at its meeting Tuesday night, but one stands out.

Wilmington is one step closer to a new ballpark. City Council voted to spend more than $120,000 to begin negotiations and find out exactly what it will take to play ball in Wilmington.

Some people thought a possible property tax increase could affect the council's vote. Councilman Charlie Rivenbark disagrees.

"It doesn't affect mine," Rivenbark said. "In order to have a revenue neutral tax rate with the shrink of property values, there would have to be some sort of a tax increase, and what we're having our staff do now is and what we approved the money for tonight for is to go into negotiations and find out what that number would be."

The city voted unanimously to pursue baseball negations and fund the exploration for this year.

Also at the meeting, the mayor congratulated Wilmington's Arson Task Force for receiving the 2011 Investigative Team of the Year award.

Police Chief Ralph Evangelous presented a display on Shot Spotter, which an acoustic technology that actually hears and identifies the location of gun shots.

Wilmington Downtown Inc. asked for an amendment to restrict the area where hotels can be built in the city.

"WDI, Dave Spetrino and John Hinnant, they brought that forward knowing that it wasn't going to gain a lot of traction, but it did create some conversation," Rivenbark said. "There are parts of it that I agree with, but you can't restrict hotels just to the Central Business District. It just wouldn't work."

The hotel restriction failed as all council members thought it was not in the interest of the city.

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