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Wilmington council continues budget talks, hires City Attorney

READ MORE: Wilmington council continues budget talks, hires City Attorney
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington City Council continues to work on its budget for the next fiscal year. Council held a budget workshop today the morning after a public hearing on the spending plan.

"I think they are doing a pretty good job, so I don't have any real complaints," Wilmington resident Cathy Shipton said.

The majority of the 2012-2013 recommended budget is directed toward public safety and infrastructure; topics leaders say are most important to citizens.

"If we pass this budget, our citizens should see asphalt going down before this year is out," Councilman Kevin O'Grady said.

The proposed budget includes a three-cent tax increase that would go toward maintenance and improvements of things like roads, sidewalks, city buildings and parks.

"The roads seem fine, but you have to keep maintaining everything, and it seems reasonable to me," said Kenneth Deutsche, who just moved to Wilmington.

"Nobody likes to pay taxes, but I just think they are doing the best they can do with the revenue that's coming in," Shipton said.

Mayor Bill Saffo said he wants taxpayers to know exactly where their money is going.

"I wanted to make certain that with any increase we make to the budget that that increase is specifically designated to those particular projects," Saffo said.

Leaders say roads are an issue that has needed to be addressed for years. Many residents say it is a much bigger issue than building a minor league ballpark, which is something that is not in the budget plan.

"I don't think you are going to see the ballpark in this year's budget right now for a number of reasons, one of them being the petition that's out there," O'Grady said.

A second and final vote on the budget is set for the June 19 City Council meeting.

Also today, Council named a City Attorney. Bill Wolak got the job after serving as interim city attorney after Carolyn Johnson left earlier this year.

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