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Property tax to stay flat in Wilmington budget plan

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –- Wilmington residents should expect not to pay more in property taxes next year. At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, leaders discussed Wilmington's recommended budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

After three work sessions for budget development, the total budget for the Port City amounts to $141 million for 2013-2014.

Highlights of the plan include a two-percent pay increase for city employees, no increase in property tax and continued funding for the 5-year infrastructure improvement plan.

The next step for approving the budget will be a public hearing on May 21.

Here are some more highlights from the city:

· No property tax increase

· Core services maintained

· 2 percent pay raise for employees; additional 1.5 precent pool to be used for performance-based merit pay for eligible employees

· Strong savings (fund balance) for emergencies of about $25 million

· Continued funding for 5-year infrastructure improvement plan
o 5¢ of the overall 45¢ property tax rate funds a five-year plan to make $41 million worth of repairs and improvements – such as street repaving and work on public facilities such as the Riverwalk – that had been put on hold during the economic downturn.

· Continued public safety investment, including funding a full year's funding for the WPD's new Mobile Field Force as well as the purchase of a new ladder fire truck

Proposed fee increases
Golf: $1 per nine holes
Stormwater: 6 percent (Equals 34¢ a month for average homeowner)

Next steps
•May 21: Public hearing (as part of regularly scheduled City Council meeting)
•May 24: City Council budget work session
•June 4: 1st vote of budget
•June 18: 2nd and final vote of budget

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