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Small turnout for big budget hearing

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The City of Wilmington recommended a 3.75-cent property tax increase to help make up its $5.7 million deficit. The increase would cost the average homeowner about $6 more per month.

Tuesday City Council held a public hearing to let citizens voice their concerns but very few showed up to speak. Those who did speak represented agencies that will not receive the funding they requested because of the budget shortfall.

"For what we give this community, will you support having an art museum," said Cameron Art Museum Director Deborah Velders. "Because for 50 years it's been on the shoulders of you, me, private citizens, foundations, corporations, businesses. It's been on everyone's shoulders."

The Cameron Art Museum asked for $100,000 for its public programs, but in the proposed budget, Cameron won't receive any money. The city will hold its next budget workshop Monday at the Wilmington Police Department.

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Cameron Art Museum equals

private country club for rich people.

The Cameron's have made a fortune from their real estate holdings. If they want an art museum for this area, what's wrong with them financing it 100%!? What an insult to the residents of this area that this has been secretly funded through backdoor political shenanigans year-after-year. What could have been a great exercise in philanthropy for that family has now become their white elephant.

I agree! no money for the

I agree! no money for the art museum.
No money for the camerons for sure.

art mseum

I agree, not one-single-cent should be used for this purpose or any other non critical organization. Not in these present times, in fact maybe if we hadn't been alocating money for these types of organizations we may not have the shortage we currently have. - CC

One Question....

Were YOU there?

Hypocrite

Liberal government on the local, state and federal levels are running up deficits due to their incompetence and lack of concern for the welfare of their citizens. The stress of irresponsible government is starting to show it's cracks and the nation has not seen hard times yet ! People are disengaged with their local government which has a profound impact on their lives. You do not spend and tax a community or a nation to prosperity. Please wake up and let the revolution begin to destroy this repackaged socialist movement that is attacking us on the local , state , and federal levels.

One Question...

Were YOU there?

Reagonomics "trickle down" theory doesn't work!!!

Just look at the local situation: the richest family in New Hanover County has been getting $100,000 of PUBLIC funds to finance their private art museum! What more proof do you need? Rich people keep their money and steal it from the poor whenever possible!!

Wow

You are truly ignorant. You think the Cameron's are just pocketing the money? They donated the land and money to setup the art Museum...they don't still own it.

I think the Art Director is pocketing the money

She makes 130,000/year. Our yearly "donation" didn't ever cover all of her salary! Maybe they should hire someone who would just be happy to have the job instead of someone who has to live on the "country club" side of town on tax payer money!

taxes

I want to encourage the city council to look at other options regarding the proposed property tax increase. We are all in the same situation, except here within the last several months realizing that we don’t have enough money to pay debts we citizens don’t go to our employers and increase our pay. They would smile and say sorry, now is not the time. Well NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR THIS!
The city needs to find funds by maybe selling items (not parks) online like all of us.
Absolutely do not fund one single organization except critical city services-Police, Fire, Streets THAT’S IT.
We’re all cutting back what we spend and the city needs to do the same. Get rid of employees making over 60,000 a year. Yes that’s a bummer for them but if they want to get rich then they should go work in the private industry. Let’s start with the city manager, replace him with someone requiring less pay. Stop the silly spending such as paying a firm 100,000 dollars to find a police chief or 168,000 to draw up plans for a fire dept. This has got me so steamed, I wish I was wealthy enough to be able to run and participate for a seat on city council but, like most of us I have to work every day. In closing once again I urge city council to look for other options, be creative don’t be like every other government and say hey not enough money, oh well raise taxes. And remember that we city residents are paying county taxes also so it’s like a double whammy!
Worried about or future-Charlie Cribb

Hippocrite

Sorry Charlie,

To say the city should only fund critical items and in the same breathe say "but not parks" is just hippocritical. What you mean to say is only fund the items that are important to you. Tough times call for tough decisions and doing something like selling Airlie Gardens to be developed would be a great idea to raise money. Plus, if you think someone making 60k a year is getting rich, then you are sadly mistaken. You aren't going to find a decent employee when you are paying crap. Let's take a city manager for instance...you honestly expect someone who deals with that much stress and various issues to work for under 60k/year?

Firefighters, police, EMT workers make ~30-40K/year

in Wilmington. They put their LIVES on the line every day. Is that enough stress?

And I do believe that the County commisioners picked hot button items to broadcast their plans to cut because they WANT MORE MONEY. There are other items that could and SHOULD be cut but they won't even mention them as being on the chopping block. After the ridiculous salaries of those ABC workers, who knows what else we might find if more rocks are uncovered. NC government at all levels needs a top-to-bottom, independent audit.

Please comprhend what you

Please comprhend what you are reading, I said sell items -but not parks.

I belive the city should keep the parks, but not dump alot of money into them at this time (such as at Empie park). Belive it or not I DO think Parks are a critacal part of our city. Airlie is a county park so that has nothing to do with the city.
of course you can not find a decent employee with crap pay, thats why I left the city years ago.
I assure you the city manager is getting much more than 60K, but apparently can not do his job. Why can't he screen persons for police or fire chief instaed of paying an outside agency.
You obvisouly have connections with the city or some of its top paid employees. Oh i would glady do his job for 60K.

Yeah, Maj... I agree in part

Yeah, Maj... I agree in part with you, but is a city manager for Wilmington REALLY worth $170K plus per year?? Here's the article source for this should you care to check: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20090704/ARTICLES/907029963

Let's do some math for the fun of it!

Let's assume two weeks paid vacation equating to 10 business days and 10 days for paid holidays... 20 business days equating to 4 weeks of paid non-attendance at work. Subtracting from a 52 week year, we get a 48 week working year from the city manager.

Giving the benefit of the doubt, let's give the city manager credit for working 80 hours a week. 80hours per week times 48 weeks worked is 3,840 hours.

Dividing $170000 by 3840 gives a rate of $44.28 per hour... not bad for government work.

What about all the other "administrators" and "supervisors" on the municipal payroll? What are they doing to earn a living??

Here's another link which describes the earnings range of a city manager at a range of $59.6 - 122 thousand dollars. http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=City_Manager/Salary

Citizens won't waste their time....

...listening to a bunch of side-lipped, mumbling with vocal mumbo-jumbo rhetoric from the council members. It is completely obvious that the City of Wilmington will do what THEY want to do regardless of what the PEOPLE have to say, so why waste the time and effort? Just go to the beach, enjoy yourself and think about something positive.

Just don't forget to vote! At least exercise that one pitiful remnant of power. If any of you ever vote FOR bonds and FOR tax increases because of the threats of cuts to education and elderly services, you should have that brain tumor removed!

It is obvious that the city, county and state do not carry the best interest of the people, only the best interest of themselves. Such a shame that likely causes our forefathers to roll over in their graves. This just isn't the way things were intended to happen....

Does anyone want to venture a guess as to how long it will take before the city council raises the tax rate AGAIN to pay for the convention center? 2 YEARS...3 YEARS?

If the city can't even pay for the bonds the people voted for in an effort to assist CFCC, how is it even possible for them to monetarily support the convention center? I consider it an IMPOSSIBLE task for them based on their track record.

You know it's coming, so get your checkbooks out and your inkpens warmed up, BUT...whatever you do...BE SURE TO VOTE THE CRONIES OUT! Show up at the polls and vote!

Haven't you had just about enough???

Had Enough

I have had enough (actually did a long time ago) but the spendthrift mayor, city council and county commissioners that are responsible for the current budget problems keep getting elected. Perhaps many people are still being fooled by their spin such as in a recent city council meeting where Sterling Cheatham claimed that the city had not raised taxes since 2001. Maybe not in his eyes but as a result of the recent property re-evaluation most all of us were subjected to a substantial tax increase.

I think that it time that we do more than just vote but educate those who do not and those who vote for these people. We citizens have to live within our means. It is about time our local, state and federal governments do the same.