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Wilmington leaders continue budget discussion

READ MORE: Wilmington leaders continue budget discussion
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Time is ticking for Wilmington City Council members to figure out how they're going to make up a nearly $6 million budget shortfall. Council members met today at Wilmington Police headquarters to talk about the recommended plan.

The city manager recommends a 3.75-cent property tax increase to help offset the $5.7 million deficit.Based on the discussions at today's meeting, it sounds like city council members are leaning toward the recommended increase. Right now, along with the recommended increase, the city manager has proposed reducing construction and maintenance costs and eliminating another 18 positions. City employees will not receive any pay raises and their health insurance costs will increase.

Mayor Bill Saffo says if the city continues making cuts, it's going to start cutting into the bone, which is public safety. City council member Laura Padgett suggested approving the increase and revisiting the budget in six months instead of 12.

"I know that the sales tax revenue at the state level is beginning to come up," Padgett said. "I think people can actually go to the mall and see people with bags in their hands, and that indicates that the consumer is beginning to buy again, so I'm a little optimistic that in six months or so we may have some better numbers."

Council members hope leftover federal stimulus money will bleed over into next year and trickle down to the state and city level. Council members also talked about the parks bond voters approved in 2006.

It can only be used for parks and recreation spending.

Laura Padgett suggested using the money to build a competitive swimming pool, open to the public.

Council members also plan to discuss payment plans for sweepstakes cafe owners at their meeting the second week of June, when the 90-day moratorium on sweepstakes cafes expires.

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Ideas for park bond money

How about we use that park bond money to install stocks and dunking booths in parks around town. Then city residents vote for which council member can be put in the stocks for a day or get dunked. I vote for all of the above.

I suggest council look at these weird ideas

Seriously? I think I may have voted in some incompetent politicians.
Here some ideas:
Scratch the entire WPD sable program, at least moth-ball it.
Scratch the WPD horse program -I mean It is 2010 after all. Is the FD using horses? NO
Sure we could sell a couple fire fighting apparatus BUT remember that the city has about 10 extra firefighters on duty each day than what we had in the 1950's. If you compare that to our growth and size it is unacceptable!
How about the golf course? SELL IT!! what percentage of city residents actually golf? It doesn't matter If i do-what percentage of residents do?
Lastly some city salaries are out of control such as the city manager and some heads of certain depts. I don't see the city council making the drastic changes that are needed. I see them wanting to balance the budget (which i appreciate) by increasing the citys income. Where are the real cuts???
Sure cutting back is going to be bad for some maybe me, but I think council needs to put themselves in the majority of our shoes, making less than 50K a year. If they are going to increase property taxes then they should make other cost-cutting changes as well. I think I'm getting sick to my stomach, because I'm sure none of the cuts I have mentioned will be made or even considered.
One final solution- combine the fire dept and waste industries. combo trucks could empty trash and fight fire. Of course the salaries of firefights will need to be substantially raised. Isn't that a weird idea? Its ideas like that that are going to get us out of this mess - I suggest council look at these weird ideas instead of (like everyone else) raising taxes.
CC

Raise the tax more

Why not just go ahead and raise the tax .07 and cover the entire deficit?

I have a solution

Why not hold off on building that 2 1/2 million dollar boardwalk along the river for the white elephant convention center.

It amazes me how government continues to grow and taxes rise when people are hurting finacially. Federal, state and local governments are putting the screws to us at every turn and looking for more and more ways to do it every day. They use scare tactics to make you believe its needed just like they did with the vote on the sales tax increase. They are well healed and could care less about the little guy.

Congratulations to those who voted these bums into office and voted for the sales tax increase. I've got some prime property on the Gulf Coast I'd like to sell ya. It comes with free gas, you just have to refine it first.

taxes

I totally agree with POed! I did not vote for any tax increases because I knew they were lying about not going up on property taxes. They always put the screws to home owners, tax increase, water increase, sewer increase and anything else they can get money for. Then they build things we can surely do without during these hard times. Why don't they take decreases in pay. That is what we do when we do not have the money to run our company.

paycut

bill saffo should get his pay cut not state employees and we as wilmington said no to the park bond and lets waste money and have another pool to drain our money. We the people speak and fall on deaf ears and these people are liars they all need to go we need people who listen.