Wilmington’s budget gets city council’s preliminary approval


WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council met tonight for a preliminary vote on the 2011-2012 budget and unanimously approved it.

With the city facing a fourth year of budget shortfalls, Wilmington City Council members say they are attempting to compensate as best they can.

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Some say, though it’s not perfect, with the limited funds available the proposed budget is about as good as its going to get.

“I like what they did with the budget,” said Jason Mizak, a Wilmington resident. “I feel with what they had to work with, it worked out well and they put the money into things they needed to put the money into.”

Though he’s satisfied, Mizak says there are a few things that should have been addressed in the proposed budget.

“I’m disappointed with the streets and side walks,” Mizak said. “Obviously, they are kind of a mess and they are not addressing it this year. At the same time, with what money we have and what funding we have, they did a good job of doing what was important.”

The city’s property tax rate of 37 cents per $100 will stay the same according to the proposal, and also does not call for any layoffs. However, an 8.5 percent storm water rate increase and a 15-40 cent a month increase for garbage collection fees will be included.

While Mizak is generally content with the proposed budget, he would like to see funding for the homeless population in Wilmington distributed a little wiser.

“There’s a huge homeless population here and there’s not that many funds to be addressing that but I feel like the funds they are giving are not used as well as they should be,” said Mizak.

The proposed budget also calls for an elimination of three programs: senior programming, community lending and funding for adult softball scorekeepers.

City Council is expected to take a second and final vote at their June 21 meeting.