WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners approved the new 2017-2018 budget. The general fund approved at tonight’s meeting was $329.4 million.
Dozens of people attended the budget meeting. It was so packed they had to open the doors and set up more seats for everyone who came. The meeting went on for four hours.
Commissioners passed the budget by a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Rob Zapple voting against.
One of the biggest issues was funding for non-profit organizations in the community. Zapple recently held a meeting to discuss proposed county funding cuts many of those organizations faced. In the end, though, New Hanover County spokeswoman Ruth Smith said while some groups did see cuts, commissioners funded more non-profit groups than past years with more money that they have in the past.
Some organizations like Wilmington Residential Adolescent Achievement Place (WRAAP) will actually receive more funding under the new budget.
“It gives us an opportunity to continue providing quality after school services to families who are in need. But also, it gives us a chance to match those dollars and go after other funds to support our operation,” WRAAP Executive Director Daryl Dockery said.
Organizations like One Love Tennis rallied hard to appeal to the commissioners to get some of their funding back. Though it provided no result, One Love’s Lenny Simpson says he understands the decision.
“Listen, they have a job to do. It’s a tough job. It’s not easy correcting and taking care of budgets. So I would say to that One Love is still going to survive,” Simpson said.
Commissioner Woody White said their decision was necessary to regulate the budget and put money where it is needed.
“What we’re trying to do is bring more discipline back to it. But the story of this budget is that it lowers taxes for the first time in fourteen years and increases funding to education and public safety. The critical core mission that this county government serves its citizens,” White said.
After the meeting Zapple said he tried his best to help the other non-profits in the community. He said you just have to pick yourself back up and try harder the next day.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story included a headline that said the budget cut the majority of non-profit budgets and that the final vote for the budget was 3-2. That information was incorrect. We apologize for the error and any confusion.