State and city leaders meet, discuss revenue issues
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington city leaders say they need money, and they’re losing ways of generating revenue. That was the hot topic of discussion this morning with state legislators.
City leaders said with the business license tax now gone, they don’t have what they need to generate revenue for the city.
“They helped us make our budget, they keep police on the street, firemen on the truck, pavement on the roads, and now we have to find a way to do that and the only option we have is property tax,” Councilman Kevin O’Grady said.
“We just need a bunch of ways to make revenue, to keep our city a good city and provide the things our citizens need,” Councilwoman Laura Padgett said.
State officials said they want to be able to help.
“We have to give our local governments the tools to work with in order to maintain the existing level of service not considering a population growth,” Rep. Susi Hamilton said.
But city leaders said it’s not just about raising money, it’s also about keeping jobs in the area. The biggest example – the demise of the North Carolina Film Tax Credit program. State leaders agree.
“We need to do whatever it takes to get it passed, whatever it takes to stay here also to entice the industry to entice the industry to come here be because we are getting killed,” Rep. Ted Davis said.
“They will be moving where their film incentives are and that’s huge,” Padgett said. “We’re kicking out 4,000 jobs.”
Another tax program at the top of city leaders’ priority list: historic preservation. They said they don’t have the necessary funding to keep up some of the historic architecture. State leaders say the issues of historic preservation and the film industry should be brought up at the state level this coming legislative session next week.
“None of this is a surprise,” Hamilton said. “It’s just a new session, so it’s a new culture of people and it’ll just be very interesting to see how some of this gets hashed out.”