City’s proposed budget to be unveiled Tuesday

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Wilmington Budget Director Lynn Heim will present Wilmington City Council with city staff’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Though the proposed budget won’t be made public until Tuesday’s presentation, City Council argued over points in the budget, including a proposed 4-cent tax increase that was recommended by city staff, at a workshop last month.

About 2 cents in that proposed increase–which account for the city’s streets and sidewalks bond approved by voters in November–are necessary in this next budget cycle, which begins July 1, council members agreed.

At issue is the remainder, needed, city staffers say, to account in part for a $2.3 million deficit resulting from the continued loss of revenue from the privilege license tax. Approved in 2014, and set to be enacted in July, is a repeal on municipalities’ ability to levy the tax, which is paid by businesses for the “privilege” of performing their services within a town.

“We need to look at reducing what we ask of our taxpayers,” council member Kevin O’Grady said, asking for a list of non-repeating expenditures that could be paid for out of fund balance. “We’ve got to pick everything out of the budget that can be taken out of fund balance…and pay for it and not ask taxpayers to pay for it.”

The impact of a 4-cent increase on a home of approximately $224,000 would amount to an additional $7.44 per month, or $89.44 annually.

No action is expected to be taken on the budget at Tuesday’s meeting. Council is expected to hold a public hearing on the spending plan on June 2 before adopting a finalized budget June 16.

Click here for Tuesday’s full agenda.