Citizens’ survey results, public hearing on budget on City Council’s agenda is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Wilmington City Hall. File photo.
Wilmington City Hall. File photo.

Wilmington City Council will hold a public hearing on the city’s proposed $144 million budget on Tuesday.

Set for 6:30 p.m. at Wilmington City Hall, 102 N. Third St., residents can speak out on the proposed budget, which includes a proposed 2.5 cent tax increase. The increase would bring the city tax rate to 48.5 cents per $100 of assessed property. For the average homeowner in Wilmington–with a home valued at $165,000–that would mean an increase of $3.51 per month or $42.13 per year.

“Top budget priorities this year include infrastructure funding and public safety,” Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham previously said. “The recommended budget includes a property tax increase that has 2 cents to help fund $55 million in transportation bond projects approved by voters last year, as well as another ½ cent to help offset cuts made by the N.C. General Assembly last year that eliminated $2.3 million in privilege license fees paid by businesses.”

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.

Budget items highlighted by Cheatham include the continued funding for the city’s five-year infrastructure improvement plan, support for the 2014 transportation bond projects, eight additional Wilmington Police Department detectives for more timely case management, continued funding for youth violence prevention and police community engagement and maintaining a strong savings account.

There were also several fee changes proposed in the budget, including an average 10-percent increase in rates at the city’s golf courses, a 40-cent increase for stormwater fees, a $25 activation fee for new solid waste customers and “assorted change” for parking at the convention center parking deck downtown.

City Council will receive the results of a citizen survey, in which residents ranked various city departments, services and facilities.

Council will also consider a resolution for a $1.4 million contract to pave Greenville Loop Road as part of the city’s five-year infrastructure improvement plan. Since July 2013, the city has completed more than 39 lane miles of street improvements and this project would an additional seven lane miles, according to City Spokeswoman Malissa Talbert.  The project is scheduled to begin in mid-July and is expected to be complete by the end of September.

Click here for the full agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.