The City Council approved the 2011-12 budget at their June 21 meeting. The budget for reduced spending in the face of a continued economic downtown, but does not call for a property tax increase or layoffs. The new budget year takes effect July 1.
The city is facing a fourth year of budget shortfalls, but core services are maintained in the $85 million General Fund budget. However, construction and maintenance costs are reduced to a bare minimum again this year and six more positions have been eliminated. While no furloughs or pay cuts are included in the budget, benefit cuts for staff will remain in effect.
The city’s property tax rate is 37 cents per $100 and will not change. Wilmington’s tax rate is the second lowest of all large cities in North Carolina. There are two rate increases in the budget, including an 8.5 percent stormwater rate increase, which equals 45 cents a month for the average homeowner (from $5.30 to $5.75 per month). There is also an increase in garbage collection fees to offset a rate hike at the county landfill. Customers with larger garbage cans will see a 40-cent a month increase and small cans will see a 15-cent a month increase, amounting to an annual increase of $4.80 and $1.80 respectively.
The budget reinstates a few items that have been deferred over the last two years, including the replacement of a limited number of police cars. The city’s savings account, called a fund balance, has been maintained at a healthy level. However, the budget eliminates three programs – senior programming, community lending and funding for adult softball scorekeepers.
View the budget.