Mayor Mike Purzycki delivered his inaugural budget address and presented his proposed Fiscal Year 2018 General Operating Budget and the Water/Sewer Fund Budget before a meeting of Wilmington City Council on Thursday, March 16, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.
The FY2018 Operating Budget was approved by Wilmington City Council on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
Watch Mayor Purzycki present his FY2018 State of the City.
Some of the elements of the FY2018 Operating Budget approved by City Council:
- It eliminates a $2 million projected budget deficit for next fiscal year (FY 2018) and helps to mitigate, but does not eliminate, large budget deficits for Fiscal Years 2019, 2020 and 2021
- It allows the City to endure a projected decrease of $920,000 in the City wage tax next year, a projected increase of $701,000 in overtime costs for police and fire, and a projected $1.2 million increase in employee and retiree health care benefits
- It reduces the size of government by eliminating 29 vacant positions for an annual savings of $2.5 million
- It requires a 7.5% property tax increase to balance the budget. For a property with an assessed value of $50,000, the annual property tax will increase by $70 a year, and the tax on a property assessed at $100,000 would increase by $140 a year, or $11.67 a month.
- It reduces the projected FY 2018 budget surplus to $2.7 million versus the $3.4 surplus projected in the Mayor’s original budget
- It provides $386,000 for a 14-week complete fire training class (93rd Fire Academy) for the purpose of hiring additional firefighters and for the payment of overtime to firefighters during the training period
- It provides $30,000 to allow the Fire Department to re-institute a Fire Explorers Program which educates young City residents about firefighting so they develop interest in becoming firefighters
- It provides $70,000 in additional safety equipment for City firefighters—equipment which is not eligible to be purchased through the City’s Capital Lease Program
- It provides $22,500 to support a Safe Haven summer youth activity center in the City’s 6th District, which is the only Council district without such a facility. The City’s Safe Haven locations are being coordinated this year with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Community Advisory Council, which is implementing the CDC recommendations to reduce youth violence.
- It provides $35,000 to supplement the City’s existing $45,000 budget for a Live Where You Work Program, which incentivizes citizens to purchase a home in Wilmington
- It authorizes $125,000 so the City can develop a required citywide program to bring Wilmington into compliance with requirements of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- It authorizes $61,600 requested by Treasurer Velda Jones Potter for a debt management software program, to increase her consultant or contracted services budget allowance for FY 2018, and for travel and community activities
- It appropriates $69,000 to repay the federal government part of a 2008 Department of Justice grant the City received to upgrade communications equipment for the Police Department; an audit penalized the City for not following accounting procedures when, in order to leverage the funding, city grant money was given to the state which was also in the process of upgrading its police communications equipment
- It provides $5,800 to supplement the state-funded salary of the City’s Historic Preservation Planner
New Initiatives Outlined in Mayor Purzycki's Budget Address
- New policing leadership and strategies to target and mitigate violent crime, and place more officers on the street. The Mayor said the goal is stop the loss of life, the disruption of families, the deterioration of neighborhoods where crime is prevalent or could spread, and the deterioration of our City’s image.
- Targeted neighborhood initiatives to reduce blight and crime, rehabilitate properties to create living spaces for owners and renters, and demolish properties that cannot be salvaged. Our first targeted area to be announced soon will pilot a new approach to restoring neighborhoods by deploying Police, L&I, Public Works, Law and other departments as a coordinated unit to focus on specific problems in neighborhoods and to produce more rapid results.
- Data-driven analytics throughout all City departments to measure the performance of our programs, services, and people. We will hold our managers accountable and be able to determine future budgeting, service and programming needs in a more systematic and sensible process.
- A 311 Citywide Call Center for the coordinated receipt of citizen inquires and service requests and the resolution of those issues in a timely fashion. The data collected through the call center will help support the use of data-analytics throughout the government.
- Refurbishing our City parks including Eden Park, Father Tucker Park and the iconic centerpiece of our City—Rodney Square—which has for decades not being treated with the dignity and care that it should be afforded.
- Reduce trash and debris on neighborhood streets and along our City’s gateways where thousands of city residents and non-residents travel into and out of Wilmington each day. The Mayor said we are leaving a bad impression by allowing trash strewn streets to go unchecked, as though we don’t care. We do care, and we are going to act so that our gateways become cleaner and more inviting.