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City Council Weighs Whether to Tax or Cut Services

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By Laurin Penland

Wilmington, NC – The city of Wilmington faces a seven million dollar budget shortfall. The City can either cut services and jobs or raise taxes. At Monday's budget meeting, they'll get closer to making the difficult decision.

City Manager Sterling Cheatham will present city council with budget scenarios that include three, five, and ten percent cuts.

Mayor Saffo says he hasn't made up his mind yet on whether to increase taxes, and he says if the city cuts services, police and fire will be the last to get slashed.

"It's very challenging. You know a city's got to have a certain amount of economic growth, so we can sustain the services that we want. And we really haven't had any since '06."

Saffo says, on the one hand, he hates to increase taxes in the middle of a recession, but, on the other hand, he says it's important to keep services that make Wilmington a nice place to live.

Saffo says he hopes the council will make a decision by mid-April.

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