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City Council considers cyber security, emergency preparedness, affordable housing for budget boost in 2022

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Wilmington’s budget for next year amounts to $241 million dollars, half of which is pulled from taxes.

Public safety gets the lion’s share, with over a quarter of the budget. Some other highlights include
investments in a diversity program, cyber security, and a lot more money for affordable housing and prep the transit bond.

With the new tax rate, most homeowners are likely to see a bit of an increase, but not much. The median home in Wilmington will still see annual taxes totaling under $1,000. Budget Director Laura Mortell said that for the median home, “The FY 22 budget impact would be $3 a month, or $36 a year.”

The hot topics discussed recently by the city and county both are getting a boost: the city’s investing $1.6 million for affordable housing, about double last year’s spending. And the city will put nearly half a million dollars into accelerating the transportation bond project. That money will largely go towards hiring staff to manage that project and get it rolling.

The city is also putting nearly $2 million into building resilience during emergencies. That money will include purchasing generators to keep traffic lights going during power outages.

The city also has a pool of about $11 million dollars that hasn’t been designated. Mortell suggested using $3.5 million for sidewalks and streets, another $3.5 million for the rail realignment program, and another $3.5 million could be assigned for an “affordable housing placeholder.” She said that money could be held until further discussions with the county determine a path for the money.

There will be a public hearing on the FY21-22 recommended budget on May 18, with adoption set for June.

Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant new to the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.