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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.