Wilmington City Council Talks County Budget

May 27, 2017

The politics of budgeting for city and county government in the Cape Fear region may have some clashing priorities. 

The Wilmington City Council kicked off the holiday weekend with a budget work session Friday morning at City Hall.

It was midway through the meeting when the New Hanover County budget came up, and the commissioner’s decision to slice down non-profit funding. Several city council members were concerned about that.

“The county needs to accept its governmental responsibilities, and part of that is social service.”

That’s the city council’s Kevin O’Grady.

Council members focused on two examples. The county budget has a $45,000 cut to Wilmington Downtown Inc., and a reduction of $11,000 to the Good Shepherd Center.

“What I expressed was my disappointment in hearing that three members of the county commission, think so little of social service programs. It is a function of government. There is a homelessness problem in this county.”

The Wilmington city budget for the new fiscal year maintains its levels for public service agency appropriations.

“This .0004 percent of their budget, that didn’t lower their taxes. What it is going to do is cause more problems, because there will be more homelessness, more kids on the street. It’s very shortsighted.”

County Commissioner chairman Woody White says a lot of thought went into the county budget that’s on the table, and difficult cuts had to be made to meet budget goals. He said the cuts were across the board, in many areas.

Meanwhile, final approval of the city budget is slated for the June 20 meeting.