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Wilmington City Council members push for economic and health disparity study

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Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
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Wilmington City Council members are pushing to see more data about economic and health disparities in the city.

A resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Rysheema Dixon urges city government to conduct a study of any disparities related to its economic development policies and programs by the end of the year. The disparity study would also cover healthcare access, an addition Dixon says was precipitated by the pandemic. 

Dixon says the goal is to inform equitable policies. 

“The one [thing] we want to make sure doesn't happen, is this study just goes on a shelf,” she said. 

 

The resolution goes before Council for a vote Thursday.

Dixon points to recommendations from the National League of Cities. A 2015 report from that organization says “some of the most promising city efforts to reduce health disparities focus on data-driven planning and implementation.”

The version of the resolution that went through committee last week did not have a fiscal note — but Dixon estimates a disparity study could cost the City $500,000—especially if it requires a new position to implement. 

The money would need to be included in the upcoming budget, but Dixon says she’s still working with her colleagues on council to determine a feasible amount.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.