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Purzycki wants Wilmington grant spending put under microscope

After backlash from residents, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki says he wants the City to rein in discretionary spending.

In a statement, Purzycki said the way the city distributes grant funding to outside groups is “rife with risk.”

"We should never give the public a reason to think their representatives are not spending their money wisely. And even though we have far greater issues as a City that cost multiple-millions of dollars each year, any matter that weakens the public’s trust needs our immediate attention. That is why I am reviewing whether the full scope of grant funding by City government is appropriate," Purzycki said.

The comments likely come in response to News Journal reports highlighting a $40,000 payment by City Council President Hanifa Shabazz to a nonprofit run by former City Council President Theo Gregory.

Stopping short of putting a new policy in place, Purzycki said he is close to introducing new guidelines for groups and events to apply for funding, including posting that information on the City’s website. 

He adds that many groups will continue to receive future City grant funding. "Organizations like Wilmington Hope Commission, Boy Scouts, August Quarterly, Jefferson Awards or Friends of Wilmington Parks also promote a public purpose and will continue to receive public support."

In the coming weeks, Purzycki will announce how the City will organize and reduce its grant funding.