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Wilmington City Council approves its FY2024 budgets

Wilmington City Council approves operating, water, and sewer budgets for the 2024 fiscal year.

The nearly $183 ($182.6) million operating budget is a 3.3% increase from last year, but there is no property tax increase.

Finance and Economic Development Committee Chair Chris Johnson says the water and sewer budget is up $2.9 million, but is an investment in clean water.

“I get it, it pains everyone to have to do that increase, but guess what? We can’t play politics," Johnson says. "We have to invest in our clean water. We don’t want a Jackson, Mississippi, we don’t want a Flint, so I get it, affordability is a problem, but energy prices in America are a problem.”

Water and sewer rates will increase by 5.7% and the stormwater rates will increase by 6%, but $250,000 has been set aside to help low-income residents pay their bills.

Johnson says he’s happy with where the budget’s priorities landed.

“A lot of the Mayor’s budget, giving the administration credit, it was okay," Johnson says. "But it didn’t have the investment in the community we needed. So what we did is these past two months, we really sat with the administration and focused on where our priorities are. And our priorities are our neighborhoods and our people.”

Johnson says the budget includes a $1 million infusion into the Office of Economic Development fund – with nearly one-third reserved for women and minorities.

The Neighborhood Stabilization fund will receive $4 million. Johnson says this is the first investment of this size. He adds the fund is not restricted by the Housing and Urban Development Department, so they will have the flexibility to use the money for emergency repairs, seniors aging in place, and downpayment assistance.

Mayor Mike Purzycki originally proposed parking fee revisions, a $1 ticket tax on all events in the City, a hotel tax increase from 2% to 3%, and an overall increase in fees – none of which made the final budget.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.