There is no property tax increase in Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki’s 2020 budget proposal.
But the plan he presented to City Council Thursday seeks a 3.8 percent water/sewer/stormwater rate increase for city customers.
County residents would not see a rate increase.
Purzycki’s budget totals close to $250 million— with nearly $170 million in general fund expenditures and about $80 million in water/sewer spending.
Purzycki says his priorities are increasing public safety, strengthening economic development and creating a more attractive city. “We will announce soon the reintroduction of our Beautiful City initiative,” he said. “We have allocated over $500,000 in this budget to, in part, engage neighborhood organizations to keep our city clean.”
Purzycki said the sewer rate increase would support the city’s ongoing combined sewer overflow mitigation effort and improvements to water filtration and supply systems, which exceed EPA standards.
City employees would see a cost-of-living salary bump under the mayor’s budget. It would also create several new jobs, including three in the police department.
Purzycki predicts his 2020 budget would leave a surplus of more than $8.5 million. He adds that barring unexpected costs, he does not anticipate a property tax increase in 2021 either.
Purzycki also reflected on his first two years in office, touting development projects, investments in parks and an improvement in crime statistics within the city. He said that challenges remain, but the “state of the city is vastly improved and getting better every day.”
He also called for unity. “If we wallow in the world of petty grievances and fight over political scraps and crumbs, we lose – our citizens lose, the city loses,” he said.
City Councilwoman Michelle Harlee says she feels optimistic about where the city is headed. “I’m just hoping that this momentum and this energy continues,” she said. “I’m very excited to know that we’re not going to have a tax increase.”
City Council will hold public hearings on the Mayor’s proposed budget next month. Council is expected to vote on a new budget in mid-May.