Thursday, May 18, 2023
Wilmington City Council Passes the City’s FY2024 Budget
The approved budget includes a 5.7% Water Sewer rate increase and a 6% increase in stormwater rates for City residents, but no Property Tax increase.
Wilmington, DE – Mayor Mike Purzycki presented the Proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget to Council on March 16, 2023, which included a 5.7% increase in Water Sewer rates along with a 6% increase in stormwater rates. There is no Property Tax increase. On Thursday, May 18, 2023, Wilmington City Council gave final approval to the City’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) General Fund 2024 budget. Council voted 9 -Yeas, 3 -Nays, and 1 -Present to adopt Sub. #1 to Ordinance #23-012.
OPERATING BUDGET VOTES
City Council President Trippi Congo – No
1st District Council Member Vincent M. White – Yes
2nd District Council Member Shané Darby – No
3rd District Council Member Zanthia Oliver – Present
4th District Council Member Michelle Harlee – Yes
5th District Council Member Bregetta Fields – Yes
6th District Council Member Yolanda McCoy – Yes
7th District Council Member Chris Johnson – Yes
8th District Council Member Nathan Field – Yes
At-Large Council Member Maria D. Cabrera – Yes
At-Large Council Member Albert “Al” Mills – Yes
At-Large Council Member James Spadola – No
At-Large Council Member Latisha Bracy – Yes
Council held public budget hearings for all City departments during the month of April, during which Council scrutinized all budgetary requests. The FY2024 Approved General Fund Budget total $182,623,700, which is up $5.7M over the prior year’s budget. To ensure adequate funding to address the City’s aging water sewer system infrastructure and operating cost, this budget also includes a Water Sewer Fund Operating Budget total of $84,543,234, up $2,398,777 over the prior year’s budget, which equates to an additional $3.70 per monthly increase to residents’ water bill based upon 4,000 gallons usage.
The budgetary priorities for Council are inclusive of the Council’s Strategic Plan, such as a Safe and Secure Wilmington, a Prosperous and Sustainable Wilmington, and a Stabilized Wilmington.
“The neighborhood stabilization fund will be an unprecedented direct infusion to help out our most vulnerable residents in our hardest hit neighborhoods,” said Finance and Economic Development Committee Chairman Chris Johnson, of the 7th District. “$2M in groundbreaking neighborhood stabilization fund will help fund long-term fixes in the city that includes assisting homeowners with repairs, facade programs, down payment assistance, and a whole host of other direct infusions.”
Understanding the impact that COVID has had on our local community and realizing our most vulnerable residents, Council ensured there is adequate funding to address Neighborhood Stabilization for some of the following: Seniors Aging in Place, Facade Repairs, Home Repairs, Down Payment Assistance Program, and Citywide Beautification. $4M has been allocated to the newly created Neighborhood Stabilization Fund from the Tax Stabilization Fund, for which a minimum of $2M is for the aforementioned, as a result of Council.
“I am thrilled that our fiscal budget has passed. Both branches of government engaged in robust negotiations that resulted in a win-win situation for the community, businesses, and all stakeholders,” said Finance and Economic Development Committee Vice Chair Michelle Harlee, of the 4th District. “This budget is a testament to our commitment to responsible financial management and our dedication to serving the needs of our community and stakeholders. I am proud to say that this budget includes significant investments in key areas. The one that is dear to my heart is Neighborhood Stabilization. This investment will help to improve the quality of life for all members of our community and ensure that we continue to thrive and grow. I want to thank our Finance Committee for their input and feedback that was invaluable in shaping this budget and ensuring that it reflects the needs and priorities of our community. I am confident that this budget will have a positive impact on our community for years to come.”
Also included in the 2024 budget is funding in Council’s budget to provide community support grants, totaling $300K, which will directly assist with supporting the local community.
With the understanding that small businesses and entrepreneurship are an important economic engine to our local communities and drives economic growth for our City, Council negotiated with the Administration and requested that $300K of the $1M infusion to the Economic Strategic Fund in this budget is set aside for the Minority Business Development Program. With the budget passing, and as a result of the Council’s efforts, Council has ensured that our local businesses receive adequate funding post COVID-19.
“Leadership is not easy. Some very difficult decisions had to be made during this year’s budget process,” said President Pro-Tempore and At-Large Councilwoman Maria D. Cabrera. “It’s never easy when you have to make difficult and unpopular decisions. Not only to balance, but prevent a future deficit. I am proud of the due diligence and work that council members put in. There were a lot of meetings, discussions, and compromises. I am also grateful that we codified a public utility fund to continue to assist the residents who need help.”
Additionally, on Thursday, Council passed legislation for the establishment of a permanent Water Utility Assistance Program, while ensuring funding is appropriated annually in the operating budget. The permanent Water Utility Assistance Program ordinance can be read here.
“Showing the strength of the 108th Session is in the Water Utility Assistance Program,” said Finance and Economic Development Committee Chairman Chris Johnson, of the 7th District. “For the first time in the city’s history, we are codifying and making it known that water is a right, even due to fluctuation and inflation in world affairs, low-income residents who cannot afford funds for current water bills will now be able to receive help. Funds will be put in permeant place for the city and in return will help residents for generations to come.”
What’s next: The budget and companion legislation will go to Mayor Mike Purzycki for his signature and approval. The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2024.
Mobile: (302)757-5748 Email: email@example.com City Council Website: www.wilmingtoncitycouncil.com