Thursday, December 9, 2021
City Council Recap: Wilmington City Council Introduces an Ordinance to Redistrict the Councilmanic Districts and approves American Rescue Plan Act Funds
Wilmington – Tonight, during Wilmington City Council’s last regular meeting of the year, council members presented their opinions on various matters connected to redistricting the city’s eight councilmanic districts and approving the $55.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Council Member Michelle Harlee of the 4th District introduced an Ordinance to Amend Chapter 2 of the City Code to Redistrict the Councilmanic Districts of the City of Wilmington Pursuant to Section 2-102 of the Wilmington City Charter, which can be read here. This Ordinance amends Section 2-31 of the City Code by redistricting the Councilmanic Districts of Wilmington so as to have each district encompass as nearly as possibly a contiguous area within which is as nearly as practicable an equal population distribution, pursuant to the requirements of Section 2-102 of the City Charter and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, while using the population figures published by the United States Census Bureau in August of 2021, following the 2020 Decennial Census. For the first time, incarcerated individuals who were City residents prior to incarceration are being counted according to their last known addresses.
Wilmington City Council also heard 7th District Council Member Chris Johnson’s resolution for the proposed categorical use of $55.6 million in Grant Funds from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in accordance with the Department of Treasury’s Interim Final Rule, for City of Wilmington, which can be read here. The resolution passed with 12 -yes and 1 -absent.
“This once-in-a lifetime funding opportunity is a chance for us to bring both immediate and long-lasting change to Wilmington’s most neglected neighborhoods,” said Council Member Johnson. “As Council works with the Administration to drill down on the details of each and every project, we look forward to continuing to engage the public regarding crafting solutions to fix our great City.”
The categories of funding and the projected range of spending for each category are currently projected to be as follows:
- Revenue Replacement of $12 million to solidify the City’s financial condition because of revenue lost due to COVID-19;
- Neighborhood Revitalization of $22 million for capital investment in historically underserved neighborhoods;
- Workforce Development investment of $4 million to fund skills training and internships for employment;
- Community investment of $5 million to assist nonprofits in restoring COVID-affected programming for communities, including $300,000 for distribution by City Council.
“It’s not the best-case scenario. I think that with other municipalities the money does have to go through Council to be approved, but that’s not happening in this case,” said Wilmington City Council President Ernest “Trippi” Congo. “We do want to make sure that the community knows that Council has been very engaged, and the administration has come up with some good solutions. I have to give it to them. There is plenty of money that is going to deal with the violence and the communities, and to help with our nonprofits. It’s nowhere near enough. But, I believe that conversation really needs to be also on a state level so that we are not reactive and trying to combat violence. But, we are being more proactive so that the children in our communities that are experiencing this violence don’t have to go through it.”
Further details of the City’s unprecedented distribution of $55.6 million in ARPA funds are being developed and will be announced in the new year.
City Council also discussed the following items:
- Council Member At-Large Rysheema Dixon presented an Ordinance on behalf of 2nd District Council Member Shané Darby to Amend Chapter 2 of the City Code to Prohibit the Considerationof Council Members’ Home Addresses in the Redistricting Process (1st & 2nd Reading), which can be read here.
- Council Member Zanthia Oliver of the 3rd District presented a Resolution on the Proposed Amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Development Plan Entitled “Wilmington 2028: A Comprehensive Plan for Our City and Communities” (Public Hearing), which can be read here.
- Council Member Zanthia Oliver of the 3rd District presented Ord. 21-031 to Rezone the Parcel of Land Located at 3001 Bowers Street from a Zoning Classification of M-1 (Light Manufacturing) to a Zoning Classification of R-3 (One-Family Row Houses) (Public Hearing –3rd & Final Reading), which can be read here.
- Council Member Zanthia Oliver of the 3rd District presented Ord. 21-032 to Approve the Removal of Mendenhall Court from the Official City Map (3rd & Final Reading), which can be read here.
- Council Member Michelle Harlee of the 4th District presented a Resolution Authorizing the City to Accept Grant Funds from The Nature Conservancy and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for the South Wilmington Wetlands Park, which can be read here.
- Council Member Chris Johnson of the 7th District presented Ord. 21-057 Authorize and Approve a Multi-Year Amendment to the Agreement Between the City of Wilmington and Teladoc Health, Inc. for Telehealth Services (3rd & Final Reading), which can be read here.
- Council Member Chris Johnson of the 7th District presented Ord. 21-058 Authorize and Approve a Product Purchasing Agreement Between the City of Wilmington and Cambridge Computer Services, Inc. for a Storage Area Network (3rd & Final Reading), which can be read here.
- Council Member At-Large Maria Cabrera presented an Ordinance to Amend Substitute No. 1 to Ordinance No. 15-040 (As Amended) to Revise the Membership of the Board of Directors of the Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank Corporation (1st & 2nd), which can be read here.
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