Mayor Purzycki Releases His Administration’s Discretionary Spending Information

Wilmington – Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said today that the recent media focus on government discretionary spending is a healthy exercise that will benefit those who serve in public office as well as the citizens they represent. The Mayor today released his Administration’s discretionary spending for his first six months in office, covering the period of January through June of this year.

The Mayor’s Office allocated $28,000 in scholarships to 24 high school students from Wilmington who will attend college this Fall and $47,525 in grants to 57 agencies and organizations for a total expenditure of $75,525. Visit this link for copy of expenditures for the first six months of 2017.

The News Journal recently requested discretionary spending information for the previous Williams Administration, for the first six months of the Purzycki Administration, and for the previous session of Wilmington City Council. The Mayor’s Office and City Council appropriate funds to their respective offices during the City’s annual budget process, and these funds are then allocated at the discretion of elected officials throughout the fiscal year.

“The newspaper’s request for this information has created an opportunity for me to take a closer look at our Administration’s discretionary spending practices,” said Mayor Purzycki. “During my first six months as Mayor, improving public safety, building up our poorer neighborhoods and more efficiently operating the government have been my main areas of focus. Although discretionary spending is a relatively small budget line, I’ve had a chance to review not only the grants we’ve awarded in the past six months but what has occurred over the past four years. I am sure that going forward we’ll be reexamining our standards for use of these funds.

“While the public discussion about this subject has been very helpful, it should be said that some of these grants, such as those for organizations like the Wilmington Hope Commission, the Boy Scouts, August Quarterly, the Jefferson Awards or the Friends of Wilmington Parks produce an important public good for the City and in my judgment should be supported. In every case where public funds are involved, there has to be a public good or benefit attached to justify the decision. However, this comes down to a judgment call at times.

“My values as to what the City should support could place me at odds with how others might feel. A recently cited example of this is my Administration’s decision earlier this year to grant $1,500 to support a sporting event (boxing matches) on the Riverfront. We certainly did not provide a grant in order to obtain tickets for the affair. But rather, it was my decision to fund the event for economic development purposes to promote something that would attract people to Wilmington. In my mind this expenditure is similar to the annual City support we provide to the Blues Festival, Greek Festival, Hispanic Festival, the St. Patrick’s Parade and the Jaycees Christmas Parade—all made with the purpose of bringing people into our city and providing rich experiences for our residents.

“Make no mistake. I am appreciative of the discussion around discretionary spending. In the end, my decisions around this use of public money are better informed because of the feedback I get from our citizens. Be assured I will continue to make informed, reasonable and credible decisions about our Administration’s discretionary spending as I will about all matters affecting City government.”

Source: Mayor Mike Purzycki’s Office

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