Wilmington City Council Approves $173M Operating Budget

Wilmington’s Operating and Water/Sewer/Stormwater budgets for Fiscal Year 2022 beginning July 1, were approved tonight by City Council. The vote to approve the Operating Budget was 11 to 2.

The Water/Sewer/Stormwater budget was approved with 12 votes. The $172.7 million operating budget and the $79.6 million water/sewer/stormwater budget, remain largely unchanged from what was proposed in March by Mayor Mike Purzycki. While the operating budget does not require a property tax increase, the water/sewer/stormwater budget will require a modest rate increase.

The approved FY 2022 Budget Summary as prepared by the Office of Management and Budget is available here.

Mayor Purzycki said the Administration and Members of Council, led by Council Finance Committee Chair Chris Johnson, engaged in much debate and discussion for the past several weeks about the proposed budget. While the Administration and Council had few changes to the major departmental portions of the operating budget, both sides agreed to add funding for additional public safety programs and neighborhood stabilization efforts. Added was $300,000 for a gun violence prevention program; $50,000 to support the Wilmington Citizen Complaint Review Board; and $40,000 to enhance the work of the citywide Neighborhood Planning Councils (NPC).

“Both branches of government worked well together in this difficult pandemic period to reach a budget agreement, even though we all are concerned about the budget revenue uncertainty projected over the next few years,” said Mayor Purzycki. “It will certainly be easier to deal successfully with future challenges if we continue listening to each other and respecting different points of view. This budget was a good start and I look forward to working together as we prepare for a post-pandemic period of recovery.”

The new Fiscal Year 2022 budget and the Mayoral Budget Address include:

  • no property tax increase for the fourth consecutive year
  • a balanced budget that draws money from the City’s Tax Stabilization Reserve to cover a projected $6.1 million deficit due to COVID-related losses of revenue, such as wage tax, head tax, and parking enforcement revenue
  • a water and sewer rate increase of 3% and a stormwater increase of 2%, which averages to a $1.75 monthly increase for a City customer using 4,000 gallons of water, sewer and stormwater services, and a $1.53 monthly increase for a county customer who receives only City water. This is the first increase in the stormwater rate in seven years. The rate hike is needed to cover annual costs associated with operating a water utility that serves approximately 39,000 customers in Wilmington and parts of New Castle County
  • neighborhood stabilization and development funding of $500,000 to support the work of the Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank
  • additional funding of $300,000 to clean more City streets as part of the Wilmington Clean Streets Program. This would bring the total for next fiscal year to $700,000. This program provides employment for local residents and provides for cleaning of private property as well as public areas
  • funding to support the year-round employment of young people to assist with them with their career preparation, employment choices, and overall personal development
  • police body worn camera program funding of $650,000 to support full staffing and software costs, which fulfills a pledge by the Mayor and Police Chief Robert Tracy to support greater transparency and accountability in policing
  • additional park improvements, which are in addition to the $40 million spent in the past few years to rehabilitate the City’s parks and recreation programs
  • expanded summer pool schedule, with nearly $124,000 appropriated in the budget to ensure five City pools are open Tuesday through Sunday

Source: City of Wilmington

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