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City budget retreat looks at tax distribution

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The city of Wilmington accounts for nearly eighty percent of the county sales and property tax revenue. Wilmington officials say it’s time some of that money started coming back to help the city.

“Nationally, state wide, and at the local level we’re having a very difficult time with the economy,” said Scott Townsend, the Wilmington budget director.

Townsend had his hands full at Monday’s budget retreat. The meeting outlined important projects for the upcoming year, took a look back at 2008 spending, and examined new ideas for increasing city revenue.

“As we have diminished revenue during the year we have to reduce our expenditures to keep a balanced budget,” Townsend said.

For the city, that means looking for new ways to raise money and cut spending. For city employees, that could mean a new work schedule.

In regards to flexing of time, people can move around and work at different hours of the day, a four day work week, which is something we talked about at our last retreat,” said Mayor Bill Saffo.

The city budget retreat comes on the heels of the county’s decision to cut it’s budget by $3 million by June.

City Councilwoman Kristi Tomey said tax distribution needs to change. “I would like to see a fair distribution of sales tax. Annexation is not going to solve that problem. We need to start focusing our attentions on how do we go through the legislation to get that corrected.”

The two sides have yet to discuss a new tax distribution plan. The vote on the final budget won’t be taken until mid-June and it will go into effect July first.

The city also identified projects for the upcoming year, some of which, like the expansion of Independence Boulevard, could benefit from the economic stimulus.

But, of course, it’s too early to know just yet how that money will be dispersed.

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videoThe city of Wilmington accounts for nearly eighty percent of the county sales and property tax revenue. Wilmington officials say it’s time some of that money started coming back to help the city.

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