The Fiscal Year 2019 Wilmington City Budget, submitted by Mayor Mike Purzycki in March, was approved by City Council last Friday after a lengthy deliberation.
The changes involve things like adding police officers, improving fire stations and other meat-and-potatoes budget necessities that you probably won’t notice if you don’t work in one of those sectors. Water and sewer bills will have a 4 percent increase, but the minimum usage fee has been reduced, lowering fees for some residents, and there will be no increase to property taxes.
Over the past year, they city has spent a lot of time listening to what residents want, and the new budget includes support for a few projects that will impact city residents noticeably:
- The Delaware Blue Coats, formerly the Delaware 87ers, an affiliate team of the Philadelphia 76ers, will have their own complex on the Riverfront that will double as a youth community center. Blue Rocks baseball at Frawley Stadium was a huge addition to the city in the ’90s; having a pro basketball team in the city is one more thing to do and take pride in.
- Not one, but two new hotels on the Riverfront will help build Wilmington’s appeal as a destination, not just a place to stay for business.
3. Street lights
- New citywide, state-of-the-art LED street lighting hopefully won’t be too noticeable, as other cities have complained of jarringly cool LED streetlights disrupting sleep. LEDs that are indistinguishable from the warm incandescent streetlights we know are out there, as I learned at Del Tech’s STEM fair last year, and they save an unbelievable amount of power. Which means they’ll save money, which means potentially more money in the budget down the line.
4. Online approvals
- A digital development-plans system will connect the departments of Planning, Public Works, Licenses and Inspections and the Fire Marshal’s Office to expedite the process of reviewing and approving proposed development projects. If you’ve ever tried to build something, this will be appreciated.
- A 311 Call Center that will allow residents to easily have their voices heard and their issues resolved; this will include tracking of complaints and concerns on the city website.
The budget goes into effect on July 1.