Posted: July 1, 2003
BUDGET GETS A BOOST FROM STATE
Wilmington Mayor James M.
Baker said the City took a positive step forward today in resolving
its deep-rooted structural budget problems when it received
authority from the Delaware General Assembly to generate much needed
Five bills enabling
Wilmington to collect additional revenue from a share of corporate
filing fees, a lodging tax, a franchise tax on natural gas, and an
events tax have been sent to Governor Minner for her signature.
“I send my deepest
appreciation to the Governor, to the General Assembly, to Wilmington
City Council, and to private citizens who took time to meet with us
and review our financial information to understand the City’s strong
financial management structure and our lack of authority to raise
enough revenue to fund basic City services,” Mayor Baker said today.
“The additional revenue
options will begin to address the City’s projected shorter-term
fiscal year deficits. Most importantly, I see the process that led
to passage of this legislation as an historic milestone for
continued understanding and cooperation that will lead to the
complete financial preservation of Wilmington, which is the economic
base of Delaware’s economy.”
Mayor Baker said he
understands that there is still misunderstanding about City revenues
and expenditures and why the gap between the two is projected to
grow. “We have a lot of work to do to find additional options for
revenue growth in Wilmington, but until that work is complete, the
City Administration is prepared to take additional steps to improve
Wilmington’s fiscal health and demonstrate a commitment to
implementing improved fiscal management controls,” Mayor Baker said.
The Mayor said today he and
Wilmington City Council President Theodore Blunt would urge City
Council support for:
of the authority of the Wilmington Economic and Financial Advisory
Council (WEFAC) to conduct five-year projections for City revenue
beyond the current authorized one-year revenue projection
--Expansion of the City’s contract with Public
Financial Management to conduct fiscal management reviews of a
number of critical City functions to assist the City in seeking
further expenditure reductions wherever possible.
--A phased-in spending cap of 98% on yearly City
expenditures, similar to the State’s limit on yearly spending.
Mayor Baker and Council
President Blunt said they look forward to continuing to work with
the Task Force on Revenue Options for the City of Wilmington that
was established by Governor Minner earlier this year to explore
solutions to the City’s revenue outlook.
“Some two years ago, we
began approaching people inside and outside of government and
throughout Delaware about the importance of granting Wilmington its
financial freedom,” Mayor Baker said.
“Since that time, we
have picked up believers who now support the notion that Wilmington
must have a permanent and expanded revenue base from which to fund
the government and support economic growth benefiting all of
Delaware. I am very grateful for the support Wilmington has received
and I pledge to do all that I can to demonstrate that we have been,
and will continue to be, productive and imaginative managers of the
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