Wilmington leaders trying to gauge impact of pandemic on city coffers

By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com

WILMINGTON — Looking at the city budget was on the minds of council members at Thursday’s Wilmington City Council meeting, held via the Zoom app.

Councilmember Nick Eveland expressed concerns about the income tax and about the city’s enterprise funds.

“With shutdowns and so forth, I expect some of our revenues are dwindling but I don’t know for sure,” said Eveland. “I think it would be good to maybe get an idea from the administration, auditor and treasurer about what this financial impact is actually doing to the city.”

City Administrator Marian Miller said the city has been in contact with Councilmember and Finance Committee Chair Kristi Fickert, Tax Commissioner Marque Jones, Treasurer Paul Fear, and Auditor Mary Kay Vance about this.

“It was hard to grasp and capture the impact immediately,” said Miller. “I have already reached out to Tax Commissioner Jones, he’s working with Treasurer Fear. They’re going to be working on this next week and they feel like they’ll have some more information to give you guys.”

Miller wanted to reassure councilmembers that they should have forecasts in the near future, but it’s still too soon to give an estimate.

“I’d rather give you the closest to accurate statement than shoot from the hip on something important as that,” Miller said.

Fickert added she thinks they’ll have some good revenue projections in the near future.

“The first quarter of 2020 was the best first quarter in the history of the (income) tax bureau,” said Fickert.

Fickert understood Eveland’s concern — it’s a concern of hers too, and she wants to get a pulse on what the projections are.

“We’ll share them as soon as we have them,” she said. “And we plan on discussing them at the next meeting.”

Auditor Mary Kay Vance added that they should remember we’re only a short time into the pandemic.

“Realize there are going to be many factors involved in regards to revenue streams,” said Vance, noting the tax filing day moved from April 15 to July 15. “So, there’s going to be some delays to the revenue.”


By John Hamilton