City council talks lodging tax funds distribution, OKs 2021 budget


By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com



Wilmington City Council meets for the last time in 202o.

Wilmington City Council meets for the last time in 202o.


John Hamilton | News Journal

WILMINGTON — Funds for the coming year was the main discussion for the final Wilmington City Council meeting of the year.

Hotel Lodging Tax

At Thursday’s meeting held via Zoom, council approved the city’s 2021 budget and discussed what to do about the money from the Hotel Lodging Tax.

During the Judiciary Committee report, Councilmember and Committee Member Michael Snarr wanted to discuss what would be the best way to distribute money to organizations with that money.

“I’ve had a couple of discussions about how the money’s tied up now because we’re not having a grant process; no one’s requesting money because we can’t have big get-togethers,” said Snarr. “We’re sitting on the money but there are a lot of non-profits that are really hurting and could really use the money. I thought maybe we could do something in the short run to assist in time of need.”

Snarr noted it could be months before people host gatherings again. Judiciary Committee Chair Matt Purkey mentioned the possibility of temporarily removing the application guidelines.

City Administrator Marian Miller told council that, with proper oversight, distributing the funds could be done through an administrative way, in light of the current pandemic.

Miller said she didn’t want it to come off as a “power grab” but mentioned that council already has the authority to not fund something again, or reverse fund something if needed.

No official decision was made by the council.

2021 city budget

Council approved the city’s approximately $60.2 million budget for 2021 — about $1.4 million more than the 2020 budget.

Councilmember Kelsey Swindler sought clarification about items in the budget after a community member asked her about them, one being the police budget

Swindler wanted to clarify that the increase was to accommodate the new officers hired in 2020, not an indication of new officers in 2021.

City Administrator Miller confirmed that, and added further clarification that it also included the new assistant police chief position.

Also during council:

• Mayor John Stanforth praised the Clinton County Health District staff and volunteers at the COVID-19 pop up testing last Saturday.

Wilmington City Council meets for the last time in 202o.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_Council-screenshot-1-1.jpgWilmington City Council meets for the last time in 202o. John Hamilton | News Journal

By John Hamilton

jhamilton@wnewsj.com

Reach John Hamiton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamiton at 937-382-2574