Proposed Property Tax Bump, Pro-Palestine Sit-in Headline Wilmington City Council Meeting | Old North State Wealth News
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Proposed property tax bump, pro-Palestine sit-in headline Wilmington City Council meeting



A book with signs calling for a ceasefire and supporting Islam and Judaism (Photo-Conor Doherty)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WWAY) — As protests supporting a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas Conflict are being held across the country, a group of supporters held a sit-in at the Wilmington City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Around a dozen people came out for the sit-in, with some singing outside Thalian Hall before the council meeting started.

Several people then addressed council members, urging them to support a ceasefire resolution, with supporters holding up signs as they spoke.

Meg Crenshaw is a spokesperson for ILM Peace for Palestine.

She said the group hopes city council will approve a resolution supporting a ceasefire in Gaza.

“Yeah, city council members are elected officials and so we’re trying to make our voice heard and they need to know that we’re not standing for this and we’re hoping that they can also make a stand by passing this ceasefire resolution,” Crenshaw said.

The sit-in comes as Israel continues its invasion of the city of Rafah in Southern Gaza.

City officials revealed their proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which includes a 6.9% property tax increase. It would bring the city’s property tax rate from 39.50 cents per $1.00 to 42.25 cents per $1.00. City officials say the increase is needed to help fund more essential services. A public hearing on the budget will take place in two weeks. The budget set to be adopted in June.

City Council also approved an ordinance allocating $1.275 million from the sale of surplus properties (320 North Front Street and 1502 Wellington Avenue) toward the payment of debt service on the Skyline Center.

As part of the consent agenda, Council approved a $494,546 contract with Sprinturf, LLC, of Daniel Island to replace the 13 year-old synthetic turf at Legion Stadium, which is at the end of its lifespan. The turf field has allowed for increased play and fewer cancellations caused by weather events since it was originally installed in the spring of 2011. The new synthetic turf will have markings for football, men’s and women’s lacrosse,  men’s and women’s soccer, and media lines. 

Tonight’s meeting was not just about artificial turf, but natural grass as well. At the start of the meeting, Mayor Bill Saffo made a proclamation naming the month of May as “Garden for Wildlife month” in Wilmington.

The Cape Fear Garden Club is close to having Wilmington be recognized as a “Wildlife Habitat City.” Other cities with that designation include Charlotte, Raleigh, and Asheville.

“It’s nice that they recognize everything that we do for them, from planting trees and flowers,” says Cape Fear Garden Club co-chair Mary Smith, adding, “They ask us to help with the Live Oak [Bank] Pavilion, planting gardens.” Smith also says next February will be the Club’s centennial anniversary.   

Finally, Council unanimously voted for a resolution supporting Wilmington as the preferred location for the future North Carolina Submarine Museum. Charlotte and Asheville are also in consideration for the museum, because all three cities have namesake US Navy submarines in service. The resolution says the museum would not only promote tourism, but also feature a “STEM Education and Workforce Development Resource Center” and feature workforce development programs.

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