By the end of this summer, the streets of downtown Wilmington could be a little cleaner and safer.
The Wilmington City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to choose Wilmington Downtown Inc. as the provider of extra services, including an ambassadors program aimed at improving safety and cleanliness, to a special downtown tax district.
Beginning July 1, the city's first Municipal Services District (MSD) is expected to generate $377,000 to go toward the extra services, based on charging property owners in the Central Business District 7 cents per $100 in property value in exchange for those services. Wilmington Downtown Inc. was the only organization in the running for a contract to provide those services.
Initially, explained WDI president and CEO Ed Wolverton to the City Council on Tuesday, the organization will work on physical enhancements to downtown, marketing efforts and economic development.
The ambassadors program, which will involve seven full-time equivalent positions and be contracted to California-based Allied Universal Security Services, will get up and running soon after, he said.
"We will need a little time to get our safe and clean [team] going but we think we can get that up and operational within 30 days of approval through our vendor," Wolverton said, referring to Allied Universal and the July 1 start date for the MSD.
As WDI works on the services, the city's goal is for an MSD advisory panel, made up of stakeholders that have been appointed by city officials, to meet before July 1, said Erris Dunston, assistant to the city manager for economic development.
In response to a question Tuesday night from City Councilman Neil Anderson, Dunston said the MSD budget could come back to the council if the MSD advisory board decides to shift some of the funds around.