WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The New Hanover County ABC Board voted Tuesday to keep full funding for Wilmington's Downtown Task Force in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
The board will see how much money they have leftover by the end of the year and then later discuss the financial commitment in the future.
The board contributes $180,000 to the task force for three law enforcement officials.
The funding for the task force was supposed to be a one year commitment, but has extended to three, so the funding for continuous years has not been budgeted out.
Sheriff Ed McMahon and Chief Ralph Evangelous both were at the meeting to speak on behalf of the task force and are both pleased with the result.
Evangelous said they will just take things one year at a time. McMahon explained he got the sense the ABC Board really cares about the task force and hopes they will work to continue funding it in the future.
The ABC Board is working on a new building and are also repairing a roof at the 17th street facility; the estimated total for those projects are more than $400,000.
ABC Board chair Cedric Dickerson said if the board has extra money they will continue to fund the task force.
"The meeting today was to bring together the chief and the sheriff, and reaffirm our commitment to be partners," Dickerson said. "If there's funds available through the county and other sources that can contribute also we would all like to come together to ensure that there is a safe downtown for our citizens."
The task force is made up of Wilmington Police and New Hanover County Sheriff's deputies who patrol downtown areas day and night, seven days a week.
Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said that the task force is responsible for a drop in crime downtown, and cutting the funding could jeopardize safety.
According to the city of Wilmington, downtown crime was down 7% in 2013. That's the lowest amount in 12 years.
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