New Hanover County Commissioners approve budget

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County Commissioners debated for an hour before finally taking their final vote to approve a $250 million budget Monday.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield asked his fellow commissioners to vote on a one cent tax increase.

"County manager stated that without any type of tax increase we're probably going to see a reduction in staff as well as county services," said Barfield.

He says without raising taxes the county is sliding into a deeper financial hole.

"Right now if any type of a storm was to hit our community we won't really have resources to fight that," said Barfield.

Barfield's motion didn't pass, and property taxes will remain static, but the landfill tipping fee has increased by about $5.

Beginning August 1, every time a trash hauler takes a ton of trash to the Wastec Landfill they will have to pay a tipping fee of $55.65.

Also in the budget - all county libraries will be closed on Sundays starting in July.  They will also operate under shorter hours during the week.

Commissioners voted to take $1.8 million out of their emergency fund balance to fill the budget hole, which concerns commissioner Ted Davis.

"It's not a danger level but it does put a damper on being able to use any fund balance in the future," said Davis.  "Hopefully, we can refurbish those funds with money we'll get during the year."

New Hanover County has already laid of 27 employees and 45 people have taken early retirement.

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