Town leaders disagree over sales tax distribution - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Town leaders disagree over sales tax distribution

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When it comes to distributing money collected from sales tax revenue, some Brunswick County leaders can't seem to agree When it comes to distributing money collected from sales tax revenue, some Brunswick County leaders can't seem to agree

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – When it comes to distributing money collected from sales tax revenue, some Brunswick County leaders can't seem to agree. Leaders from several municipalities in Brunswick County met Wednesday to discuss the county's sales tax distribution method.

Every year, counties collect millions of dollars in sales taxes. Then, they dole it out to the municipalities. There are two ways the counties can shell out the money. The first method is based on population, where the larger towns get more money back. The other option is to distribute the cash based on how much sales tax each town levies.

Harry Simmons, the Mayor of Caswell Beach says his town contributes more sales tax money to the total than some of the larger towns because of the tourism his community generates. Therefore, Simmons says they should get more in return, in what's called the "ad-valorum" method.

"We have to provide all the services that a bigger town has to provide for a whole lot less money, but for more people in our year round population," said Simmons. "Doing it totally by population when we can't count our entire population isn't fair."

But Oak Island Mayor, Betty Wallace disagrees. She thinks that method gives each town too much power compared to the population method.

"If we switched to ad-valorem method instead of census method, towns would have the ability to manipulate their taxes levied so they receive more in the distribution process," said Wallace.

To put it in perspective, the current distribution method which is based on population generated approximately $90,000 in sales tax money for the town of Caswell Beach last year. Under the taxes levied system, they would get nearly $600,000. Mayor Simmons says the town of Caswell Beach could really use that extra half million dollars.

The committee also has an option to consider a blended option but that would require approval from the Department of Revenue. The committee is requesting input from each town in Brunswick County. They set a deadline of October 31st to receive comments and concerns from each municipality. The committee will look at the numbers again in November before making any decision. The deadline to make a final decision is April, 2014.

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