LELAND, NC (WECT) – The debate over shelling out sales taxes to cities and towns in Brunswick County is becoming one of the most heated topics in the area, but not many people know about it.
Larger towns don't want to take the hit of losing revenue, but smaller towns are asking for a larger piece of the pot.
Now, we're learning more about what it means for you and your wallet if Brunswick County Commissioners decide to alter the method used for the distribution of sales tax dollars.
Each year, the county collects millions of dollars in sales tax revenue and then distributes that money to each municipality based on population.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about changing that method to a system based on taxes levied – meaning that municipalities would get a portion of what they put in. As we found out, any changes could have a major effect on the Town of Leland.
Leland Town Manager David Hollis says that any change to the current distribution method would hurt Leland more than any other town.
"The Town of Leland is the biggest loser in this change and we want our voices heard," said Hollis.
If the method for distribution is changed, Hollis estimates that Leland would lose nearly $2 million, which is almost 25 percent of the town's $8 million budget.
"If you look at it from a departmental level, we could cut out four or five departments from $1.8 million," said Hollis.
In order to make up that money lost, Hollis says taxes would have to go up, by the tune of 70 percent in the Town of Leland.
"I think people would second guess coming to Leland if we had to raise taxes," said Hollis. "Especially by 70 percent."
Other towns may have to do the same thing. No final decision has been made yet, but Hollis is concerned that this nightmare for the town of Leland could become a reality due to the make-up of the board that is in charge of coming up with a recommendation for county commissioners.
"The committee is somewhat biased from the start because a good portion of them stand to gain from this new method," said Hollis.
Each town has been asked to gather public input before the next sales tax distribution committee meeting in November.
Leland held a special meeting on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at its town hall. The input gathered will be reported back to the county, but no final decision is expected until next April.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard