NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Just a day after an announcement that the state and federal government had reached a deal to support inlet dredging, it's up to local leaders to figure out who pays for the rest.
Representatives from every local government in New Hanover County joined in the discussion. The goal is to fairly split a $225,000 bill to pay for dredging of Carolina Beach Inlet.
Wilmington City Councilman Kevin O'Grady said Wednesday night that the unincorporated part of New Hanover County is not paying its fair share.
"They are a city as much as any of the incorporated areas," he said. "They just don't pay the extra taxes that we have to."
A little more than 30% of all boats are in the city of Wilmington, which covers nearly a quarter of the tab. More than half of all boats are in New Hanover County, but the unincorporated pays for less than 30% of the dredging.
O'Grady said the unincorporated parts are included in the county's payment, so they don't make an individual contribution.
"That's politically difficult because it means the county commissioners would have to specially asses the unincorporated areas," said O'Grady. "I realize they don't want to do that but our tax payers are not going to carry the burden of the unincorporated areas."
Commissioner Tom Wolfe told O'Grady that he believed the county could cover the costs, but it would come with a "retaliatory action" to the city.
The discussion of dollars will continue, as representatives from each government report back to their respective boards.
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