BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Voters will decide in May if sales tax should increase by a quarter of a cent, following Monday's decision by the Board of Commissioners.
A 4-1 vote by county leaders sends the issue to a referendum on the primary ballot on May 6.
Commissioner Frank Williams, the lone dissenting vote, said he would've liked to discuss the issue during budget workshops first instead of voting on it in May.
"I have some concerns with putting it on a ballot in a primary when a lot fewer people will vote then are voting in November," he said.
The commissioner said the whole process was happening too fast for his liking. Several people spoke at the public hearing, but Williams said there could've been more.
"Not necessarily that I want people here opposed to it or for it," said Williams. "But we would have heard from a lot more people if more people had known about it."
Several people spoke before the board, including Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden. In favor of the sales tax increase, Holden said he said he spoke Monday as a citizen, not a mayor.
"I'm one of those that normally opposes taxes as well, but we don't have a better solution," Holden said.
This solution is meant to support Brunswick County Schools and the beach communities with inlet dredging and beach renourishment. Chairman Phil Norris said the proposed increase could improve priority projects now, so they won't cost so much in the future.
"We're going to have to pay for this sooner or later," said
Increasing the county's sales tax to 7 percent would still be less than the Myrtle Beach area and equal to neighboring New Hanover County.
"I don't want to pay any higher taxes than anybody else is," said Norris. "But to me, this is a way to keep from having to pay higher taxes further on down the road."
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