Residents against proposed tax increase in Brunswick - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Residents against proposed tax increase in Brunswick

Residents in Brunswick County voted down a referendum to raise the county sales tax by a quarter of a cent. Residents in Brunswick County voted down a referendum to raise the county sales tax by a quarter of a cent.
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) -

Residents in Brunswick County voted down a referendum to raise the county sales tax by a quarter of a cent.

Final numbers were 8,760 against the tax increase and 5,958 votes for it.

The increase would have raised the sales tax from 6.75 cents to 7 cents per dollar in order to pay for beach projects and school improvement needs.

Now, county leaders will need to find a new source of funding to pay for those projects.

Schools

School leaders say they have more than $250 million in estimated facility needs.

50% of the estimated $3 million annual revenue would have been allocated for capital projects for the school system. The $1.5 million would have allowed the system to leverage $20-$25 million in order to address some of the most pressing capital needs, according to a spokesperson from the school system.

It also would have provided a temporary stop-gap measure and bought a little time before floating a larger, inevitable bond for needs that cannot be met with current funding sources.

School leaders say they will now start the process of brainstorming to find an alternative source of funding.

Beaches

The county's beach communities are struggling to pay for nourishment projects due to a lack of federal and state funding.

50% of the estimated $3 million annual revenue would have been allocated to help pay for coastal projects to keep the county's beaches and inlets healthy.

Caswell Beach Mayor Harry Simmons said he's disappointed with the vote because the money would have gone directly to beach projects like inlet dredging, coastal waterway dredging, and building beach accesses.

County leaders say they understand that raising the sales tax was not a popular decision.

"As Brunswick County employees, we try to provide quality infrastructure for our residents and to offer support to our municipalities, all while being good stewards of taxpayer funds," County Manager Ann Hardy stated in an emailed release. "We are grateful that the residents had a chance to voice their opinions about budget priorities in this manner."

Click here for more Primary Election results: http://bit.ly/1kJvEKx On mobile? Look for the results section at the top of the free WECT News App.

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