Voters said "no" to a sales and use tax referendum which would have increased sales taxes to benefit schools and beaches in Brunswick County.
Half of the estimated $3 million of revenue from the Brunswick County Sales Tax referendum would have gone to beach projects like inlet dredging and public beach accesses. Now, after hearing the results, leaders from across Brunswick County realize they will have go elsewhere to find much needed money.
The 60%-40% vote against the referendum limits the options for beach communities that want to keep visitors coming to town.
Caswell Beach Mayor Harry Simmons is disappointed and surprised at the vote.
"Beach needs are not going away. Now, we have to find a new way to pay for it," Simmons said.
Simmons says this problem doesn't just affect the beach towns.
"There's a lot of the county that depends on coastal communities, like the inland areas. The Southport's and Shallotte's, they depend on how well things go too and they benefit from the coastal communities," the mayor expressed.
Simmons says by saying no to raising the sales tax, he thinks voters will end up paying more in the long run in the form of higher property taxes.
"This seemed like the simplest way, the fairest way, and the way to make sure voters paid the least. Now we're all going to end up paying more."
Brunswick County Commission Chair Phil Norris said there are no formal plans in place to generate the money or add another bond referendum in November.
Norris said those discussions will come at future commissioners meetings.
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