HAMPSTEAD, NC (WECT) - A 34-square-mile stretch of Pender County has grown from less than 5,000 residents 20 years ago to more than 15,000 people today. Some residents in Hampstead are now pushing for incorporation.
An open community meeting Tuesday went over the results of a study laying out the potential costs and benefits of incorporating Hampstead.
An Ad Valorem city tax of 20 cents per $100 property valuation would provide a budget of $4.3 million. That equals an additional $1.10 a day in taxes for the average homeowner. Hampstead has the potential to receive at least 40% additional funding from state and federal sources, according to the study.
Additional services that would be provided to Hampstead as an incorporated city would include police protection, road maintenance, waste collection, street lights, park & recreational facilities, sidewalks and trails. Local government officials and land use control would also be included.
An incorporated Hampstead has the potential to be North Carolina’s 55th largest city out of 553.
The North Carolina General Assembly is the only authority that can incorporate a city or town. Community members are petitioning to have incorporation brought to a vote.
One resident says the finances need to be more clear for a more informed decision.
“The financials were not there that one would like to see,” said resident Dennis Gershowitz. “For example, they were using words like would, could should, which are all the grey area. The answer is before anybody can vote on this, you really want to be able to make what I call an informed decision. Without an informed decision, without those numbers, I’m unable to see basically actionable insight.”
Meetings are being held through March to present the findings of the study. They are at the following locations, dates and times:
American Legion Post 167, located at 166600 US Highway 17 North in Hampstead (across from Future Homes)
Saturday, Feb. 16, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2-3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 7-8:30 p.m.
Hampstead Library, US Highway 17 in Hampstead (across from Lowe’s Food)
Saturday, March 16, 10 a.m.-noon
Saturday, March 23, noon-2 p.m.
You can find more the detailed breakdown of the study, including a link to a PDF of the petition here.