WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Does anyone remember New Hanover County Commission Chairman Jonathan Barfield’s State of the County speech back in February? The speech where he told everyone New Hanover is financially strong and prepared to tackle these uncertain times?
It’s the same one where he thanked county residents for approving a sales tax increase in 2010 which he said helped the county improve local libraries, parks and museum.
And it’s the same speech where he said one of the brightest spots this year was the county’s finances, which he said are healthier than expected. He said budget cuts, furlough days and a hiring freeze over the past two years had shaved expenses and helped the county save more than $4 million.
Fast forward only 60 days. That’s only some 1,400 hours. And now Chairman Barfield says the county is almost $2 million in the hole! Why? He says the county’s tax base is down and it’s debt has increased.
And now Chairman Barfield wants to propose yet ANOTHER tax increase – this time a property tax increase of .55 cents.
Mr Barfield, can you please explain what happened over the past two months, where we went from “financially strong” to “let’s raise taxes”? I think your constituents would like to know!