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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!

Comment on this Story

  • Keenen Altic

    People that win end up broke and on welfare. If the argument is that we are overtaxed and have plenty of money then why is education defunded? The implication here is corruption. This leads me to seriously doubt the logic that getting funding from gambling would actually fund education either.

  • Last fall there was a big deal made about cutting “earmark” spending in Washington. Those earmarks were a way to get funding for local government without raising property tax or sales tax. That particular “wasteful” spending is gone in Washington and so we are wondering why we have to cut at the local level or raise taxes. Blame is being put in all the wrong places about what is wasteful. There are three privately owned prisons that are being leased to the state of NC that were built a few years ago. This leasing from a private company is three times more expensive than if the prisons were actually owned by the state. This is draining money from education and we all wonder why public schools get worse.

  • Guestasis

    If people have a nice clean well secured casino to visit on Saturday, there will not be any money left for the collection basket on Sunday.

  • GuestTaxed todeath

    Tax us some more while we can’t sell our property and get out without losing $. Use some common sense spend less then what’s coming in.

  • Rollthembones

    Why don’t we just stop beating around the bush, and ask Harrah’s to open a casino downtown near the convention center.

    What would you rather have Wilmington?

    A nice clean, well secured casino that in itself will bring people into town?

    Or dank, smelly sweepstakes parlors, and underfunded public systems?

    Look at Delaware for example. Three casinos make enough money for the state/education, that they don’t charge sales tax, and property taxes are minuscule.

    You wanna change this city? Then start making some changes….

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