Taxes on the rise, some local leaders frustrated

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Submitted: Tue, 06/10/2014 - 2:40am
Updated: Tue, 06/10/2014 - 4:20pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– The county’s credit card bill, so to speak, is getting higher and higher. That cost will eventually be passed onto the taxpayer.

Some local leaders feel the spending is out of control. Meanwhile, others feel new spending on the horizon is a cost we all just have to bear.

“It’s not acceptable to me to raise taxes when our economy is in such a fragile recovery,” said Woody White, New Hanover County Commission Chairperson.

White said it’s going to happen though.

“We don’t simply need to put all of our eggs in the bond basket because what that does is simply translate into a tax raise,” White said.

If you think of it as the county credit card, our bill is up to more than $350 million according to a presentation prepared by county staff for the county commissioners. This year alone we’ll pay $53 million on it.

Commissioners said for the county, a five percent tax increase is the answer because reductions and higher growth have offset some of the costs. But, it doesn’t fix the problem.

“It also is more expensive for the county too. In some cases, you have more children in the school system, which is a cost,” said Cam Griffin, New Hanover County Budget Director.

This is why a $160 million school bond will be on the ballot this November.

“Seventy percent of people in our county don’t have children in the public school system,” said White. White added that the bond alone will raise property taxes four percent.

“This is a bond concerning needs not wants,” said Donald Hayes with the New Hanover County School Board. “There are needs there and this is the only way we can address those needs.”

Hayes went on to say overcrowding in our schools alone makes that clear.

“But, I think common sense tells me that, yes, if you approve bonds, then, yes, it is possible that your taxes will go up,” said Hayes after last week’s County Commission meeting.

As for the school bond, the voters will have the final say with the initiative on the ballot in November.


  • GuestMan. says:

    Not only is it possible your taxes will go up; it’s damn likely.
    Vote “NO” to the bond issue.
    Indiscriminate spending and wastefulness have gotten us into this pickle and it is time to say no.
    At least we’re not paying for a baseball field. The black hole we throw money in, also known as the convention center, is bad enough.

  • taxpayer says:

    fiscally illiterate: “But, I think common sense tells me that, yes, if you approve bonds, then, yes, it is possible that your taxes will go up,” said Hayes after last week’s County Commission meeting.”

    Gee Don…where do you think bond interest and principal payments come from? Unlike our idiots in DC who can print money any time they want, the taxpayers of New Hanover County are the ones you and your ilk look to when you want to go “shopping”.

  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    Whatever new taxes get approved as an increase…your City Council will blow those dollars on unnecessary projects, as the other monies were blown on unnecessary projects. If they hadn’t been…there would be $$$$$$$$$ (surplus) in the bank.
    The hairspray remark was pretty good though :-)

  • Greenie says:

    I have three children in school, am an independent, and I would fully support subsidized school vouchers based on need. We should take the federal government out of the education business, be paying for school per child, and keep the schools competitive and lean as businesses. Make minimum standards, establish all schools as non profits, and let the market work. Pay for what you use! We spend $9000 per student per year to educate them in public schools. How much is tuition at the private schools?

  • Mr.T says:

    Mr. White reports that upwards of 70% of NHC residents don’t have children in today’s public schools. My question would be, what % of those 70% once had children in Americas public school systems and who paid for their education? This Republican idea that I’ll take care of me and to hell with all others is getting lame and senseless! I don’t have old parents using large amounts of Medicare and Medicaid. They are gone now, not getting their share anymore. Does this mean I should stop paying taxes that support these programs? If my child doesn’t get arrested or my neighbors house burns down and mine doesn’t, should I resent having to pay taxes that support public safety? Why does public education and equal opportunity get so far under the skin of so many Republicans?

  • Guest7969 says:

    a novel idea…how about making a budget like the rest of us…AND FLIPPING FOLLOWING IT….STOP spending the money you DON’T HAVE! Jiminy Cricket…how do we knock this into our elected leaderships heads! It’s like they don’t understand basic math!


  • Vog46 says:

    Once you figure out how much of the state constitution would have to change to do what you propose let me know then we can change the other parts as well like being able to own guns and practice free speech…..

    I get your drift, but charter schools are still very new and the jury is still out as to their OVERALL academic performance……


  • Greenie says:

    I was trying not to name names. How much is tuition at New Horizons? How much does Cape Fear Academy cost per year? St. Marks? Etc? What are their graduation rates and college admission rates? Let’s be realistic, they have engaged students and phenomenal achievement rates. A lack of competition makes public schools complacent and indifferent to the plight of underachievers. Where did it ever say healthcare was a right? Where did it ever say that education was a right? As I stated previously, I have no problem helping subsidize those who cannot afford to pay for school- we do that already anyway. And there is great value in at least offering education to the impoverished masses, even if they choose not to capitalize on the opportunity. I am just saying that we need to pay for the services we use. We shouldn’t be taxing the entire population to pay for the ever increasing and inefficient cost of educating each child in this county/state. A private school has a budget, a finite student population, and less lucrative teacher pensions and benefits ( more like reality) than a public school model. Let’s encourage competition, free market choice, and fiscal responsibility in our school choices.

  • Wilmington Observer says:

    Mr. Hayes, a member of the local School Board says “This is a bond concerning needs not wants”. This is probably true. But what is also true is that if our previous tax money had been spent on “needs” instead of “wants” then we might not be having this conversation.

    A body (be it a family, business or government) should pratice thriftful spending all of the time, not just when funds are low.

    Wilmington Observer

  • guesty says:

    Spend it as quickly as possible. Don’t worry about budgeting, you can always tax when you need more.

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