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.