WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– A $160 million bond referendum takes the next step towards the November ballot in New Hanover County.
A capital needs study shows New Hanover County Schools are overcrowded and need renovations. This bond would fund those projects, but not all of the commissioners want it to get passed.
“I have been to a lot of the schools in New Hanover County and many of them have served their useful life,” New Hanover County Commissioner Beth Dawson explained. “ It’s time for our students to have healthy learning environments.”
Dawson believes there’s a need for new schools. That will happen, if a bond is placed on the ballot. The board’s finance director says they’ve been working on this bond for more than a month. It would fund at least two new elementary schools, and renovations in many other schools. County Commissioner, Woody White, does not think it is the right step.
“It would be nice to pass the bond, but it would be nice to have a lot of things in life and sometimes you have to make tough choices,” he says. “You can’t afford everything and that’s the position that we’re in right now in this county government.”
White says bonds means increased taxes and increased debt. Dawson thinks it can be done.
“The county will be able to find a way with public support to take care of the needs that we have. Prioritize and deal with the financing of those when the time comes,” Dawson said.
They all agreed to pass it on to a public hearing and let the people decide.
“I think people will come here with opinions and I hope those that educated themselves on the bond also educate themselves on the incredible debt that we presently have,” White said.
For now, they leave the decision up to the public to decide. The bond will be open for discussion at the next meeting on August 11th.