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Balancing budget puts commissioners on edge

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- County staff proposed cuts and a 1.6-cent property tax increase to balance the budget. But commissioners asked them to come back with a new budget with a property tax increase of only 1.3-cents. That 0.3 cent difference equals about a million more dollars in cuts.

"The compromise was 1.3 pennies per one hundred dollars worth of value," said commissioner Jonathan Barfield. "It's not going to get us where we need to be, but it's definitely going to be a step in the right direction."

As it stands right now, the budget would reduce the number of furlough days for county employees from ten to three for the year. Airlie Gardens would be saved. But the budget won't give county schools the additional $1.8 million they asked for. That means schools will have to layoff more than 100 employees. Health insurance costs for county employees would also increase, and there would be no money to fund art programs, including the Cucalorus Film Festival.

Commissioners Jason Thompson, Bobby Greer and Jonathan Barfield supported the property tax increase. Ted Davis and Bill Caster opposed it.

"There are still things out there that I believe that we could look at as far as additional cuts," Davis said. "And also, there's an unknown factor of revenue that's going to be coming in because of changes that are going to be made as far as our solid waste."

The county could get up to $5 million from the new solid waste management plan, but it doesn't have that money yet. Commissioners also discussed borrowing from the fund balance, which is basically the county's savings account, but doing that could hurt the bond rating and cost more money in interest for projects in the long run.

County staff must now create a new budget with the additional $1 million in cuts.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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ARE THE COMMISSIONERS TAKING A PAYCUT!!!!!!!!!!!

Vote these RIDICULOUS and SELF SERVING posers out of office..keeping museums open that only see the school fieldtrips as their only visitors..but they want to cut teachers..TEACHERS!!! thats 100 badly needed jobs especially in New Hanover County but these politicians believed this is where they make cuts at??..100 people who serve and try to enrich the youth minds but yet they believe the museums and arlie gardens are something worth holding on to than EDUCATORS..VOTE BARFIELD, CASTER,THOMPSON, GREER AND DAVIS OUT!!! Who goes to Arlie Gardens??..nothing but the rich and elderly and again school field trips..these places dont bring in enough revenue to keep them open so CLOSE THEM DOWN and save our TEACHERS!!!we need to focus on whats imporant and ESSENTIAL in the future for our city..not whats great for the Azalea Festival or as a tourist attraction..Hey WWAY why dont yall do a story and ask the these politicians why THEY THEMSELVES dont take a paycut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Lets hit on award winning journalism and report THAT!!!!!!!!!!!

Dump Caster

Are we better off having caster as a county commissioner-Clearly No
Are our taxes higher because of caster-YES
Is he part of the out of control spending by the County-Yes
Is he part of the old boy network that enriches themselves and is part of the sleazy politics most of us reject-yes
he has expereience-just the wrong kind- look at the money trailand who has supported him with cash- that saus volumes
We need a better direction here in New Hanover
We need to join with Brian Berger-
I dont agree with him on all the issues- but he has been consistent for years.
Reject Caster abd the corrupt politics of the past-
Build a better future for all of us-
Vote for Brian if we have a chance-
and a Democrat if we don'T
Anybody but Caster

Smooth move Caster! You got

Smooth move Caster! You got Greer to save your hide by letting him vote for the tax increase and you voted against. The "Good Old Boys" are at it again. If it had not been an election year, you would have voted for it just like you voted for TITAN Cement, and CAPE FEAR PUBLIC UTILITIES rate hikes. Might I add 2 within 6 months. THANKS Bill. What else might you do for us? It's time for new people. What do you think Bill?

Expect more taxes New

Expect more taxes New Hanover County wants to take over all the Volunteer Fire Stations you pay 6 cent now for protection the city is paying over 20

Email sent to county staff

Staff,
County Manager, Bruce Shell will present his recommendations from the Master Plan to the Board of Fire Commissioners on Monday Night at the May Monthly Fire Commission Meeting. Due to anticipated interest in this presentation, we have moved the meeting from Station 51 to the EOC at the Government Center.
This morning, the manager called and left message with the Volunteer Fire Chief’s regarding his recommendations. He has agreed to meet with the Volunteer Fire Chief’s at 5pm on Monday to discuss the recommendations prior to the Fire Commission Meeting.
The basic recommendations are:
1.) To create two Insurance Districts (One north and one south) instead of the five current insurance districts.
2.) Both Insurance Districts will be under the direction and command of New Hanover County Fire.
I strongly encourage you to attend the Fire Commission Meeting on Monday May 10th, 2010 at the NHC EOC to hear the full presentation if you are available.
Donnie R. Hall, Chief CFO/EFO
New Hanover County
Department of Fire Services
230 Government Center Drive Suite 130
Wilmington NC 28403
910-798-7420 Office
910-798-7052 Fax

Museums and Airlie-Not Schools?

Now, help me understand which is more important to Wilmington? Does education mean anything to our decision makers? Apparently the parks will serve us better than the children who need training at school in order to keep the economy running for generations to come.....

The art museum is a joke, the 100K Wilmington Welcome Sign is highly unslightly, and gardens and Airlie seem to be more important to our elected officials than the children?

Help me understand.

Education

Why of course the decision makers care about education! That's why we have the NC Education Lottery, so that we NEVER have to worry about funding education again!

Strange, though, I've still seen bond referendums for education even after the lottery was in place. And even after watching a commercial bragging about all the money that the NC Education Lottery has raised.

Could it be that those funds are not being used for education?? Is that why our elected decision makers can still feel good about asking for more money 'for the children'?

Now you begin to see... These people will use whatever plea they can come up with to ask for more money. Most of the time, little or none of that money goes toward the cause they solicited it for.

If ever a politician asks you to vote for a bill or referendum that 'creates jobs' or 'is for the children', you need to take a very hard look at it. You might be surprised how many times you will decide that the best bet is to vote against it.

Jason Thompson

Until you get this guy out of office, the problems in the county will only get horribly worse. He is a spoiled little rich kid that could care less about the honest, hard working middle class citizen. He was putz on the city council and contiunes now in the county. I too got rear-ended by voting "yes" on the sales tax. Never again.

Not Cucalorus!!!

Oh no!!! Cut funds for Cucalorus???? What in the world will all the Liberal Elitist in this town now do for fun?? This is a sad day.

The Tax Value on my house is

The Tax Value on my house is $100k more than I could hope to get for it, and now my tax rate is going up. On top of that my sales tax are going. Will this ever end??? Maybe the County needs to drop Health Insurance Coverage on employees, pay the penalty and let them go on Obamacare just like private company's will be doing; since Obamacare will be such a "wonderfull" thing for the country.

Indeed! I keep questioning

Indeed! I keep questioning this as well. Why have I been paying MORE tax on a home that will not sell anywhere close to what the county deems it's "tax value". What a bunch of crooks! Reassess the tax values...oh wait...they would probably end up owing us (The Homeowners) money for these past few years that we have been already OVERPAYING!

PLEASE people get it together and VOTE! We need these idiots out of office...and Jason Thompson..WHAT A JOKE! Why do you think people were eager to get him away holding a city counsel position when he was in office? We need to learn from past mistakes! Have you ever actually attended one of the city or county meetings and seen his demeanor and attitude towards the general public? It's disgusting! It is time for fresh faces and fresh ideas in New Hanover County! If more people had got off of their behinds the other day and actually went to the polls, maybe this sales tax would not have passed! I voted, and I voted NO! I knew it was a scare tactic when they made all of the statements about having to close certain things such as Arlie Gardens. Maybe Arlie should be handled by a private party- it seems our county should have bigger priorities. It's NO big SURPRISE that we see this mess ONCE again about property taxes the DAY AFTER the votes were counted stating that our sales tax is ONCE again going up!

get rid of Thompson

get rid of Thompson immediateley!!!!!!! Impeach or overthrow!!!!!!!

Amen, overthrow or impeach,

Amen, overthrow or impeach, I dont think anyone would care as long as he is no longer involved in this community!

Re: Amen!!!

I agree with you Dennis. We need to band together and make certain his re-election campaign will go down in flames.....He is smug and fails to realize that he is a public servant. He is to serve the wishes and needs of the people not his wishes and needs.

calculators

We got suckered. I voted for the sales tax so they wouldn't raise property taxes.. Yeah we got suckered

Friend, you are not a sucker

Friend, you are not a sucker for voting for this sales tax increase. Don't put yourself down for your decision. The citizens of New Hanover County have been VICTIMIZED by LIARS.

Remember, coming in November is the real opportunity to tell these politicians where to go. They should go ELSEWHERE.

New Hanover Tax Man Cometh

Unfortunately, what's done is done and we can't undo what's been done. We can thank the selfish or ignorant fools who voted to take their neighbors money by electing high-tax special interests to the County and City government.

But what we can do is send them all a message by voting for the most ethical, decent candidate opposed to wasteful spending for good ole boys and the high taxes needed to pay for that spending we've seen in years. And in the process, by voting for that candidate, Brian Berger, on June 22, we can remove from office a career politician who has been robbing us left and right for years, spending our money like his own credit card, negotiating to bring Titan Cement here, giving us the ABC corruption, the Cape Fear Utility authority, and...

...it's time to send our leaders a message by electing Brian Berger, the principled candidate, over the career politician who spent 50 times more than Berger but barely got more votes.

Let's all get behind Berger and he will be our eyes and ears in County government. We haven't had that in so long...

Who's with me?

Caster opposing a tax increase?

Oh. He just wants to reduce it....it must be an election year, huh Bill?

Reading this story, one should not miss the irony of the premature concern about bond ratings for future projects. That's like worrying about a stain on your carpet while a broken pipe is flooding your house, because there will be no future projects if people start leaving this county for greener, less taxed pastures. High urban taxation is one of the largest reasons in fostering suburban growth and in tiny New Hanover County, suburban growth means OUT of the county.

Review the history of the formerly thriving cities in the Rustbelt and you will find the same argument pitched - "Raise taxes to protect our bond rating. Raise taxes to pay for more and more private projects. Raise taxes to now pay for critical services because we've blown all our money on non-essential crap we thought was cool."

How long before a local income tax comes to town?

It didn't work there, it won't work here. The people who are the most capable of paying higher taxes are also the most capable of leaving! The commissioners mistakenly believe that the retirees won't move again. (I know of two couples who are heading for Tennessee and another couple heading to Florida, all because of taxes.) The commissioners don't realize that many corporations consider the welfare of their employees before choosing a location, and "Oh, but we have a beautiful garden you can pay even more money to visit" is no trade-off for high taxes. Young couples just starting their careers need a pro-business, low tax environment. Wilmington, New Hanover County, and North Carolina now all miss the mark in that regard.

Everyone should be sick of it. How much do we waste on museums, soccer leagues, Airlie Gardens, and a dozen other pet projects that are no business of government? For God's sake, people, we're furloughing county employees and cutting back on teachers to pay for museums that can't support themselves because they stink!

As long as the people of New Hanover County keep electing people such as Caster (and the village idiot Thompson) you DESERVE the back-slapping, rubber-stamped corruption and financial mismanagement that have become the hallmarks of this county.

Anybody But CASTER

Wrong man- wrong time -wrong experience- wrong for the County. I can't agree with all you have said about some--but this guy's nasty and clearly in the pocket of aspecial interests. Are we better off now than when he was elected four years ago- No way--Caster must go--if not now--the in general election.This latest episode shows a County Board --out of touch and lacking in both integrity and competence--
It's our future- do we accept more of the same or change for the better.
As for me--- Anybody But Caster!

Thank you so much for those

Thank you so much for those comments. I tried to warn people the property tax would go up even if the sales tax passed, but I guess they did not listen. What is it going to take?

Good Points

a recent study, which I commented on in another post, noted NC is one of the bottom 5 states for industry. Corporate and personal tax rates contributed to that. "Low" property tax rates partially offset those negatives; the study noted had it not been for the low property tax rates, NC would have fallen all the way to the bottom -- even below New York and California.

Everyone who voted to approve that sales tax increase, with the promise there would be no property tax increase, should look in the mirror and see a Big Tootsie Roll Sucker.

I own property; I have to pay the taxes. I don't live in the county; I don't have to frequent county stores, restaurants and retail outlets. I'll drive to Raleigh if my wife wants to go to Ruth's Chris.

promises?

I keep hearing people say that the County promised no property tax increase if the sales tax increase passed. I didn't recall that - but would appreciate it if someone could show me that. It would definitely influence my voting. I only remember them saying that Airlie and the libraries would be safe.

Jason Thompson said "If the

Jason Thompson said "If the sales tax is passed then everything else is off the table", if you watch WWAY commercial about bringing the news results first, as it ends Mr Thompson is recorded making that statement! What a joke!

I did not attend meetings

my comments were based on news reports, on this station, in which they made it very clear property tax increases were tied to the passing or failure to pass of this initiative.

They, and I mean Mr. Thompson and Mr. Caster, made it clear by what they said and did not say.

Ditto

I don't recall them saying that either. I also realized that regardless of which way we voted on Tuesday. They already had every intention of raising property taxes. The only question for them was by how much. With unemployment at record highs you would think they would use come basic common sense.