COLUMBUS COUNTY -- If you plan on purchasing any goods or services in Columbus County in the near future you may have to pay a little extra. There's a referendum on this year's ballot to raise the county's sales and use tax. The proposed increase is just a quarter of a percent. It may seem like a nominal amount, but for the county government, the extra revenue is crucial. For more than 70 percent of people in Columbus County the tax increase is the only issue on the ballot. Interim county manager Leo Hunt says he believes an increase in sales tax is the fairest and most practical way for the county to raise much needed revenue. Local business owner Terry Mann agrees. He voted for the referendum and says he doesn't think the tax increase will affect the average person. Mann said, "For my business I don't think there'd be any affect. It's such a small percentage. I mean, it's just a quarter of a percent on a dollar, so I mean it's not that big a deal... It's such a small increment I just don't know that I would really ever feel the difference." Hunt says the county's fund balance needs to increase by 13 percent. If the sales tax doesn't pass, the county will most likely need to increase property tax to make up the difference. Hunt says he'd rather not see a property tax increase, and that he's hoping and praying the sales tax referendum passes.
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