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Goolsby to file bill to exempt Monkey Junction residents from city tax

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District) plans to file a bill in the General Assembly that would keep Monkey Junction residents from paying taxes to Wilmington for the six months they were part of the city.

Goolsby told city council members this morning that he plans to file the bill. Rep. Ted Davis (R-19th District) is expected to coordinate the bill in the House of Representatives if the Senate approves the measure.

Wilmington annexed about 1,000 acres of Monkey Junction in January 2012 after a court ruling found that changes the General Assembly made to annexation laws were unconstitutional. However, the General Assembly later passed a law that requires cities to get approval from a majority of property owners before involuntary annexations can go forward. Monkey Junction residents overwhelmingly opted out of the annexation.

City projections estimate the six months Monkey Junction was in the city generated about $100,000 in tax revenue. The city has not sent bills to residents affected.

An initial legal opinion from the Wilmington City Attorney's Office found that the state constitution would prohibit the city from exempting Monkey Junction property owners from paying city taxes for that six-month period. Goolsby, though, found an alternative, the city says. If the General Assembly passes it, the bill would essentially prohibit cities from charging city taxes for properties that are not inside the city limits for at least six months.

"We don't want to bill these Monkey Junction residents for such a short time and for such limited city operational costs if at all possible," Mayor Bill Saffo said in a statement. "It doesn't seem fair with all the uncertainty surrounding this situation. Sen. Goolsby has been very helpful in finding what we hope will be a solution supported by the full General Assembly. We very much appreciate the support of our local delegation and look forward to resolving this situation as soon as possible."

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