New Hanover County Commissioners are closing in on a tough decision. Monday morning they will vote for, or against, raising property taxes as part of the county's budget. Currently the rate is 45.25 cents per one-hundred dollars of value. The budget also includes an overall eight percent decrease in operating expenses. That is about $21 million in cuts. This all stems from the county having to play catch up from a previous budget shortfall and a decline in revenues from the sales tax. Out of five commissioners, three have said they will not vote for a property tax rate increase, including Commissioner Bill Caster. He said increasing the tax rate would be devastating to residents already on tight budgets. "I just feel like enough is enough. We can't afford to have another tax increase, particularly looking at what may be coming down further from the state," he said. With the state already proposing a state-wide sales tax increase, caster said the county will have to find other ways to make up for the shortfall.
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