New Hanover County staff proposes tax increase in budget, citing voter funding mandates


With budget deadlines coming in June, the staffs of both the New Hanover County government and city of Wilmington proposed their spending plans this week. While the county manager proposed a property tax increase to the board of commissioners, the city manager forwarded a budget that kept the tax rate steady.

During the Monday, May 2 New Hanover County Board of Commissioners meeting, county manager Chris Coudriet laid out the spending priorities in the proposed $317.7 million budget, a 3 percent increase over the prior year. He said the county budget needed approximately $16 million in new taxes to help pay for voter-approved spending obligations from recent years.

Coudriet said the 5.5 cent raise in property taxes was considered as a means to address nearly $340 million in total debts from voter mandates, like upgrades to the park system and the construction of the Cape Fear Community College Humanities and Fine Arts Center.

“We are only asking for a tax increase to fund debt service from voter-approved bonds,” Coudriet said.

The board of commissioners will schedule work sessions to review the proposed budget, which would need to be approved by June 27 at the latest, Coudriet said.

“We have a lot to contemplate,” said county commissioner Skip Watkins, while commissioner Rob Zapple noted, “We have a ways to go on this.”

Meanwhile, the city proposed a $104 million budget that didn’t raise taxes. However, the budget plan presented during the Tuesday, May 3 Wilmington City Council meeting did lay out about $800,000 as a one-time strategic use of the city’s surplus fund to achieve the balance. The city budget included nearly $675,000 in new community safety spending, including funding for three additional police officers.

The Wilmington City Council will review and adopt the budget after a May 17 public hearing, a May 27 workshop and during the June 7 and June 21 council meetings.

email [email protected]

Copyright 2016 Lumina News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Leave A Reply

WP-Backgrounds by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann