Carolina Beach Council Adopts 2015-2016 Budget; No Tax Increase

Carolina Beach Council Adopts 2015-2016 Budget; No Tax Increase Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 10 June 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council adopted the 2015-2016 budget during their June 9th, meeting. The new fiscal year begins July 1st.
The property tax rate remains the same at $.235 per $100 of property valuation. No water, sewer or storm water rate increases, but there is a 2.5% increase in the contract for trash and recycling services.
Employees will get a 2 % cost-of-living raise and up to a 3% Merit pay increase.
The Council also adopted a new pay study that makes adjustments to levels of pay and positions. Councilman Steve Shuttleworth explained, "I'm still disappointed we can't reduce taxes when we could. I understand that would cause us a sales tax reduction from the county. I'm really hoping council in the future will work hard with our state legislators because that's where it's going to have to come from to get an offset from the county."
If the Town lowered the property tax rate it would in turn reduce the amount of sales tax revenues it receives back from the State and County.
Each local government in New Hanover County - and all North Carolina Counties - have two options to distribute sales tax revenues collected within their jurisdictions. One is based on total property valuation while the other option is based on per-capita (population).
New Hanover County uses the property valuation method. Each year when local governments adopt their fiscal year budgets, the ones that raise their property tax rate get a larger share of the total sales tax revenues collected in the county.
Those that reduce their tax rate receive less. Those that maintain the same rate as the previous year are impacted by the other local governments that raise their property tax rates.
Shuttleworth referenced legislation proposed in the State General Assembly that would redistribute a larger share of state sales tax revenues from larger cities to
smaller ones thus costing Counties such as New Hanover millions of dollars a year with Carolina Beach losing about a half a million dollars a year.
Shuttleworth explained, "I know that the Mayor Pro Tem and Mayor have both commented to our County Commissioners. It's just unreasonable to be in a position where we could reduce our property tax for our citizens yet if we do that it's punitive. We get penalized because we lose sales tax. I think we should continue to push hard on that."
He praised Town staff in reducing the cost of doing business.
Mayor Dan Wilcox said, "We did use some fund reserve for capital projects but that is a commitment Council has made on numerous infrastructure projects and there is a cost for that. Our fund reserves, fortunately were worked hard on over the years to put us in a position that we could do that."
The Council voted unanimously to adopt the budget.

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