County agrees to phase in sales tax change

Published 5:09 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2016

County commissioners on Monday approved a plan that will phase in a conversion on how sales tax revenues are distributed to the county’s three towns.

The measure was approved on a 3-1 vote (Dan Barrett was not present because of the death of his sister.), with John Fergusson voting against it because the three towns will not be treated the same.

For the upcoming budget year, all three towns will receive the same percentage of those revenues as in past years. For five years after that, the tax revenues going to Mocksville and Bermuda Run would reduce by 20 percent per year. For 10 years after that, those revenues going to Cooleemee would reduce by 10 percent per year.

Mark Jones, who voted against the original plan to change the way the taxes are distributed, said that while he is still opposed to the change, the phase-in method is much fairer to the towns.

“This alternative is not perfect … but it could have been immediately devastating.”

He was quick to point out that every April, county commissioners can change the method of sales tax distribution – an ad valorem method or a per capita method. “This can be changed,” he said. “No board can be legally bound by a previous board.”

“Though not painless, this should ease the pain,” he said.

Board chair, Terry Renegar,  thinks the difference in the sales tax distribution methods will come closer in the coming years.

“I think this is a much fairer proposal,” Renegar said. “It gives the towns time to prepare.”