County proposes sales tax for emergency services

Published 8:45 am Thursday, August 9, 2018

Davie County commissioners have approved adding a quarter-cent sales and use tax for voters to decide on the Nov. 6 ballot, with the extra money going to emergency services.

“We feel that seeking additional funding through the sales tax option, enables us to generate funding not just from residents, but from visitors to our community,” said County Manager John Eller. “Whether people come to Davie County to shop, dine or make other purchases, the sales tax they pay can ultimately benefit our area and go directly to support public safety in Davie County.

“We can think of no better time and reason to explore this 1/4 cent sales and use tax revenue.  Our emergency service providers are being faced with new dilemmas that not only require increased manpower, but access to training and equipment that is needed to respond in certain events so that we are protected.  This is everyone’s opportunity to do a small part to help keep our community safe,” said Eller.

If passed by voters, all funds generated would go to support public safety (fire, sheriff’s office, emergency services, and 911/communications).

“Our needs continue to increase due to the day and time in which we live. Our public safety officials are responding to events in our community today, that weren’t an issue 20 years ago,” Eller said. “Responses relating to drugs (specifically pertaining to opioids), the increase in domestic violence disputes, the need for extra security in public places, have resulted in the need for additional funds. This funding source would allow us to support our community’s needs, and also provide our public safety professionals with the tools and equipment they need, without any effect to the current property tax rate.”

Only certain items would be subject to the new tax rate.  Items such as clothing, household supplies, electronics and prepared food and drinks (i.e. restaurant/store) would be taxed. For example, a purchase made at a local restaurant in the amount of $30, would cost buyers an additional 8-cents. Items such as groceries (unprepared foods), prescription medication, gasoline, certain agricultural supplies and motor vehicles would not be subject to the sales tax.

Commissioners were unanimous in their support of the new funding opportunity and hope that residents will see this as a positive way to support public safety.

For more information about the 1/4-cent Sales and Use Tax, including frequently asked questions, visit

A release from the county didn’t specifically say how much of the estimated $817,533 annual revenue would go to each emergency service provider. It did say that fire departments would receive funds based on total property value in the district, with base funds department funds currently receiving remaining the same for those with a lower property value.

Following are comments from commissioners.

John Ferguson: “With the ¼ cent sales and use tax, visitors who are coming through our county will help support our public safety needs.  Other counties around us have utilized the ¼ cent sales and use tax to help support county services.  We need to make sure we sustain and support the services that maintain our quality of life in Davie County.”

Mark Jones: “Davie County is a great place to live, recreate, and worship.  Safety is important to us all, and we have to do anything that we can to support our public safety responders without putting more pressure on the backs of our citizens who pay property tax. The ¼ cent sales and use tax is the more equitable way to approach our public safety needs in order to maintain and sustain these critical services throughout our county.”

Richard Poindexter: “We do not need to raise property taxes. Therefore, the ¼ cent sales and use tax would help us avoid raising property taxes on our citizens to support public safety.  It would also require visitors who come to Davie County to help contribute because they will be purchasing items that will help support our public safety needs.”

Terry Renegar: “Public safety costs have risen over the past several years and will continue to rise. The primary reason for escalating costs are personnel and capital needs. I believe the ¼ cent sales and use tax dedicated to public safety is the fairest way to address these rising costs.”

Robert Wisecarver: “The ¼ cent sales and Use Tax would ensure that everyone is contributing to the fund to support public safety needs in Davie County, because both would be purchasing goods.  We have to support these important core services for both the residents of Davie County and visitors. Everyone contributing and sharing in the cost is the fairest way to support these services for everyone.”