Tax proposals to be on November ballot

Published 10:11 am Thursday, August 30, 2018

County commissioners earlier this month approved two tax referendums for voters to decide in November – one a countywide vote and one only for voters who reside in the Advance Fire District.

All voters in the county will decide whether a quarter cent sales tax will be levied, all of which would go to emergency services. The tax would not apply to gasoline, groceries, prescription medications and some agricultural supplies.

Fire departments will still receive the 4-cent property tax approved in 1981, and all would remain at a base operations level. The extra money would be allocated to departments based on property values. The sheriff’s department, EMS and E911 would also receive new funds.

Public safety needs continue to increase, and commissioners were adament that property taxes not be increased to meet those needs, said County Manager John Eller.

“We have to keep up with those needs and we have to ensure future sustainability. That’s something we can’t jeopardize,” Eller said.

The move would place part of the tax burden on visitors, not just property owners, he said. The proposal was passed unanimously by the board.

“The need for public safety is more and more on our minds. It’s everyone’s opportunity to do a small part to keep our communities safe.”

It would mean an extra 25 cents for every $100 spent.

“Our needs continue to increase. These are the folks on the front line who see those needs every day.”

Eller has been meeting with the public safety professionals, explaining how the money will be allocated.

Mark Jones pointed out that if this doesn’t meet voter approval, it would be two years before the county could re-visit the issue.

“We believe this is the fairest way to handle this,” said board chair, Terry Renegar. “We hope everyone gets educated and works to help us pass this in November.”

“It’s important to look at what’s happening around us,” said
Commissioner John Ferguson. Two counties have adopted such a tax, and another is considering the same option. “This is the best way to raise funds for what we need for our emergency services.”

After a petition asking for a referendum for the Advance Fire District was presented with 35 percent of registered voters asking for it, commissioners approved putting that on November’s ballot, as well. It would not include Bermuda Run corporate limits. The property tax could not exceed 15 cents.

Since the 35 percent voter threshhold was reached, the commissioners were required by state law to put it on the ballot.

The ballot question, with voters choosing “in favor of” or “against,” will read:

“The County of Davie shall be allowed to levy and collect a special tax on all taxable property in the area which encompasses the Advance Volunteer Fire Department Fire Insurance and Response Area as seen on the map adopted by the Board of County Commissioners and approved by the North Carolina Department of Insurance (save an except the area within the corporate limits of the Town of Bermuda Run) said tax not to exceed 15 cent ($0.15) on the one hundred dollars ($100.00) valuation of property, for the purpose of providing fire protection in said district.”