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County, school board members to talk sales tax referendum

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By Brian Slattery

BOLIVIA — Brunswick County commissioners will pitch a quarter-cent county sales tax increase to the town boards and civic organizations in person.

County board members voted 4-1 on Feb. 24 to add a voter referendum for the quarter-cent county sales tax increase to the May 6 primary election ballot.

Commissioner Frank Williams was the dissenting vote.

Following the vote, county public information officer Amanda Hutcheson asked commissioners to help publicize the referendum.

Hutcheson will coordinate with Jessica Swencki, Brunswick County Schools’ quality assurance and community engagement executive director, to have at least one school official and at least one county official — board member or administrator — appear at each municipality’s board meeting to answer questions.

Commissioners agreed to put the one-quarter cent sales tax increase on the ballot to help fund school and beach infrastructure projects.

Their goal of going out into the community is to ensure residents have information about the cost of upcoming projects and the impact of a tax increase.

The county will also coordinate with volunteer, service and professional organizations to arrange visits or question and answer sessions.

The county and school officials could begin making the rounds at town meetings this month.

Hutcheson said the county will try to provide up-to-date figures on the actual cost of beach projects and school system capital costs and use figures from U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics to show the impact to an average resident of the additional quarter-cent tax increase.

They intend to answer questions brought by the municipalities and seek their input.

Hutcheson said they have to clarify the difference between educating on the referendum and advocating for the tax increase.

“It’s important to get the facts out there,” Chairman Phil Norris said.

 

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.