NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – At Monday’s meeting, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to move forward with adding a quarter-cent transportation sales tax for citizens to vote on as part of the November 2022 ballot.
The quarter-cent sales tax would fund transportation improvements, including enhancing bus services offered by Wave Transit with the opportunity to add dedicated bus lanes in the future, adding new interconnected bicycle and pedestrian paths in both the city and unincorporated areas of the county, and rail realignment – all to improve public transportation in the community.
“This sales tax would apply to residents and visitors who make purchases in New Hanover County, and would be equal to an individual spending an additional penny for every $4 spent,” said Chief Financial Officer Lisa Wurtzbacher, who presented an overview of the sales tax and its potential uses to Commissioners. “It could potentially generate more than $144 million in funding over 10 years, which would be dedicated to increasing efficient and effective transportation options in our community and expanding connectivity with trails that are safe and convenient for residents.”
Under the Local Government Sales and Use Taxes for Public Transportation Article 43, funds generated from this sales tax cannot replace existing funding that is currently allocated for public transportation-related needs and cannot be used toward general street or road improvements.
Before being officially added to the ballot, the Commissioners will receive public input on the potential sales tax during a public hearing which will be scheduled in the coming months. Following a public hearing, the Commissioners will determine whether to adopt a resolution directing the Board of Elections to place a referendum on the November ballot. If it moves forward and the sales tax is approved by voters in November, the Commissioners will then need to pass a resolution to levy the tax beginning in 2023.