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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

New Hanover County wants public input on proposed ¼-cent 'transportation sales tax'

New Hanover County

During next week’s Board of Commissioners meeting, the public will have the chance to weigh in on a proposal to put a ¼-cent sales tax on the ballot in November.

According to the county, the proposed sales tax would generate $144 million over ten years if approved, coming from an additional 25 cents on every $100 purchase in New Hanover County — with some exceptions, like groceries, gas, and prescriptions. Currently, the combined state tax and county sales tax in New Hanover is 7%, with county tax at 2%. The proposed increase would raise that combined rate to 7.25%.

The current plan would divide the money up, with roughly 40% going to bike and pedestrian paths in the city and county, 15% going to rail realignment, and 45% going to WAVE and Bus Rapid Transit. That could change at the will of the commissioners in the future — but the funding would have to be for public transportation, and couldn’t be used to substitute for existing funding for programs.

Related: NHC commissioners will vote on whether to add 1/4-cent sales tax to November ballot

State law requires the county to hold a public hearing as part of the ballot process. According to the county, “ Individuals interested in providing comments should attend the meeting, which will be held at the New Hanover County Courthouse (24 North 3rd Street, Room 301) and begin at 4 p.m.” The public may also view the meeting live at NHCTV.com, YouTube, and Spectrum Cable channel 13.

Only those physically present at the Monday, May 2 meeting will have their comments added to the public record — but those that cannot make it to the meeting should contact county commissioners directly (you can find contact informationhere or reach all five commissioners at this address: nhccommissioners@nhcgov.com).

After hearing the public comments, commissioners will decide whether or not to include the sales tax increase on the November ballot. If it receives more than 50% of the vote, it will pass – but the final decision is still up to the board of commissioners, who would need to take another vote after the general election to implement the tax.