Author: mvolkmar

  • Why is this being explored now? 

    A majority of the Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to place the referendum for a quarter-cent sales tax on the November ballot for residents to vote on. The county does not currently have a dedicated source of revenue to support overall public transportation improvements, and this sales tax would allow for a sustainable funding […]

  • What will be included on the November ballot? 

    The ballot language is stipulated in NCGS 105-511.2(b) and will ask if the voter is for or against the following: One-quarter percent (1/4%) local sales and use taxes, in addition to the current local sales and use taxes, to be used only for public transportation systems.  

  • How much would be raised through the sales tax? 

    Approximately $14 million a year, based on current averages and projections. With the estimated growth rate, the sales tax could bring in approximately $144 million over the next 10 years, with continued growth in the years that follow. 

  • How much would this sales tax cost me? 

    The sales tax would be one quarter of a penny – so it would equal 25 cents for every $100 dollar spent. As another example, for a household spending around $10,000 a year on eligible goods in the county, this sales tax would equate to an additional $25 a year.  The sales tax would be […]

  • Who would receive the transportation sales tax dollars? 

    Based on the North Carolina sales tax statute, distribution of this transportation sales tax is for municipalities and counties that operate a transportation system. New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington have an interlocal agreement that formed Wave Transit, so the county and city would receive the sales tax and would determine how it […]

  • How can the funding be used? 

    Funding from the sales tax must go toward improving public transportation. Based on a framework created by the county and city, money would be divided between three components over the first 10 years: 45 percent or $65 million to public transportation (Wave Transit), 39 percent or $56 million to improvements for bicycle and pedestrian pathways […]

  • Will the transportation sales tax be collected on groceries, medicine, and other necessary items?

    The quarter-cent transportation sales tax would not be collected on groceries that can be purchased under the NC Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, along with prescription drugs and gas. A list of items exempt from sales and use tax in North Carolina can be found here.  

  • Who would pay for this tax? 

    The quarter-cent sales tax would apply equally to anyone who purchases eligible goods in New Hanover County – including those who are visiting as a tourist or commuting into the county from somewhere nearby.   Over the past five years, visitor spending from tourism has ranged from $598 million to as high as $773 million annually […]

  • How soon would the sales tax funding be implemented and put to use? 

    If approved by voters in November and levied by the Board of Commissioners, the sales tax would be implemented in April 2023. In some cases, funding could be utilized for new opportunities in the first six months like increased hours for Wave, design for new trails, and improved crosswalks. Other projects will take time to […]

  • What are the goals for the future of trails and transit in New Hanover County? 

    The overarching goal is for our community to achieve greater mobility, accessibility, safety, and access to opportunities for the best quality of life possible. The sales tax can help accomplish that by:  Connecting people to jobs and education, benefiting our economy  Expanding reliable and efficient bus service and on-demand transit, giving access to everyone  Enhancing […]

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