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Shallotte may ask for share of taxes

SHALLOTTE, N.C. --The town of Shallotte is pushing for a piece of the financial pie if the county receives funds from a land-transfer tax being proposed in an advisory referendum this November.

It plans to review a resolution at a Sept. 11 planning board meeting asking for their share.

"We also have our own road concerns," said Shallotte Town Administrator Paul Sabiston. "We support the concept of a transfer tax, but we think municipalities in Brunswick County should get their share." Shallotte has tried to recruit other towns to support this measure.

But now that county commissioners voted Tuesday to include school construction projects as a recipient of some of the revenue generated, some commissioners in Carolina Shores - one town Shallotte tried to enlist in its recruiting efforts - want to stand clear of asking for their share if the voters approve the money for more than just road projects.

"We need to know that it is specifically designated for roads," Carolina Shores Commissioner Don Hart said early Tuesday before county commissioners voted to include school construction. "Until that is resolved, I think it's too soon to back this."

Hart could not be reached for comment this week.

Carolina Shores Commissioner Gere Dale said he did not support towns receiving a portion of the land-transfer tax either way, stating he was "very upset" by the tenor of the letter sent by Shallotte.

"I strongly suggest we do not send a similar letter," he told commissioners this week. Dale said county commissioners "thought they could do a responsible job with this money."

A bill approved in the closing days of the legislature allows counties to contribute financially to road construction. The bill also says the money can go toward any road project, not just those on the Department of Transportation's approved highway construction plan. Those monies could also be used for school capital projects.

Tuesday's plan stipulates that the tax money will go into its own bank account and can only be spent with a vote of the commissioners.

Bill Bittenbender, president of the Alliance of Brunswick County Property Owners Associations, said his group would actively campaign for passage of the referendum in member communities if it were only for roads.

Now that it includes school funding, he has told The Sun News that the alliance is likely to remain silent even though its board has passed a resolution in support of the tax for roads construction.

The Brunswick County Association of Realtors has already stated it will oppose the proposed tax.

Sabiston said Dare County had passed an agreement in recent years that split the revenue generated from a similar tax equally between the school system, the county and a pool of money for municipalities.

"We see it as more money for our county to spend without our input," he said. "I think the tax will have trouble passing as it is, and it will have a little chance of passing without municipal support."

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