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Commissioners unanimously approve postponement of county sales tax increase
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Commissioners unanimously approve postponement of county sales tax increase

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As a late addition to Tuesday night’s agenda, Commissioner Gene Houpe introduced a measure to postpone a county sales tax increase that was planned to be discussed in county budget meetings in the coming months.

After roughly 10 minutes of discussion among the board, the resolution passed unanimously, postponing any potential sales tax increase in Iredell County for at least a couple of years.

“Historically, we’ve never gone to the voters for any type of bond or tax increase unless there’s no other revenue stream available,” Houpe said. “We have a revenue stream now with the stimulus money that is being made available by the state and federal government that we think can bridge the gap for the next couple of years.”

The tax increase, which was on track to be put on the 2022 ballot for Iredell County residents to vote on, was set to increase sales tax in the county by $0.0025. According to Houpe, county sales tax generates roughly between $6 and 7 million in revenue annually for Iredell, with about 60 percent of that coming from non-residents traveling through the county on the major interstates.

“(Sales tax) is the fairest revenue stream to consider,” Houpe said. “If you raise property tax, you’re asking less than 70 percent of the people to carry 100 percent of the tax load.”

Based on last year, Iredell County is anticipating between $34 and 36 million in stimulus money to arrive in 2021. The towns and school districts will also receive stimulus money of their own to help to further bolster the revenue stream.

“In a conservative county, we are always obligated to be good stewards of the taxpayer dollars,” Houpe said. “I felt like we should use the stimulus money to take on some of the one-time expenditures and not take on any recurring annual debt.”

During the meeting, the commissioners also approved more than $300,000 in funding for two volunteer fire departments, Monticello and West Iredell, to purchase land for new stations. The money will come from the Countywide Fire Tax District unreserved fund balance.

They also passed resolutions naming April 5-11 as “Public Health Week” and April 11-17 as “National Telecommunicator Week”. They also named April 2021 as their “National 911 Education Month”.

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Other matters addressed Tuesday night:

A public hearing to consider a request from applicant Joe Strickland, representing Teramore Development, to rezone approximately 1.69 acres at the corner of Ostwalt Amity Road and Bethesda Road.

A request from Iredell-Statesville Schools for approval of advancement of bond proceeds for the new high school, capital project ordinance and the 2014 reserve bond proceeds priorities.

A request from the library for approval to apply for a COVID-19 Response Mini-Grant from the State Library of North Carolina.

A request from Parks & Recreation for approval to nominate East Iredell Lions Club in the Lowe’s Hometown Grant Program.

A request from Building Standards for a sole-source award and approval of contract to acquire Tyler Technologies ENERGOV software solution.

A request from Planning & Development to consider calling for a public hearing on April 20 at 7 p.m. in regard to a request by Charles Myers to release zoning and subdivision jurisdiction to the Town of Mooresville.

A request from Planning & Development to consider calling for a public hearing on April 20 at 7 p.m. in regard to a request by Jennifer Holt to release zoning and subdivision jurisdiction to the Town of Mooresville.

A request from Planning & Development to consider calling for a public hearing on April 20 at 7 p.m. in regard to a text amendment to the Land Development Code.

A request from Tax Administration for approval of a resolution in opposition to the highlighted section of Senate Bill 196 that pertains to court-appointed commissioner’s fees.

The next commissioner’s meeting will take place on April 20 at 7 p.m. at the Iredell County Government Center.

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