Davis warns of ‘movement’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2007

WINTON – Be aware.

Hertford County Commissioner Dupont L. Davis is constantly preaching that message to his fellow commissioners.

He did so again last week when he informed the other members of the commission of what he called a “movement” amongst some members of the North Carolina General Assembly.

“There is a movement in Raleigh to make counties responsible for highway improvement and expansion,” Davis said. “I told those whom I have talked to that I would rather have kept Medicaid.”

Davis said that he was concerned about the possibility of having road improvement shifted to counties because of the cost.

“We know we cannot afford to take on road improvement with the 91-cent tax base we already have,” Davis said. “We also know that citizens living on fixed incomes cannot afford for the tax rate to continue to go up.”

Davis told his fellow commissioners the board would have to fight to stop the movement, which he said was being led by State Senator Clark Jenkins of Martin County.

“I am suggesting we contact our representatives in Raleigh and urge them to say no,” Davis said. “If we don’t head this off, the 91-cent tax rate will have to increase.”

Davis said there were some saying the tax rates for counties were too low. He called that statement “ignorant” and said each county’s tax base was based on the cost of living. Even those with low tax rates paid a lot of money in taxes because of the cost of living.

He also warned that if the movement to pass on those costs to the counties isn’t averted, it would mean problems for the citizens of Hertford County.

“We don’t need to add to the tax rate, but if the state passes the cost of road expansion and road repair, it will be a sad day for us,” Davis said.

The other commissioners listened intently to Davis as he spoke of what could be coming down the road and agreed to help stop the cost being passed on if they could.

Davis said he would continue to monitor the situation through the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and would keep the board updated on any potential news.