Williams vows to fight road tax

Published 9:17 am Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WINTON – Loria Williams is upset and she feels every Hertford County citizen should be as well.

The Hertford County Manager said a bill filed in the North Carolina Senate has the potential to cost county taxpayers nearly $4 million.

Williams, speaking at last week’s Hertford County Commissioners meeting, said she was taking a firm stance against Senate Bill 758 (Transfer Secondary Roads to Counties). The bill, as proposed by Senator Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County, shifts the state’s existing responsibility for funding transportation construction and maintenance projects to county governments. The proposed legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

“If approved, this would have a considerable impact on the way we do business here in Hertford County,” Williams said. “We need to fight this locally.”

At stake is an estimated $3.8 million worth of funds that Hertford County would be responsible for generating to meet the needs of road construction and maintenance.

Based on numbers from the Department of Transportation, Hertford County has 329.69 miles worth of secondary roads. Using DOT’s 2007-08 budget numbers, $3,779,710 was earmarked for Hertford County in road maintenance, resurfacing and enhancement projects. Those figures include $1.92 million in Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund projects.

Williams said if the payment burden shifts from the state to the county, Hertford County residents would be faced with a 32.4 cent tax increase (per each $100 of property value).

“Our citizens cannot stand this,” Williams said.

The county manager said there was a big disparity between what just one cent of a tax increase was able to generate in a metro county like Mecklenburg compared to a small rural county such as Hertford.

“With their large tax base, a one-cent tax increase in Mecklenburg can generate over nine million dollars in revenue while a one-cent increase here in Hertford County would net a little over $116,000,” she noted. “It’s like that all over the state when you compare the bigger counties to the smaller, rural ones.”

Williams’ concerns were carried over to Commissioner DuPont Davis’ portion of the meeting where he gives an update from the North Carolina County Commissioners Association.

“They oppose this and we should too,” Davis said. “We don’t want this. The citizens of this county cannot stand this, they can’t stand these higher taxes.”