Sales tax hike approved

Published 9:27 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The third time was the charm for Hertford County officials.

In a referendum held Tuesday, Hertford County voters overwhelmingly approved a quarter-cent hike in the state sales tax. The measure was defeated the first two times it came before the local voters.

According to unofficial numbers from the Hertford County Board of Elections, 1,104 voted in favor of the slight increase in the sales tax while 161 opposed the measure.

Turnout, as expected, was low with only 9.07 percent of the county’s 14,000 registered voters going to the polls.

The Hertford County Board of Commissioners, discussing the proposed sales tax increase during several recent meetings, say the additional funds will be earmarked for capital improvement projects.

“The county’s aging infrastructure – i.e., water, schools, county buildings and major mechanical systems – is in need of repair and/or replacement,” stated a resolution approved by the commissioners in support of the quarter-cent sales tax increase.

Pending capital improvement projects include:

Mechanical systems upgrade at Roanoke-Chowan Community College ($100,000);

E911 system upgrade due to obsolete equipment ($400,000);

Courthouse renovation/construction ($7.5 million); and

Jail roof repair/replacement ($250,000).

Now with voter approval, the state sales tax at Hertford County businesses will increase from 7.75 cents (per $1 purchase) to 8 cents. Even with that small of an increase, the new tax money is projected to generate $350,000 annually.