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New London approves sales tax resolution

By Jesse Deal, for the SNAP

On Wednesday morning, New London Mayor Tate Daniels signed a resolution to support the Stanly County quarter-cent sales tax referendum in November.

The motion to do so was unanimously approved at the town’s board meeting Tuesday night by Commissioners Johnny Chestnut, Christy Starnes and Marcus Mullis. Commissioner Dan Phillips and Mayor Pro-tem Bill Peak were absent.

The resolution states the New London commissioners endorse the sales tax to Stanly County residents and recommend voters choose to vote “yes” on Nov. 6. It mentions the board believes that “this is a fair and equitable tax for all concerned applying to all consumers.”

The New London Board spent the majority of its meeting discussing the logistics and effectiveness of the tax plan which is designed to fund the local school system.

Stanfield Councilman Rick Williams initially presented the topic to the room alongside N.C. House District 67 hopeful Wayne Sasser and county commissioner candidate Zach Almond.

“I was awestruck to find out that we have elementary schools in our county that don’t even have security cameras on their front doors,” Williams said. “Assuming it’s passed, the first phase of the quarter-cent sales tax is to ultimately secure our schools. That’s going to take a good bit of time and money — we all know that security isn’t cheap. The second phase is to make necessary repairs to our schools.”

The Stanly County commissioners, school board and superintendent have already discussed and approved the tax plan, hoping that it can generate $1-2 million in funding. The expectation is it would make enough money to keep the current property tax rate stable instead of an increase by 4 percent.

“I have personally supported this quarter-cent sales tax since the first time it came up,” Mayor Tate Daniels said. “We just have some people in Stanly County who can’t do math and don’t understand what they’re doing. Should we have a thousand property owners pay or should we have 60,000 people pay? Sales tax is by far the fairest way.”

Though he eventually voted for the resolution, Chestnut had his doubts on the sales tax’s actual effectiveness for schools, claiming this is the third different plan involving that particular tax.

“It started out with 911 radios and then the second one was some salaries, so what’s going to happen with this one?” he asked. “Is it going to change again? I’ve actually gotten confused and disgusted over it changing so much. And then are they going to turn around and raise our property taxes up anyway?”

Chestnut said another concern of his is that the tax is going to be a fixed rate and will only cover so much funding since it’s not an endless supply of revenue.

“I’m in support of it if it will for sure go toward education,” Starnes said. “I’d much rather it go up than the property taxes.”

The New London Town Board will hold its next meeting on Election Night, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m.

Jesse Deal is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.