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What amenities does a county resident enjoy for free that the taxes of a city resident pay for?

Shelby Sebens
StarNews

Q. With all the talk of no forced annexation, what amenities does a county resident enjoy for free that the taxes of a city resident pay for?

A.  Here is the answer from city spokeswoman Malissa Talbert:

• Cities and towns invest heavily in infrastructure, e.g., roads, sidewalks, police, fire, water and sewer services to enable the new jobs. This infrastructure is heavily used by those who reside outside the municipal limits. For example, more than 50 percent of the traffic accidents that Wilmington Police respond to involve non-city residents; 24 percent of those accidents involve New Hanover County residents. In addition, city parks are heavily used by non-city residents and city streets are extensively traveled by non-city residents. City residents alone carry the burden for providing this infrastructure.

• In New Hanover County, businesses inside the Wilmington city limits generate more than 80 percent of sales taxes collected, but only about 20 percent of those revenues are returned to the city. Instead, the majority of sales tax revenues are distributed to New Hanover County. The city has no say in how sales tax revenues are distributed, only the county government or the N.C. legislature can make that change. According to state law, sales tax revenue can be distributed based on population or an ad valorem tax basis; New Hanover County’s is distributed on an ad valorem basis.

(The county has discretion over how it distributes sales tax. New Hanover County distributes it to the city and the beach towns based on an “ad valorem” tax basis, meaning how much property tax revenue the municipality brings in. The city argues a population-based distribution would split the sales tax evenly between the county and city and be more fair.)

• Another very tangible example is the Wilmington Fire Department’s automatic aid agreement with New Hanover County. This basically means calls for service are automatically responded to by the closest fire department, regardless of whether the call is inside or outside the city limits. Because New Hanover County is so small and Wilmington has more fire stations and more equipment than the county, city firefighters respond to more calls outside the city limits than the county responds to calls inside the city limits. The Wilmington Fire Department is funded through the city’s budget and does not receive funding from the county.

• For homeowners inside the Monkey Junction area who were going to be annexed into the city, the city was going to pay for water and sewer hook-ups for those that did not already have service from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. Those hook-ups cost more than $9,000 per household.

RELATED LINKS:

Can New Hanover County annex parts of Wilmington?  

How many taxpayers are there in the City of Wilmington and how many in New Hanover County?

Is Wilmington still buying Inland Greens Golf Course?

User-contributed question by:
J Brown

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8 Responses to “ What amenities does a county resident enjoy for free that the taxes of a city resident pay for?”

  1. On June 14, 2012 at 10:26 am JT wrote:

    “For example, more than 50 percent of the traffic accidents that Wilmington Police respond to involve non-city residents; 24 percent of those accidents involve New Hanover County residents.” A quick read of this sentence makes it appear that nearly half of all accidents inside the city limits involve NHC residents, when in fact it’s around 12%. No need to mislead, Ms Talbert.

  2. On June 14, 2012 at 11:43 am Carol Sanders wrote:

    From now on, I’ll be sure to drive only on State and Federal roads, such as 421, 17, 132, 74,76. That will get me out of town where I can spend my money instead of in Wilmington. And don’t advertise so that tourists will come to Wilmington; they don’t pay taxes. The very idea, How dare tourist think they can do such a thing.
    I could go on and on, but what’s the use. The city thinks they have everything to offer. If that were true, we would all be crying to live in the city. As for the parks….if you don’t have the money, shut them down. Too many big cities can no longer annex, and they are thriving. Try NY City, Los Angeles and San Francisco!

  3. On June 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm MBB wrote:

    “For homeowners inside the Monkey Junction area who were going to be annexed into the city, the city was going to pay for water and sewer hook-ups for those that did not already have service from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. Those hook-ups cost more than $9,000 per household.”

    So why is it that there are still areas off of Greenville Loop Road (been in the city for many years now), that are still on well water and have no hydrants anywhere close to them? Why have they not been afforded the same services? Look out for your current residents before you try to take on more!

  4. On June 15, 2012 at 10:00 am John Scott wrote:

    Perhaps the county receives a larger portion of the sales tax revenue because the country provides (or pays for) services to all NHC residents. For example; 911, animal control, health inspectors, courts, library, jail, ems ect ect.

    If WFD isnt happy about responding to addresses outside of the city limits then why did they sign the mutual agreement with NHC fire? No one forced their hand. I would also like to see the actual numbers of how often NHC fire responds inside the city limits vs how often WFD goes outside.

    Lastly, exactly what neighborhoods in MJ do not already have CFPU service? That was a bold face lie.

  5. On June 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm malissa talbert wrote:

    Response to Comment #1: That is not correct. New Hanover County residents account for 24% of accidents that the WPD responds to; another 32.4% of accidents involve citizens who do not live in NHC, with the remaining 43.5% of accidents involving city residents. Feel free to contact me or the WPD if you have additional questions or would like more information.

  6. On June 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm malissa talbert wrote:

    Response to comment #4
    Scattered properties w/o water and sewer, most in Sansara Estates

  7. On June 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm Tax payer wrote:

    How many city residents use county amenities? Justsayin !! SHUT UP.

  8. On June 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm Malissa Talbert wrote:

    In response to comment #1
    Response: That is not correct. New Hanover County residents account for 24% of accidents that the WPD responds to; another 32.4% of accidents involve citizens who do not live in NHC, with the remaining 43.5% of accidents involving city residents. Feel free to contact me or the WPD if you have additional questions or would like more information.

    In response to comment #4
    Scattered properties w/o water and sewer, most in Sansara Estates



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