Sales tax hike could help schools

Published 8:52 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously during its regular August meeting to pass a resolution supporting an initiative that could lead to an increased sales tax that would specifically benefit schools.

Wade Bartlett

Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett noted that the county received a letter from Mecklenburg County that contained a request.

“They requested we adopt a resolution which would request the General Assembly (to) pass legislation that would allow rural counties to hold a referendum to increase your sales tax from 5.3 percent to 6 percent,” he said. “If passed, the increase in that sales tax could only be used for school construction and/or renovation projects. Currently counties and schools receive one percent of the sales tax in their localities to be used to fund general operations.”

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“For Prince Edward,” he continued, “this 13.2 percent increase would raise approximately $383,000 annually only going to the schools, because however this is written, I’m sure they’re going to restrict that just to the schools. This amount would pay the debt service on anywhere from $6-8 million, maybe more, depending on the interest rate and the term of the loan.”

Bartlett added that he has contacted Del. (James) Edmund’s legislative assistant, and she verified Del. Edmunds is willing to carry this legislation forward.

“They knew about it,” he said, adding that they had already been talking about it. “Halifax has already, I think, passed this.”

The letter from Mecklenburg indicates that the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors has adopted the resolution.

“So that proposed resolution would just be showing our support along with the other counties that have been contacted to help Del. Edmunds present this to the General Assembly and get this moving forward,” Bartlett said.

The vote among Prince Edward’s supervisors was 7-0, with Lockett District Supervisor Robert M. “Bobby” Jones absent due to a death in the family.