Sales tax change could boost town coffers
The Blowing Rock Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to support a resolution changing the way Watauga County allocates its sales tax revenue.
By changing from a per capita method to an ad valorem method, Blowing Rock and the municipalities of Beech Mountain and Seven Devils would see an increase in revenue, while the town of Boone would see a decrease.
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners has not yet made the change, but has expressed to the various municipalities that it intends to do so.
Blowing Rock’s adopted resolution states:
“Whereas, the town of Blowing Rock is a municipal subdivision and body politic of the state of North Carolina located in Watauga and Caldwell counties; and
“Whereas, N.C. General Statute 105-472 provides for the allocation of sales tax between cities and counties within North Carolina; and
“Whereas, N.C. General Statute 105-472 (b) allows a board of county commissioners to determine, on a yearly basis, whether such allocation is made on a per capita distribution or an ad valorem distribution; and
“Whereas, for a number of years, Watauga County has distributed sales tax revenues on a per capita basis to the towns and cities within Watauga County; and
“Whereas, the distribution of sales tax on a per capita basis has resulted in an inequitable share of the sales tax revenues being distributed to one municipality to the disadvantage of the towns of Blowing Rock, Beech Mountain and Seven Devils; and
“Whereas, the town of Blowing Rock acknowledges that Watauga County would potentially lose revenue under this change were it not assisted by the municipalities in supporting this change in the distribution of sales tax revenues; and
“Whereas, the town of Blowing Rock is willing to assist Watauga County in addressing its financial needs upon the relocation of sales tax revenues to an ad valorem method from a per capita method; and
“Whereas, the town of Blowing Rock appreciates its good working relationship with Watauga County and the ability of the town and county to address issues within the community to the mutual benefit of the citizens of both the town of Blowing Rock and Watauga County.
“Now therefore, be it resolved by the town council of the town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, as follows:
1. That the town of Blowing Rock supports and encourages Watauga County Board of Commissioners to adopt and pass a resolution altering the distribution of sales tax revenues between Watauga County and the municipalities from a per capita method to an ad valorem method.
2. That the town of Blowing Rock is willing to commit to Watauga County that upon the reallocation of sales tax revenues to an ad valorem method that the town of Blowing Rock will provide, as part of its budgetary process, an amount equal to 60 percent of the increase in gross revenues accruing to the town over and above the amount which would have otherwise been realized under the per capita method, to costs and expenditures as requested by Watauga County.
“Adopted this the 9th day of April 2013.”
According to Blowing Rock Town Manager Scott Hildebran, the change in sales tax allocation should bring a minimum of an additional $200,000 to the town coffers after the 60 percent transfer to Watauga County.
The town councils of Beech Mountain and Seven Devils both voted unanimously to approve similar resolutions Tuesday evening.
In other town council news, the board:
• Received an update from High Country chapter of Friends of the Parkway president Mike Kebelbeck on the 25th anniversary of the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, an event to be held in Blowing Rock Aug. 23-25. A number of Blowing Rock business owners had expressed concerns about the event blocking off Main Street from Sunset Drive to Morris Street from midnight on Friday, Aug. 23, to midnight Saturday, Aug. 24. The blocked-off street will have food, craft and merchandise vendors, plus a stage for musicians and other entertainers. The event will also feature a motorcycle “poker run” that will start at Appalachian Ski Mountain with stops in Boone, Banner Elk and Newland. The board voted 3-2 to deny a motion that would require Kebelbeck to contact Main Street merchants about their concerns.
• Voted 3-2 to approve permission for Paul McArthur to give the board a demonstration of how rickshaws would work in downtown Blowing Rock. McArthur wants to start a rickshaw business in Blowing Rock similar to ones in operation in Raleigh and Charleston, S.C. There was no timetable given for the future demonstration.
• Unanimously approved a consideration of the closing of Jamie Fort Road per the request of Samaritan’s Purse. Jamie Fort Road is a dead-end road from U.S. 321 to the parking lot of property purchased by Samaritan’s Purse in 2012, formerly the location of the Mariam and Robert Hayes Performing Arts Center. Samaritan’s Purse intends to put a gate on the road. Previously, the town of Blowing Rock maintained the road, including snow removal. At the meeting, concern was expressed about the possible renaming of the road by Samaritan’s Purse. Jamie Fort Road was named after Jamie Fort, the deceased son of Jean and Jim Fort, during a period of time when parties interested in the Hayes Center participated in naming opportunities for the various parts of the facility. There is no word on how much money the Forts spent to have the road named after their son.
• Unanimously approved a resolution to sell surplus town vehicles and equipment.
• Unanimously approved authorization to approve a service agreement with an electronic vendor to process payments of utilities and tax revenue.
• Unanimously approved a budget amendment to properly account for various items.
• Unanimously approved a resolution to support the North Carolina Park and Recreation Trust Fund.
The next regularly scheduled public meeting of the Blowing Rock Town Council is set for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, at Blowing Rock Town Hall.