New Hanover commissioners mull 2-cent tax increase for upcoming budget is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Port City Daily file photo.
New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Port City Daily file photo.

After initially presenting a budget that included a 5-cent property tax increase, New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet presented commissioners with a budget that included a 2-cent tax hike during a work session on Thursday.

But lowering the anticipated tax increase meant the county would have to find more than $4 million in cuts that the additional 3 cents would have funded. Those programs slated for cuts, according to Coudriet, include New Hanover County Schools, which would receive $1.08 million less than originally allocated, Cape Fear Community College, which was tapped for a $550,000 cut, and the Juvenile Justice program, which now faces a $150,000 reduction.

More than $2.1 million in debt service payments were cut from the proposed budget, as well as a $225,000 cut for child care subsidies for 100 children. 

Coudriet said he initially recommended the 5-cent increase because beginning July 1–the start of the fiscal year–the county must pay debt obligations for voter-approved schools and parks bond referendums from 2006 and 2008. A 5-cent increase would equal $15 million in debt repayment, Coudriet said.

Read related story: New Hanover County manager recommends 5-cent tax increase

The 2-cent increase will now place property tax at 57.4 cents per $100 of property valuation.

“If you own a home that’s worth $200,000, then the new increase will cost the tax payers about $39 extra per year,” Commissioner Rob Zapple said.

Even with the new 2-cent property tax increase, the recommended general fund budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year is $302,415,630, a decrease of $118,344 from the current fiscal year.

County commissioners are still working to prepare the final proposed budget. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 4 p.m. June 8. For more information on the New Hanover County budget, click here to visit the county commissioners’  budget page.