MOORESVILLE – N.C. House Rep. John Fraley introduced House Bill 947 on May 16 that would give Mooresville the option to levy a local sales tax increase. The quarter-cent sale tax increase would primarily be used to fund street improvement projects.
Town Manager David Treme mentioned the bill at the Mooresville Board of Commissioners meeting on May 21. Treme said some of the biggest issues in Mooresville deal with transportation and road infrastructure.
“Without a doubt we have issues of transportation and road improvement,” he said. “We’ve been blessed with 140 miles of streets, and every year we try to (re-do) a portion (of the streets). In 20 years, we’ve covered improvements for every street. That’s about seven miles a year, and this year we are trying to do eight miles.”
Funding for street improvements has come from bond money, Treme said, but it’s not enough.
“We’ve been using bond money, but it’s just not a reliable source,” he said. “This year, (the bond funds) will be gone. So we hope it’ll be a yes vote (for the bill).”
HB 947 defines street improvements as grading, surfacing, widening, paving a street, acquiring right-of-way for a street and constructing a sidewalk, curb or gutter.
“We have quite a few visitors,” Treme said about out-of-towners who stop in Mooresville. “We have a nice commercial center and a shopping area, and it’s good that we have others visit our community that use our roads, and ultimately, they will help us pay for it.”
The tax increase would be a reliable source, Treme continued.
“The bill was introduced last week in the (N.C.) General Assembly, and we have support from Representative Fraley,” he said. “We won’t be able to go forward without the voters of our community. This seems to be the best way, or the least painless way, to do it.”
The bill passed its first reading in the House. It was forwarded to the House Committee on State and Local Government for review and destined for further analysis in the House Finance Committee. The first hearing of the bill will be held sometime next week, according to Fraley. The Iredell County Board of Commissioners are going to meet on May 29 to discuss the quarter sales tax.
If the bill is approved by the General Assembly, the town board can then ask the County Board of Elections to place the sales tax referendum on the November ballot, Town Attorney Steve Gambill wrote in an email.
“If the voters approve the sales tax, town commissioners would then have to adopt a resolution levying the sales tax,” he said.
The sale increase tax, if approved, would begin next year.
In other news
Mayor Miles Atkins and Mooresville Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing the fourth anniversary of Little Helpers of Mooresville, a family volunteer group. Originally formed in Memphis, Tenn., Little Helpers has chapters across the United States with Mooresville being the largest.