Sales Tax Distribution Committee to meet November 6

The Brunswick County Sales Tax Distribution Committee is holding a meeting on Wednesday, November 6 at 2:00 p.m. in the Commissioners Chambers at the David Sandifer Building in Bolivia.  There will be a public comment period.

For those who cannot attend but would like to submit comments via email:  please send them to Leland Town Councilman Jon Tait, who is the District 5 representative on the committee, at



Under state law, counties in North Carolina can choose one of two formulas to determine how sales tax revenues are allocated to towns and cities within the county:  per capita (based on population) or ad valorem (based on property tax levy). Brunswick County has used the per capita method since 1989.

Earlier this year, a former mayor of one of our municipalities asked the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners to review the formula.  While our board was not inclined to change the formula, because we believe in being open and responsive we felt it important to listen to the former mayor’s concerns.  We determined that a committee comprised of current and former municipal officials from throughout the county was the best way to review the formula and make sure that we are doing what is in the best interests of Brunswick County.  The committee has an equal balance of voting members from beach towns and non-beach towns.

According to research by County Manager Ann Hardy, there are 47 North Carolina counties using the ad valorem distribution method and 53 using the per capita method.  There is no right or wrong way to do this; there is only what is best for Brunswick County.  The review committee was formed to ensure that we are using the method that benefits the greatest number of citizens in our county.

Additionally, according to research by Ms. Hardy:  The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners voted on 7/19/1971 to levy a local option sales tax and to distribute the proceeds via the ad valorem method. The minutes of that meeting show no discussion as to why the method was selected.  The ad valorem method of distribution apparently continued until 3/20/1989, when the Board of Commissioners voted to change to the per capita method.  The minutes of the 1989 meeting also record no discussion as to why the method was being changed.  A second vote on the change was taken on 4/17/1989 with the same result as the 3/20/1989 vote. The change would have been effective with the fiscal year that began on July 1, 1989. The minutes do not indicate why the second 1989 vote was taken.

As stated, we felt the best way to review the issue was to form the committee.  I appointed Leland Town Council member Jon Tait as our representative from District 5.  The committee process ensures that the towns have the opportunity to be engaged in this process and that everyone has the opportunity to gain a clear understanding of all options and how they might impact our county, cities and towns.  The committee process also ensures transparency and opens the door for citizen involvement and input.

As I and the other members of our board have said on many occasions, the committee will have to make a compelling case for us to vote for any change.